I may have acid reflux disease, aka GORD or GERD

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by 63dot, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    For the first time in my life, I wake up with a sour stomach in the middle of the night and have to take antacids. This trend started just a year ago but it can happen once every couple of months.

    I have looked at my habits, and in my adult life, and first and foremost I have gained weight, but maintained at 175 pounds for the last ten years, after age 35. My ideal weight is about 160.

    I don't tolerate too many criciferous vegetables and I drink 2 diet sodas and 2 beers most days. Other days, I may have one soda and one beer.

    I have taken up coffee for the first time regularly two years ago in my mid 40s.

    My guess is being 15 pounds overweight, with beer, soda, and coffee is the issue. But I can't imagine veggies being all that bad.

    Thoughts? Remedies?
  2. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Get on top of this, now. Talk to your GP. S/he may suggest a gastroscopy.

    I had it for years, untreated, and now I have Barrett's oesophagus.

    After I found out, I got a pair of cheap axle stands, and the head of my bed is now elevated by about 8". Better than using wood, only $20 the pair, and fully adjustable up to 17". (Not recommended, you'll slide out of bed, onto the floor.) :eek:

    I am also taking Omeprazole now, to cut-down on my stomach acid, 15-30 minutes before lunch and dinner.

    Thank you for patronising MR Clinic™. :)
  3. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Thanks for the info. When I started getting the classic early symptoms of acid reflux, I realized that while common, it can get very bad. Bleeding esophagus, dental damage, and yes, cancer.

    Like many chronic conditions, diseases, or illnesses, the best treatment is the hardest for most, and that's a lifestyle change. Where as cancer and microbe based diseases will be defeated one day, my physician (a heart/lung specialist) said heart disease will always be the worst because it can't get cured with treatment or a pill. The patient has to make the lifestyle change.

    Doctors have made inroads with leukemia and other cancers, and many viral and bacterial scourges, but nobody in the medical field can seem to get the general public to stop eating themselves to death by clogging their arteries and causing stroke and heart disease, and sometimes diabetes. I didn't know bad eating habits (soda, beer, fatty foods, coffee) can lead to acid reflux and possibly death if untreated, but now I know.

    The funny thing is yesterday I saw a tv show where a famous person was a soda person and weaned off of it. It was bad for them. So that meant Lifestyle change. That will be the hardest. Coffee and beer not so much as they have healthy alternatives (white tea and red wine which are both fine by me). The best alternative to soda is water and that's hard for me to contemplate but I will have to. I have drank soda for more than four decades, religiously, and I often think about it more than food. I didn't know its connection to acid reflux thinking, like many, that it was only the eating spicy foods that was the main cause.
  4. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    antacids ususally make things like acid reflux worse because you are neutralizing your stomach acid, and your stomach has to make more. It just further escalates the problem. I would just experiment with your diet. I would flush your system and introduce one thing at a time and figure out what is giving you the reflux. Some people do just have to much stomach acid built up, but watching what I eat works for me.

    What helps me is eating really hot foods, Thai, Mexican, etc.
  5. Surely Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yes, the beers, sodas, and coffee are definitely not helping. Avoid spicy foods, carbonated beverages, alcohol and tomato sauce.

    Look into a med that is a proton pump inhibitor. For example, I pulled this off of the Nexium website:

    Also, there is a red tea called Rooibos Tea that can help to sooth the stomach.

    Don't let it get worse.

    Hope that was helpful......
  6. Eanair macrumors 6502


    Feb 27, 2009
    Agreed with iJohnHenry - get to a doctor for a consult.

    If untreated, acid reflux can lead to, as pointed out, Barrett's Esophagus (BE), which is a pre-cancerous change in the cells that line your esophagus to make them more resistant to acid damage. There are many stages of BE: metaplasia, low grade dysplasia, high grade dysplasia, carcinoma in situ, and finally, cancer. While most people with BE will never progress to cancer, cancer of the esophagus, if it does develop, can be highly dangerous and difficult to treat. The best prevention is to take steps to reduce acid reflux damage, take medicines if needed to reduce the acid content, and if BE is found, get annual checkups or have ablation therapy (Barrx). I had bad acid reflux and developed BE, and now, 4 years out, I'm BE-free due to a combination of lifestyle changes and medicines.

    Of course, some people with bad acid reflux never even develop BE, and you could have it for years and be totally fine, but as I've learned, much better to be safe than sorry.

    For bad acid reflux, I recommend:

    - tilting your bed up so you sleep at an angle. When you lie down, the acid from your stomach spills into your esophagus, so sleeping at an angle will help keep the acid down in your stomach via gravity

    - eat smaller more frequent meals than 3 large meals a day. The smaller meals will be digested faster and easier and help with the backflow of acid into the esophagus

    - you could ask for proton pump inhibitor medicine (like Protonix) so that your stomach won't even produce acid (well, it'll produce a little). There are many brands out there, and some work better than others for different people, so it's okay if you have to try a few out before settling on one that works

    - don't eat right before bedtime. If you do, then you can see how the stomach will be full of food and sloshing with acid when you're reclined, so it's much easier for the excess acid to spill back into your esophagus

    - if the medicines don't work, request more work. I had GERD for several years, and still felt terrible until a requested a gastric emptying scan that showed that I had gastroparesis (my stomach is sluggish and don't contract like it should, so food takes a reallllllllly long time to empty into my intestines). So, while I did have reflux, the reflux was a symptom of an underlying condition and wasn't the condition itself, so no amount of pills only for GERD were going to help me

    - there is some debate on diet. For a while, it was said that there was a GERD diet (no caffeine, no chocolate, no mint, no fatty foods, no citrus foods, no carbonated beverages, etc); however, some recent studies have suggested that it's not the food that's the problem, but the lifestyle that went along with the food (eating late at night, not sleeping on a tilt, etc). If; however, you do find foods that are specific triggers, you can always avoid them and see how you feel.

    Good luck!!!! :)

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