Thursday, September 12, 2013

Living With Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux also known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is something I have dealt with for the last 6-7 years. Mine did start out as a burning sensation in my throat. Over the counter medications never conquered the symptoms. Over time I most of my acid reflux symptoms revolve around burning on my tongue and roof of mouth as well as recently dysphagia which is the feeling that something is caught in your throat like a pill or a piece of food. In the beginning most of my symptoms were controlled by prescription medications. For many years I took a daily dose of Nexium and it seemed to control it with flare ups still happening sometimes. As many of you are probably aware Nexium and other drugs of this nature are only supposed to be used for 8 week increments, but over time doctors have put patients on regimens to take it year in and year out as long as it is controlling your symptoms. A few years ago Nexium stopped working for me and I was switched to Dexilant. This medication also works but not all the time. Side effects of these type of medications can be harmful to your body over time. Because the medications are hindering your production of stomach acid that in turn is also hindering your absorption of vital nutrients. I have tried over the years to limit my consumption of these drugs. Of course you can't just stop these medications cold turkey or you will put yourself in a situation of rebound acid reflux which can sometimes be worse than the symptoms you are already dealing with. This means slowly weaning yourself off the drugs and hoping for the best.

In the meantime I have a deficiency with my vitamin D, vitamin B, and was anemic. Most of this I believe came from the acid blocker medications I have been on for years. At this point I take a supplement for D and B daily. I also take Digestactive after each meal to help my body better absorb the nutrients I eat in my foods.

 I have also done much research over the years about how to treat my acid reflux naturally. I have tried aloe vera juice, papaya tablets, and many others. I have tried not drinking soft drinks, limiting my chocolate intake and spicy foods. I also switched from my favorite treat in the morning, a full glass of milk, to almond milk. Through my research I found that taking certain supplements would also help in the long run like fish oil, betaine, and probiotics ( I take all of these). Believe it or not there is lots of research out there that says maybe people who suffer from acid reflux actually don't have enough stomach acid so the stomach goes into overdrive to produce more which then creates the problem. That is why it is recommended to add acid supplements to the diet.

Recently I read a book that opened my eyes to another possibility. This book said that most articles and books on the subject lead sufferers to believe that fatty foods, chocolate, spicy foods, caffeine, soft drinks, etc. are the main culprits of acid reflux. Now there is more and more research coming out about grains be a major contender in the realm of acid reflux. This is why I started on a gluten-free diet three months agos. It took a full two months of gluten-free eating to see the results I needed. After feeling good for about a month I decided I would try allowing myself something with gluten one day a week with a splurge and she how I did. I was really missing Captain Ds and doughnuts. As long as it was just once a week I was fine, then the wedding I was helping with two weeks ago totally upset the apple cart. I ate gluten four days in a row because of poor planning and boom I sent myself into a tailspin of trouble. So now it is back on the bandwagon of NO GLUTEN. I am still on the Dexilant which perturbs me but I hope to one day lick this absurdity in my life along with all the medication side effects.

I am obviously not a doctor and I do not recommend doing these things  just because I did. Always check with a medical professional.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I have a family member who suffered acid reflux for years (although not to the degree you did) and she found that once she went gluten free her symptoms disappeared. I am glad you are finding relief!