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GERD (Acid Reflux) Community
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Avatar universal

Heartburn, ulcer or my imagination?

I am a 25 year old male and have been suffering from this burning sensation in my stomach. Sometimes i feel it in the lower part of my stomach and other times around my sternum and rib area.I also suffer from ocasional heartburn and feeling of food sticking in my throat, all symptoms of classic GERD.. I asked a older freind of mine who is a nurse and she doesnt think its an ulcer. She said ulcers are caused by bacteria not heartburn and can only be treated by antibiotics?  and a ulcer would  cause bad stomach pain not just burning? I have to disagree because i have done tons of research and all my symptoms are general symptoms of a ulcer. i do take zantac, pepto bismol and have been eating bananas which i have read all help ease the symptoms and they really do but for a short period of time.I do wonder though because i have gained weight due to not working and finding myslef siting alot at either the computer or couch, could my symptoms just be from my stomach muscles stretching due to acess weight or poor posture?? I am from Canada were i think its a little different than the USA when it comes to going to see a specialist??( i know here you have to get a referal)...I say that because  I dont have a family doctor but i dont want to go to the ER wait 6 hours and get every test done in the book...I could go to a walk in clinic but i find that they do a fast job and will just send me home with some form of pills? Anyways any advice would really be helpful. Thanks!!
10 Responses
Avatar universal
     I'm no expert on ulcers, but I know a lot about heartburn and GERD, and I'm almost positive you have at least those. I'm not a big advocate of medications, especially long term, but the Zantac doen't seem to be working. You do need to see a doctor, but at the very least, pay attention to your diet. Excess weight around your mid section can put pressure on your stomach and force the contents back up your throat. Sitting for hours isn't great for digestion either. To keep acid from burning your throat and giving you heartburn, eat PH balanced meals. There are charts online of "Alkalinizing foods" that will help you eat more healthfully and neutralize the acid naturally. Activated charcoal capsules from health food stores also work well at sopping up acid and gas, but make sure you don't have an ulcer first, and don't take with medicines.
Avatar universal
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions. Another thing that i forgot to mention was that i smoke about 3-4 cigarettes a day, nothing over the top but i know that 1 cigarette isnt even good for you. My symptoms probably have to do alot with that. Also i dont eat healthy at all, usually alot of cheap boxed food or fast food, either because of low cost or just to lazy to cook..And yes i usually sit for hours at the computer or couch which really its no wonder i feel the way i do. My problem is to get myself off the couch and get active is what is really hard for me. I am really not that heavy of a person but have gained about 40lbs in 5 years and seem to be gaining more everyday.. You mentioned i should see a doctor, yes your right but hence the fact that i am spilling my health issues to complete strangers over the internet, you must assume that i absolutly hate going to doctors, for some reason its very scary for me, i would rather try natural or home remedies first before seeing a doctor.. One other question is my burning sensation lasts moslty all day worse by certain foods or when i smoke, but it always feels like its there no matter what, is this normal with GERD?? Thanks again so much
Avatar universal
Forgot to mention that i dont wake up with burning in chest at night and i do feel a bit better laying down.Maybe this is all from bad posture and acess weight on my stomach from long periods of siting??? Like right now ive been on this computer for about 2hours and my chest is burning bad!!
Avatar universal
Hi again!
     I'm with you on the doctor issue. The ones that are trained to treat symptoms by masking them with meds are the ones that frustrate me. Of course, pharmaceuticals have some positive uses, but only in very specific instances and used sparingly, I think. The reason I wanted you to see a doctor was to confirm what you actually have. You can always go to a naturopathic doctor for treatment afterwards. They won't load you down with medicines that won't help you, and since Canada is gracious enough to cover your medical bills, (lucky you!) you should take advantage of it.
     The burning sensation won't go away because the acid washing up your digestive tract has probably inflamed the tissues lining it.That is the calling card of GERD- Repeated instances of heartburn and reflux and damage from both.
    I think smoking may worsen it since it has been known to relax the flap at the top of your esophagus that keeps acid from washing up.
   Other than that, I think your diet in general is the culprit. You are eating too many acid producing foods and not enough alkaline (Like fresh vegetables and fruits). Remember chemistry lab in science class when you mixed the chemicals in the two test tubes and one would bubble over? Well, that's what happens in your stomach if you don't neutralize the acid. It's not as hard as it seems to eat better- Just remember some of the things on the alkaline food list and include a couple in each meal. It's all about balance.
Avatar universal
Just read your last entry. We could speculate til the cows come home . I'm not sure why you feel better lying down- Possibly from what you said. But like I said, your chest will burn even when you don't have heartburn if the lining is irritated. You would think that it would constantly hurt if that were the case, but I guess it's not severe enough yet. I just thought of another suggestion. Since it's difficult for you to eat healthy all the time, go to the health food store and buy aloe vera juice or wheatgrass powder to make your own drink. Have a small glass after each meal. Great acid neutralizer and very healthy. (Doesn't taste great- Just drink quickly!)
Avatar universal
   Okay, now I'm bombarding you, but I promise, I'll go away! One more suggestion, also from the health food store. Buy a broad spectrum digestive enzyme capsule and take one with each and every meal, everyday. It will keep the food moving quickly thru your system so acid doesn't have a chance to wash up. That's all, I promise! And don't keep guessing about your condition. It's all about poor digestion/ food choices in a nutshell.
Avatar universal
Please dont think that your are bombarding me, thats exactly why i came to this website to seek answers and suggestions. You sure seem to know alot about this subject so i would glady take your suggestions seriously.. Yes we are very lucky in canada to have the health care taken care for us, but it still doesnt take away the fact that i am not a person who likes going to the doctors!... I will try your suggestions and see how they work, its alot more then what i would have came up with.. But please feel free to always drop me a line about this topic or anything..
Avatar universal
Good to know there are fellow canadians on this website!!
Avatar universal
Hi again!  So glad to be of help to you. My husband went through severe GERD for years and years before being diagnosed, and I went along for the bumpy ride. That's why I know so much about it. I played detective, and it was by trial and error that I figured out the magic recipe for him. He was my very willing guinea pig, and I experimented with anything natural I could get my hands on. So, I'm trying to save people from some of the suffering he went through. This disease is like an iceberg- It's way bigger underneath than anyone would suspect, and just as daunting. The more you learn about it, the more you need to learn. But everything starts to make sense after a while.
           I recently read that almost half of all people over age 40 have a hiatal hernia, which is a major cause of acid reflux. What happens is a part of the stomach will slide out of place, so now undigested food and acid can flow upwards. There are many reasons for acid reflux, which is why each person responds differently to various treatments. You could have food allergies, weak stomach muscles, a stomach infection....
But with my husband, after he took a prescription for Prilosec for 2 weeks to help heal his very burned esophagus, I started him on the digestive enzymes. He takes the charcoal as needed when he eats something he shouldn't have and feels heartburn coming on. The aloe juice or wheatgrass he takes before bedtime, because for some reason, he gets really burpy then. Other than that, he now has very little symptoms. He wakes up to take charcoal once in a while, but the difference is like night and day. By the way, the reason your bananas help is because they are an alkaline food. Apples are great too, and you can take them with you wherever you go.
        By the way, my sister-in-law is Canadian. She and my brother live on Vancouver Island. Can I be a part of "Club Canada" too? ;)
Avatar universal
Yes you can be part of the club to lol!! .. I seem to be better today,actually wife and i have been going for walks the past few days (weve had such nice days lately),which i think is realy helping.. i also pull my daughter in her wagon to build up my muscles and help loose weight. I am also trying eat a bit better. So all in all its starting to show at baby steps!
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