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Alternative remedies for GERD?

Q: Is there any home remedy for GERD? I am on Zegerid, watch what I eat, have the head of my bed elevated, and still can't get rid of the midsternal indigestion. I have had a thorough medical workup.

A: Gastroesophageal reflux disease is acid reflux that occurs regularly. The ring of muscles that separates the stomach from the esophagus is either weak or fails to close properly. Symptoms present when the backwash of stomach acid enters the esophagus and, as you are likely aware, can include difficulty swallowing, chest pain, a burning sensation, pain, dry cough, bad breath and more.

Treatment is one of progression. Over-the-counter medications such as Prilosec, Tagamet or Pepcid AC might be considered; when ineffective, they may be followed by prescription medication. Then might come X-ray testing, such as a barium swallow or upper endoscopy, which should reveal whether your symptoms are from GERD or caused by something else. If your GERD is severe and caused by a hiatal hernia, surgical repair may be recommended. (See Q&A about Acid Reflux Surgeries) Hiatal hernias can develop from sudden physical exertion, straining during evacuation, vomiting or coughing.

Other than the modifications you have already tried, I might suggest weight loss and discontinuing smoking if you are overweight or smoke, eating several smaller meals throughout the day, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and allowing adequate time for proper digestion by not lying down for about three hours after eating.

Home remedies for heartburn abound and include eating an apple or part of one, drinking diluted apple-cider vinegar, eating lemons or almonds, or sipping small amounts of chilled fat-free milk or water every one to two hours. No one thing works for everyone, but a trial might be appropriate if you are willing to go out on a limb. I'm even told different apples help for different people.

Zegerid is a combination of omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate for your stomach acid. You might consider returning to your physician to request an alternative medication that could provide better results, or request a referral to a gastroenterologist for a second opinion and other possible options.

Source: Pasadena Star-News, 04/06/2010


By Mortin - Copyright 2010
Last modification 07/04/2010