Does this sound familiar?
You’re experiencing some sort of pain or discomfort, so you take a pill — whether a prescription drug, over-the-counter medicine, or even an all-natural pain reliever — when suddenly it feels like you just swallowed a lump of coal that got stuck about halfway down.
This all-too-common symptom of acid reflux and heartburn affects an estimated 35-45% of the population at some time or another. But it doesn’t have to keep you from getting pain relief.
According to Dr. Stephen Wagnen of the IBS Treatment Center in Seattle, WA, curing acid reflux is just like every other kind of healing — you have to remove the cause of the problem and promote the healing process. These are some of the suggestions he makes:
– Rule out food allergies — Most of the heartburn cases in his practice are a direct result of specific food allergies which can often be diagnosed with a simple blood test.
– Avoid troublesome foods and beverages — Some of the worst offenders include peppermint, coffee, chocolate and alcohol; these cause the esophageal sphincter to relax leading to heartburn.
– Don’t eat too much — If you think you’re overeating, you probably are… and it can be more than your stomach can handle. Try eating smaller meals.
– Watch your medications — Many medicines cause heartburn, including acid blockers like Prilosec, Prevacid, and Zantac. If this seems bizarre to you, welcome to the world of pharmaceutical medicine. Other troublesome categories include osteoporosis drugs like Fosamax, anti-anxiety drugs like Valium, and even NSAID pain relievers you may be trying to take for your pain, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of acid reflux and heartburn causes, but should give you a head start on dealing with that particular problem. Consider consulting with a good naturopathic doctor (ND) if you have significant trouble with acid reflux or heartburn on a regular basis.
Wangen S. Acid Reflux and Heartburn: The Underlying Causes. Food Allergy Solutions Review. 2002 Dec.