Acid reflux is one of the most common ailments people suffer from these days. While many people want to quench the fire with antacids and PPIs and temporarily not feel the burn, what they don’t know can hurt their gut, and help in the long term with these meds is what we’re going to talk about here.
When most people see their GP with symptoms of heartburn they typically leave the office with a prescription for a medication that will help the patient deal with the pain, but little is done to determine why people have heartburn in the first place.
Some people do have increased stomach acid, but this is rare. It’s more common to have decreased stomach acid. If the problem persists, the doctor may send them to a specialist like a gastroenterologist to perform a test called an endoscopy. It can show a more serious problem called GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
What they don’t realise is that often they have acid reflux for a variety of other reasons that have nothing to do with the levels of their stomach acid or the GERD that develops later.
So while the antacid or PPI may seem like it’s helping, it’s hurting in the long term for a variety of reasons. For one, they’re changing the pH of their stomach. This isn’t smart because when the pH changes, harmful bacteria that would otherwise be killed off by ample acid start to overgrow. This can cause undigested food to sit in the stomach and cause fermentation.
Many people then get SIBO or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. This is why bacteria end up multiplying in the small intestines where they’re not supposed to be. Unfortunately, many doctors don’t recommend simple things like eliminating certain inflammatory foods, how to reduce stress, the timing of meals, or losing weight that can all help eliminate nighttime reflux.
The truth is medications prescribed for acid reflux don’t cure it. If they did, then no one would continue to suffer from acid reflux. And sadly, so many people opt for surgery because they can’t deal with the pain.
However, this doesn’t help in the long run because they still aren’t correcting the root causes that created the reflux in the first place. That is why it’s so important to work with a practitioner in the know who can work as a health sleuth, to find the one or many causes of acid reflux.
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