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Feeling Down about GERD
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Feeling Down about GERD

How often do you suffer with GERD symptoms? I seem to be able to manage it okay for a week or two until I slide into a episode that has me wondering if I will ever get over this. I stopped taking PPI's because I have researched that they are more harmful than not, I am taking a tbsp of apple cider vinegar with water daily, I have begun taking 2 Digestive enzyme pills daily and I have also just started drinking (real) ginger in warm water in the last few days. All of these things have helped, and I mostly watch what I eat (smaller meals) plus I do the propped up sleeping thing. I am feeling just so helpless lately. Is this a chronic condition once you get it? I was fine until a little over a year ago. Prior to that, I used to suffer an occasional bout if I ate something like spaghetti sauce. But it would go away in a couple of days. Now I am dealing with it constantly, and it can get so discouraging to feel well for a while and then have another attack. To top it off, I have panic disorder so I freak out thinking it's something more serious. Sigh. Any comments would be welcome. Sorry to make this first post so long.
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Don't be sad, there is hope! I am the wife of a former GERD sufferer who has  had his symptoms under control for years now. If you have a hiatal hernia (Many people have this condition and are unaware of it) you will probably always have to deal with some form of reflux, but you CAN control it IF you are vigilant. First off, the best thing you ever did was to stop the PPI's. My husband is med free. Here is what he does that keeps him "normal": He takes one Source Naturals broad spectrum enzyme with each and every meal. Before bed, he drinks a little aloe juice or wheatgrass juice. Before I started to give him this, he was extremely burpy and gassy. Now it's way better, plus if he does reflux while sleeping, the acid is neutralized and less damaging. If he wakes up with "a bad belly" or reflux, he takes 2 activated charcoal capsules( from the health food store). These soak up excess acid and prevent it from washing up. He eats yogurt every day for the good bacteria (plain is best). He swears by this regimen, tells me all the time how grateful he is to have his life back after years of suffering needlessly. He even eats all the "taboo" foods in moderation. Don't fret, you will find the right combination of supplements and what works for you, but you need to keep trying. It took me over 10 years to figure it out! But try my above suggestions, at least for a month, and see how things go. Good luck.
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I do have a hiatus hernia! I was diagnosed with it years ago, and elevated my bed as per the instructions I received, and really lived for many years without incidence. For some reason, the reflux thing kicked into gear about a year ago and hasn't let up. I even wonder if some prior usage of a PPI made it worse. Right now I find the most annoying thing is a sore throat. The aloe juice might help that, I am going to find some and try it.

Thank you so much for giving me some hope that this horrible condition can be managed. I was feeling low about it and I wanted to join a board where I could connect with people who are going through the same thing. I've noticed in my research that there are an awful lot of people dealing with it, it's shocking really. I am hoping that with the right combinations of supplements and common sense (keeping weight down and exercising) I will be able to stop suffering with this!

Thank you again for your inspiring words! I appreciate them very much.
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Hi again, so glad to have helped you. It's what keeps me coming back to this forum. I've read that 1 out of every 5 people over age 40 have a hiatal hernia, and I suspect it's why GERD is so prevalent. See, once reflux (caused by the hernia) damages the little flap in the esophagus that keeps acid down, the acid is free to come up and continue to burn your throat. Then the vicious cycle begins. All the nerves in your chest are interconnected and they even wrap around to your back, so once your GI tract is irritated, it sends out pain signals to remote body parts that don't even feel related to the original problem. Hence the back and neck pain, "heart attack" symptoms, and all the other wierd stuff. You must keep your throat from getting burned or you will damage it permanently. While you may reflux off and on for the rest of your life, do what you can to control the acid by neutralizing it  and eliminating it,before bed especially, and sipping aloe juice to soothe your throat. If my husband could pick the one thing he can't do without, it would be the charcoal. Keep these on hand and you will never fear reflux again.
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My next step is to get one of those medical slant pillows, since being propped up on two pillows just bends me at the waist and sometimes exasperates the issue. I forgot to mention I use Gaviscon before bedtime, even though I stop eating 3 hours prior. I wonder if using that constantly is doing me harm. I don't see too many people mentioning using it.

The thing that's been annoying me most is the sore throat as I said, and this is only since I cut off taking the PPI I was, so that's what I want to remedy asap.

I will investigate the charcoal, I have never heard of that. Thanks again for your support!
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My husband has one of those wedge pillows from his reflux days. Luckily he hasn't needed to use it in years. I don't know much about Gaviscon, but my goal with my husband was to control his symptoms without any manmade pills or meds, because it  always seems like taking one med leads to taking another med and so on... Then before you know it, you're one of those people with a whole medicine cabinet full of prescriptions you can't live without. The sore throat will stop once the acid stops burning it and it's had time to heal. That is why many people take Prilosec just until it heals, like my husband did, then discontinue use and start a natural regimen. But I'm always wary of meds and the rebound effect that is always a possibility, as you have discovered. Still, it is of the highest importance that you heal your esophagus, so whatever it takes, do it. My husband never had much success with otc antacids, and I have read that long term use of some types messes up your body's natural PH levels, so that's something to consider. Activated charcoal is as old as the hills and a true miracle substance. It's what they use in the ER on people that have overdosed on drugs to clean out their system. Monkeys in the wild even chew on charred tree branches to relieve stomach upset. Even the monkeys know!  Not only does it soak up acid, but also gas and anything else mucking up your stomach. Just don't take with meds or it will soak that up too.
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