Drugs and Heartburn
There are a number of causes to heartburn and the cause should always be considered when the treatment is selected. It's pretty clear that the cure for occasional heartburn related to overeating is to just take a few Tums and don't over eat again. But when heartburn becomes chronic and debilitating more understanding is needed.
If you have chronic heartburn you need to be tested for an H-pylori infection. So often these two conditions go hand in hand and the only symptom of the infection is the heartburn, at least until the infection becomes so severe that you also have actual stomach pain. Often the elimination of the H-pylori will resolve the heartburn. I have several other articles on treating H-pylori on the website and you can look through the archives for them. A low stomach acid situation will set you up for H-pylori or other infections in the stomach. So if you have been taking antacids you will be more prone to getting a stomach ulcer as this reduces your resistance. Stomach acid keeps pathogens in the gut from infiltrating the tissues of the stomach. Essentially it is your first line of defense against all disease that may enter through your mouth.
If you do not have H-pylori you might want to consider that you have some other kind of infection that cannot be detected. Of course doctors do not really know how to test for other infections so you will be on your own if you suspect that there could be some other kind of infection. Most stomach infections will respond positively to treatment with either MMS1 or ozonated water or cabbage juice.
The only time you should treat reflux with a proton pump inhibitor is during a stomach infection as the strength of your own stomach acid can make the resulting ulcer much worse. A few days after stomach pain is gone then the antacid can be stopped for if the pain is gone the ulcer is sufficiently healed. But do not stop until the stomach pain gone for at least 5 days.
Once the lining of the stomach is healed you need to address the cause of the reflux and or ulcer. If your reflux is not caused by an ulcer or if it continues after your ulcer is gone your reflux may be caused by bad digestion. You do not have sufficient digestive fluids to digest your food properly. When this occurs a gaseous state arises in the stomach that puts pressure on the esophageal sphincter and allows the stomach acid to go up into the esophagus.
This perpetual or intermittent burning is also very dangerous to your esophagus as these tissues were not designed for acid exposure.
To treat common reflux caused by poor digestion you need to take digestive enzymes and betaine hydrochloric acid to assist in your digestion. (do not take these if you have an ulcer. Heal that first) Increasing the acid in the stomach will prevent the gaseous state and the reflux problem. Some people find that just a tablespoon or two of natural Bragg’s apple cider vinegar is sufficient to keep their digestion in order. It has been reported that if you take digestive enzymes and betaine HCL over time you stomach may actually turn on its own acid and enzyme producing cells again and you won't need the supplements any more. This is the most desired outcome.
A very few people have hiatial hernias that cause reflux. About 10 to 15% of reflux issues are hernia caused. This hernia can be present from birth but may not be problematic until adulthood. This can only be diagnosed by a physician and the treament options of surgery for this type of hernia are not common but I understand that is more commonly applied in Europe. If you can get the surgery it may be the best option for you. These unfortunates must use a proton pump inhibitor to keep the damaging acid from coming up into the stomach as this acid over time will damage the esophagus and may even lead to cancer.
I do not recommend regular vinegars commonly found in the supermarket. Please use natural organic vinegar.
If you have common reflux disease and no hernia and no ulcer be sure you take pepsin and an acid replacement. I prefer the pepsin to be with the betaine HCL rather than in an enzyme product. Take enough betaine HCL to make your tummy feel just mildly warm then eat your meal right away. You may have to adjust your dosage up or down over time. Some people require as many as 5 capsules with a large protein meal. Work up slowly. Protein meals require more Betaine HCL than carb meals.
Betaine HCL with Pepsin
Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
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