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15 Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux and Ulcers
Do you, or someone you know, suffer from acid reflux? This is an extremely common problem. Perhaps as many as 50 percent of Americans suffer from this problem, which is also called peptic ulcer disease, or GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease).
The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn. A type of burning sensation in the center of the chest, which travels up the throat. Sometimes this pain is so strong; it is occasionally mistaken for a heart attack.
Many doctors believe that acid reflux is caused by excessive amounts of acid in your stomach, so acid blocking drugs are usually prescribed. This is a serious misconception of the problem and it adversely affects millions of people as this problem actually comes from having too little acid in the stomach.
What actually causes heartburn?
When we eat, food goes down your esophagus and into your stomach. At the end of your esophagus there is a valve, with a very strong muscular type of action, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This valve, when working properly, closes and keeps food, as well as acid, from coming back up into the esophagus.
So, acid reflux is actually caused when the LES relaxes and allows the acid from your stomach to flow back into the esophagus. It’s easy to see that it’s not the acid. So what could be causing this? For most people, it’s other issues that cause acid reflux. One is the hiatal hernia and a type of common stomach bacteria called helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori.
Although these two conditions are completely unrelated, many people with hiatal hernias have this bacterial infection. In fact it’s been estimated that as much 50 percent of the world’s population is infected with H. pylori. If you have a hiatal hernia, you might try visiting a chiropractor or physical therapy. Read more why your digestive system is out of whack.
You might also want to consider that many prescription drugs and over the counter medications can cause heartburn. Some drugs that cause heartburn include antidepressants, blood pressure medications, nitroglycerin, and anti-anxiety medications. If your heartburn is being caused by medication, then you should consider how to address the problem that is causing you to take this drug. It’s a mistake to take another drug to counteract the side effects of other drugs.
Heartburn medications can do you more harm than good
One of the drugs that are often prescribed for heartburn and acid reflux are called proton pump inhibitors, or PPI’s. These are truly great drugs for blocking the acid production in the stomach.
There have been numerous studies showing that PPI’s don’t actually fix the problem, they only mask the symptoms of the real problem. Perhaps as many as 70 percent of the people these drugs shouldn’t even be on them. Taking acid reducing drugs reduces your prime defense mechanism for food borne infections. This means it increases your chance of getting food poisoning. PPI drugs themselves also have some serious side effects including bone loss, pneumonia, and very harmful intestinal bacteria known as clostridium difficile.
It’s also important to note that, as you continue to take PPI drugs, your body develops both a tolerance as well as a dependence on them. Never stop taking your PPI drugs cold turkey. Wean yourself off them slowly. Start by getting a lower dosage than what you are taking now, then, once you get down to the lowest dose, start taking over the counter drugs such as Tagamet or Ranitidine. Then you can start implementing a modification program that will remove this problem once and for all.
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