Hello and welcome. If you are reading this, I assume you will be looking for a solution to discomfort from chronic heartburn, acid reflux, or if you’re unlucky enough, from GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease in the US, or GORD (Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease in the UK)). If you haven’t done so already, the first thing to do is to book an appointment with your doctor, to make sure it’s not something else – such as a heart problem.
Night Time Heartburn
There a number of advantages in sleeping on your left side, one of which is reducing the likelihood of night time heartburn. This is due to the way the stomach is positioned in relation to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which controls food passing from the esophagus into the stomach. When working properly, the LES keeps the contents of the stomach, including acidic digestive juices, from back-flowing into the sensitive esophagus. This causes the burn of heartburn.
You know how it is – you’ve just flown in after a 12 hour flight and your bodyclock is still programmed to the timezone you left 12 hours ago. It seems that a lot of people now reach for a pill which helps to re-balance your normal rhythms – Melatonin. However, it is now also a useful weapon in the fight against acid reflux.
Weight & Heartburn
Obesity is at epidemic levels in western countries – in the US one third of the population has been diagnosed with the condition. Among this group, the incidence of chronic heartburn / gerd is between 60 to 70 %, compared to 10 to 20 % in the general population. We are constantly being told to lose weight if we have regular heartburn.
Louise Cocker has experienced the devastating consequences of gerd / gord with the loss of her father, Pop, to the disease. It’s an acute reminder of how simple heartburn can have a serious outcome. Here is her story.
Here’s a short video explaining the difference between heartburn and a possible heart attack…
Have you experienced any of these symptoms? Please share them below…
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A New Explanation for GERD / GORD
There has been a sixfold increase in gastroesophageal reflux — also called GERD, GORD or acid reflux disease, since the 1970s. Possible causes of acid reflux include the dramatic increase in consumption of carbonated drinks and the widespread use of anti-inflammatory and acid-lowering medications.
Preventing Heartburn in Babies
In the UK The National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) has published its first clinical guideline on the management of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (Gord in the UK, GERD in the US) in infants and children here. It points out that most episodes of reflux are temporary, and not chronic disease. WebMD provides more general information on preventing heartburn in babies here, and for an interesting article on treating acid reflux in infants naturally, read Chris Kresser’s post here.
Here are some of the more interesting articles about heartburn and how to get rid of acid reflux which have appeared recently.
Heartburn & Your Teeth A Charlotte, USA, dentist recently wrote about the consequences of gerd on teeth, here. He emphasised the need to consult with your doctor on the appropriate medication, which will help to prevent the damaging aspects of acid on the teeth, and to get your teeth regularly checked.
It was widely reported recently that the president had been admitted to hospital for tests for a persistent sore throat. After undergoing a variety of tests, including a CT scan, the president was diagnosed with acid reflux.
There is a lot written about the effects of food on the digestion, and acid reflux in particular. Here’s an infographic setting out what’s good and bad in the combining diet; have you tried this to alleviate your own reflux? Tell us about it below.
This is a great infographic on home remedies for acid reflux / heartburn:
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A cup of coffee – Is it the first thing you think about in the morning? For millions it is, but for those of us who suffer heartburn, acid reflux or even gerd (gord), we often think twice before reaching for the coffee pot.
I’ve written here, about a drug I have been prescribed for acid reflux called amitriptylene (generic name Elavil), which works miracles in relieving my heartburn symptoms, at least temporarily. It comes from a family of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants which have been in use since the 1950’s. In olden days they were also prescribed for bedwetting apparently, so I should be ok in that department too…
Firstly Happy Fathers’ Day to all the dads reading this! Relax and put your feet up – you deserve it! Particularly if your child is one of many who suffer from acid reflux. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or GORD (gastro-esophageal disease, or GERD, in the USA), can also affect young children – the espohagus is shorter in infants which can make them more prone to acid reflux.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot go without breakfast – I have to eat something, and since taking my heartburn / acid reflux seriously, it’s usually porridge with a little bit of fruit. I haven’t, however, ever thought about taking proton pump inhibitors ( PPI’s ) – the standard fare of long term heartburn / acid reflux sufferers – early in the morning ( I have, on Doctor’s orders, been taking them before my evening meal).
Well, I have been on a strict 30 mg Lanzoprozole (proton pump inhibitor) regime for the last 5 weeks (together with 10 mg of amitriptylene daily) and I have to admit my acid reflux has been so much better. Apart from occasional bouts of low grade heartburn, which has generally been sorted by a couple of tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar or gulps of Gaviscon Advance (recommended by my doctor), and sporadic sore throat / phlegm, I have been pretty much free of symptoms. I visited my GP today, and she has reduced the dose to 15 mg of Lanzoprozole per day with a recommendation I continue to deal with any heartburn as I have been doing.
The Medical Independent Website has reported a call by The Irish Society of Gastroenterology for more public awareness of the condition known as Barrett’s Esophagus / Oesophagus, a condition where the cells lining the lower part of the esophagus undergo change as a result of regular exposure to acid reflux from the stomach. Barrett’s is not in itself cancer, but it is considered a pre-cancerous condition.
A recent article published in RefluxMD discusses the latest research into the adverse effects of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s). This adds to mounting evidence that PPIs increase the risk of pneumonia and Clostridium difficile infections. In the article, they describe how acid suppressive drugs are often used in intensive care patients who require mechanical ventilation to decrease the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding from stress-induced ulcers. A sample of these patients who were prescribed either PPI’s or less powerful H2 blockers were monitored for infections. The outcome – The patients given PPIs were more likely to have pneumonia, C. diff, and GI bleeding compared to patients given H2 blockers.
I’ve seen many references to yeast overgrowth, or candidiasis, in the intestine being a cause of acid reflux. Candida is the term for a group of organisms including moulds and fungi which live all around us. One family, Candida Albicans, lives in all mucus membranes, i.e. intestines, eyes, ears, bladder, stomach, lungs, vagina, etc. It is one of the billions of friendly organisms that serve a useful purpose in the body. One of its important functions is to recognise and destroy harmful bacteria, but if it gets out of control it can cause (it is claimed by a wide body of people) a whole range of ailments (see ref 1. below), including acid reflux and heartburn.