acid reflux

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

Dr say today that's probably to blame for some stomach problems I have been having.
Tips? Diet habits? Big no-no's?

Taking Gaviscon frequently at least to start. Nexium daily until at least check up in a month.


Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

reclining after eating
bending over after eating
eating fast
over eating
sleep aids (like ambien)
tea/coffee/caffeinated anything
sleeping flat

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

Is that list from experience?

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Yes and also informational sheets

caffeine relaxes the valve that protects from 'backwash' and so the caffeinated foods are a no brainer. Spicy foods - things that stimulate acid production. Also some issues are more of a lower stomach reflux and others the higher even tho in the same tract. The lower is more the mid chest burning pain, burping etc., type reflux - the upper has a lot of throat (sometimes) symptoms - mucus, cough, throat burning - sometimes ear pain.

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

too much to learn. My diet is already restricted, so this is just making it a little more difficult.. grrr

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

Another dumb question...

If I shouldn't drink coffee, tea, or carbonated beverages for the A/R
and can't drink juices because they're loaded in sugar (messing with the hypoglycemia)
am I seriously restricted to just drinking water?!

ugh.... Somebody give me some good news...

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Juices are generally(acidic) not good for reflux - so two good reasons to avoid.
A nice banana milk shake shakes?? Crystal light??
With the sugar issues -- even diabetics can drink in moderation - just have to count those carbs. No a non acidic fruit juice in moderation should be ok, no?

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

The sugar content in those juices, even an 8oz glass, would shock you... I'm not diabetic.. I have been limited to "two servings fruit" a day. Just 8oz of cranberry juice, unsweetened un-added-to, has 31g of sugar. yeowch!

I'm sitting at my desk, a little thirsty... Tap water out here is n-a-s-t-y! Not made by a water "company", per se,, created at our facility. I am not saying it's dangerous to drink, it passes all requirements, but it just doesn't taste right - might be the pipes it comes in.

I surrendered my second cup of coffee as the first few swallows didn't sit well. I have some herbal tea in my lunch box... and when the Dr said "no carbonation", I made some iced tea. I'll probably drink that anyways at lunch, since my other choices are various kinds of decaf soda I brought with.

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

AngelSong - In an effort to cut down on my sugar intake, I've started making my own flavored water. My favorite method is to plop an herbal tea bag into a bottle of cold water and let it sit in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. It's very refreshing and I've had fun experimenting with different flavors (not all of them are yummy, though ;p)

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

I've found I can drink weak iced tea, and clear carbonated soda without a lot of fuss..

Nexium is finally working.
Depending on what I DO eat for meals, I can keep from tasting it again..

What I can't seem to shake, is that nasty morning taste in my mouth. YUCK
Three straight nights I've taken Gaviscon before bed, empty tummy, and two of those mornings following, I've had that awful taste in my mouth..
(And yes, I brush, floss, mouthwash, great dental checkups, all that jazz...)

So I'm fighting it.. it's better today than it was last week, so that's progress.

Thanks for the follow-Up

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when a muscular weakness allows stomach acid to flow up into the esophagus, causing burning and irritation. You may also notice a sour taste in your mouth or an unpleasant sensation in your throat. And while reflux by itself isn't unusual, untreated GERD can lead to serious complications.

Heartburn, is a painful, burning sensation in the chest and throat, is the most common GERD symptom. Other symptoms often seen with GERD include indigestion, acid reflux and belching, chest pain, and throat irritation. In children with GERD, however, symptoms may be slightly different from those seen in adults for example, kids don't normally experience heartburn.

Powerful stomach acid and digestive juices can cause serious damage to your throat and esophagus and impair your ability to swallow, breathe, and speak.

Some people with GERD don't have heartburn instead, they may notice different symptoms like hoarseness, throat problems, wheezing or shortness of breath, and tooth decay. Experts call GERD without heartburn "silent GERD," and it's often more difficult to diagnose.

Treatment for heartburn and other signs and symptoms of GERD usually begins with over-the-counter medications that control acid. If you don't find relief within a few weeks, your doctor may recommend other treatments, including medications and surgery.

Initial treatments to control heartburn
Over-the-counter treatments that may help control heartburn include:
Antacids that neutralize stomach acid. Antacids, such as Maalox, Mylanta, Gelusil, Rolaids and Tums, may provide quick relief. But antacids alone won't heal an inflamed esophagus damaged by stomach acid. Overuse of some antacids can cause side effects such as diarrhea or constipation.

Medications to reduce acid production. Called H-2-receptor blockers, these medications include cimetidine (Tagamet HB), famotidine (Pepcid AC), nizatidine (Axid AR) or ranitidine (Zantac 75). H-2 receptor blockers don't act as quickly as antacids, but they provide longer relief. Stronger versions of these medications are available in prescription form.

Medications that block acid production and heal the esophagus. Proton pump inhibitors block acid production and allow time for damaged esophageal tissue to heal. Over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors include lansoprazole (Prevacid 24 HR) and omeprazole (Prilosec OTC).

If heartburn persists despite initial approaches, contact your doctor, he may recommend prescription-strength medications and or surgical approach.

Lifestyle changes such as
Maintain a healthy weight, if you are overweight, if possible, try to reduce your body weight and increase your exercise, mobility

Avoid tight-fitting clothing that put pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.

Avoid foods that trigger heartburn, they are very personal. Common triggers such as fatty or fried foods, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion and caffeine may make heartburn worse.

Don't lie down after a meal. Wait at least two to three hours after eating before lying down or going to bed.

Elevating the head of your bed about six to nine inches puts gravity to work for you. Placing wood or cement blocks under the feet of your bed at the head end. If it's not possible to elevate your bed, you can insert a wedge between your mattress and box spring to elevate your body from the waist up. Wedges are available at drugstores and medical supply stores.

Don't smoke, smoking decreases the lower esophageal sphincter's ability to function properly.


Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

It's always good to run your issues by the doc even if you are self treating (and diagnosing). Use of the proton pump inhibitors or acid blockers etc. can come with their own set of issues. If you have a problem with C-Diff (becoming more problematic) or other stomach/bowel problems ---changing the acid balance in the gut can have impact on the stomach/bowels ability to juggle other things.

Lafayette, NJ(Zone 6a)

Jennifer, I'm going to guess that this won't be a quick fix. Why don't you try not taking the Gaviscon and seeing if you wake up feeling better. I know that everything that has been said before is correct. I wanted to say that I find that milk and sometimes yogurt will bring on heartburn. I find that odd. I can also get heartburn from tea sometimes. I think we are all different and you will have to find the balance for yourself.

Have you thought of bringing your own water to work? Have you tried diet ginger ale? I find ginger ale to really help my stomach. I would think with an acid stomach drinking plenty of water would help to dilute it - makes sense doesn't it? I use Tums Smoothies when I have the symptoms. It doesn't leave that chalking feeling in the mouth.

I hope you find the right balance for you.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

The best facial ever is to wash your face with dried milk. It is an acid. As far as yogurt and milk products - for me I give it 4 minutes and Bam! The tea is because the caffeine relaxes the sphincter that is supposed to function as a sort of 'door' that prevents the acid from coming up. If you like tea and miss it - just get a non caffeinated.

The trick (if that is a way to think about it) is to consume small volumes - the larger volume the meal (or liquid) the more likely to increase pressure to reflux. That is why bubbling things like soda can increase reflux.

What is a Tum smoothie ? Is it a drink like a regular smoothie??

This message was edited Oct 17, 2010 5:28 PM

Lafayette, NJ(Zone 6a)

Tums Smoothies is a chewable antacid.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

does it work to provide calcium as the other form does (the chaulky old fashioned kind you chew)

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

Wow... Look at all the information I missed.. I feel I ought to clarify a few things.

First, at 5'4", and 130lb, I don't think I meet the "overweight" category. My size 6 jeans fit great. :) Also, I ride horses in dressage, I compete, and for that, I ride daily. Three horses in the pasture, and each receives at least four rides a week. I don't smoke, I never have, I never will. I was drinking alcohol, maybe 2 a week, and now I've quit that completely, too. I'm sleeping, on average, 6-7hrs nightly, seldom less or more. As a hypoglycemic, 90% of the carbs that reach my mouth are whole-grain, and I pack on the lean meats, fruits & veggies. I eat three small meals a day, and at least three snacks, sometimes more, depending on the amount of exercise I'm in (mowing grass, riding all three horses in one day, barn chores, etc). I don't routinely eat spicy foods, or fried foods. All this being said to show I'm not really in any "bad habits" I need to quit to reduce the GERD.

I did see my doctor, and he did prescribe Nexium, and Gaviscon. I've been taking the Nexium faithfully, and the Gaviscon as Rx'd to start. I've since reduced the quantity of Gaviscon, down to about twice a day - middle of the afternoon, and again before bed. I've also learned how to reduce my morning java-fix without fighting the acid burn.

I had done all the internet surfing and reading, and generally found conflicting information. Some websites said fruit juice was acceptable, while others said vegetable juice was it (yuk!). Some places said lean meat was good, while others almost suggested I go vegan (again, ew!).

What I've learned so far about me - - the Nexium took about a week to be really 100% useful. The sore throat in the daytime is finally easing, and my stomach pain is nearly gone. I slept with two pillows last night, and found my upper body a bit elevated. This seemed to help - not as much nasty acid taste when I woke up.

Thanks for the personal experiences you all have reported - it got me off to a good start. My goal is to go an entire month without "losing supper". =) I'm expected back at the doctor for a follow up in about three more weeks. I'll let everyone interested know how it goes.

Thanks again,

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

You might also look into the use of probiotics. DH and I have been taking them for a few months with surprising (good) results. The reflux that I started having recently has gone away and I no longer have to take a lactose pill if I want to eat ice cream.

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

That's something to think about...
Thanks Amaryllisgal

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

which probiotic
I take florastor - no help no hurt regarding the reflux

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I went through all of the common remedies above, and after a while, I was taking (by prescription) a 24-hour time-release Prevacid twice a day... and still had very little relief.

Around age 50, we stop making about half the normal hydrochloric acid, and then when foods irritate us, we take something to stop the acid... so the system makes more acid to combat the antacid in order to digest the foods. Vicious cycle.

My doc finally cut out ALL foods that came in a package to avoid the additives (which are mostly antinutrients) and ALL sugars, grains, nuts and beans in the beginning. I also drank either a teaspoon or two of Braggs ACV in water, or the juice of a fresh lemon ($$) in water every day for a couple of months. Within 2 weeks of giving up all those foods I was off the Prevacid. I never gave up coffee btw, but I did eat lots more homemade unsweetened goat milk yogurt than before, and finally began to feel better. I also started eating lots of raw milk butter and cheese, but no processed (homogenized) milk or milk products.

I will probably add beans and grains back to my diet, but in small steps to see how I fare. I won't eat any that are not soaked overnight in aciduated water (water with something acidic in it like lemon juice or whey) to eliminate as much phytic acid as possible before cooking (the water gets discarded and replaced with fresh water to cook).

Frankly, I never thought I had a problem with digesting grains or beans (and still not certain I do), but I can for sure tell you I feel a thousand percent better now. Is it the grains? Beans? Phytates? Soy and/or soy flavanoids? Chemicals in anything and everything? Neither my Doc nor I know the cause, except it's gone after several years of suffering.

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

NOwhere near age 50, Um, in fact, not even close... From that, I will assume it's not a matter of reduced acid creation. I have discovered that I experience more discomfort when my stomach is empty, not when it's digesting a (nonfried, nonspicy) meal.

What do beans, nuts, and grains do that is so dangerous to the stomach?

With those things cut from the diet, I assume that means all general "carbs" are gone, non-meat proteins removed, all artificial sugar, or fruit, too? What's left?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

LOL, I eat lots of foods, and not all carbs are gone either, just the very starchy ones like corn and potatoes.

Bacon, eggs and green vegetables for breakfast; big salad, meat, yogurt for lunch... hard-boiled egg and cheese wedge for a snack; steak, salad, 2 veggies for supper... dessert might be an apple or peach and yogurt... and a square of 85% cacao chocolate bar before bedtime.

My Docs think we eat too much of the wrong kind of fats, and not enough of the right kinds. Consequently, our Omega 6 / Omega 3 ratio (essential fatty acid balance) is waaaay out of whack and digestive problems ensue. Typical ratios on the SAD (Standard American Diet) run about 20:1, and some folks run as high as 40:1, where optimum for health is below 4:1.

Essential fatty acids (those are the ones our bodies cannot make from other foods but we must eat instead, and are truly essential) have a tremendous effect on our health. It has taken me six months of almost daily research to understand how they work and why, and there's no way I can begin to explain it here in a post, or a dozen posts.

What's toxic in beans, grains and nuts is phytates. And, please don't assume reduced acid production is limited to aging only... Keep in mind too that what works for one person may not work for another. Something like 98% of all our DNA is identical, but that other 2% makes lots of differences, in many ways.

Gary Taubes has a lot of insight into what we are told about foods. He starts by addressing diet and obesity, but gets into far more than that in the article. It's long, but well worth reading.

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

So if grains are "Bad" for us, why are they out there, growing?
Just to feed the cows?

(not trying to be a smart alec,, It's a valid question, I think)

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Humans lived 2 million+ years before grains were domesticated ~about 6-10,000 years ago. They lived on animals, berries, fruits, tubers...

Despite 10,000 years in agriculture, grains still have the phytates in them to prevent animals from eating them. (it's survival for the seeds, so the plant can re-seed for another year... all our garden seeds have it.)

Fruits and veggies with the seeds inside also have phytates in the seeds, but in smaller amounts. However, we don't eat the bigger seeds of plums, peaches, etc. because they too are toxic.

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

The "2 million plus years" is your personal opinion, and I respectfully disagree.

On that, I will say, "Thank you for your opinion and your thoughts."

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

That's all I was offering... my thoughts. DG is not a place to fight, LOL.

BTW, I assume your doctor has checked for an ulcer? Those are so easily cured now that they know it's a bacterial infection and have drugs to treat them. (The stomach hurting empty is a clue... my uncle's ulcer wasn't diagnosed until he told the Dr. that bit of information.)

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

Yes, blood work was done for a bacterial infection. Test negative. In addition, full bloodwork was done to search for any indicators of cause. All came back clean & normal.

I was told to try the Nexium and Gaviscon, and come back in a month. If I don't feel significantly better after a month, then he will go searching for another cause. I'm satisfied with that, because it's easier on me, and my insurance, to treat for the easy before we test for everything possible.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Sounds like a plan!

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Hey Darius - I will check out that link you have given - never heard of phytates. Maybe by your elimination diet being so successful you ought to also think about other things that may have gone with it - like gluten.

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

And to those who believe phytates have Therapeutic Value??

(about 2/3 down the page)

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

missingrosie... I have considered the absence of gluten even though I don't think I am (or was) gluten intolerant. Like many things entering our systems, gluten and phytates have both good and bad properties... they should be weighed carefully by each one of us as to how they affect individual health. No two people are the same, no matter what medical research says. I have never seen a coin with only one side, or a stick with only one end.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Gluten intolerance can be very sneaky and those who don't have it can develop it. The symptoms can be all over the place or the sensitive person can be asymptomatic. It is one of the most common undiagnosed diseases. Some people go for 15-20 years suffering. When you said that your symptoms subsided and then I looked at the things you avoided - it lent itself to wondering if it was the absence /reduction of gluten exposure that helped you.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I agree... I won't know for sure until I try to add a bit of wheat back into my food protocol; even soaked wheat should affect me if I'm intolerant. Just not ready to go there yet!

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Yeah, can't do the test unless you've been ingesting gluten. But gluten is all over the place (but not buckwheat!!) in foods you least expect it. I think you are not intolerant because if you were you'd still have some symptoms even with a drastic reduction in gluten exposure. Those on the diet have to be very vigilant.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

This may be interesting to read and it may help:

The Benefits of Left-Side Sleeping

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Interesting... Thanks.

I think I have read that study somewhere before, but had forgotten about it.

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

christina, I had to laugh when I read the title: The Benefits Of Left Side Sleeping. I remember the morning my head was on the left side and when I opened my eyes the room started spinning. when I turned my head to straight ahead, the room stopped spinning. When I turned back left, it was back to the races. So I had to sleep not on the left side for a while till my ear cleared up.

I believe that stomach troubles and about anything else can be helped by probiotics, protein enzyme supplementation [apart from mealtime so they can do other cleanup in the body], and wholesome diets that are well chewed.

Hiatial hernia can be helped by drinking a glass of warm water in the morning and then streching out the arms widely and then standing on bare tiptoes and suddenly dropping hard to flatfoot...jarring the extended stomach back in place.

I hope that my dropping into this ladies [only?] discussion will be received ok.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Hiatial hernia can be helped by drinking a glass of warm water in the morning and then streching out the arms widely and then standing on bare tiptoes and suddenly dropping hard to flatfoot...jarring the extended stomach back in place.

I read that somewhere recently.
Sounds reasonable from an anatomical standpoint.

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

Indy - this is not ladies only! Civil (and informative) discourse is always welcome. : )

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