I'm new to GERD as well so I really don't have much advice as to what to use in regards to alternatives. But even though I'm not as old as you are, I had a sudden onset with mine as well. I'm 38 and with no warning, my stomach rebelled on me literally overnight. I always prided myself on having an iron stomach but one day I woke up, had my coffee and I could barely swallow, I had a painful lumpy feeling in my chest and severe stomach pain. I hardly ever get heartburn though. So maybe I have a combination of GERD and Gastritis. Don't know but my GI just threw me on Prilosec and it seems to be doing the job. I made the mistake of forgetting to take it for about a week and boy was I in pain! So at least for me I know it is working.
So as for the sudden onset, maybe your stomach and esophagus just got too weak to handle the contents of your diet and/or medications. And it said, enough is enough! :) I am just guessing here because I don't know much about it really. All I know is that it is miserable!
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Allergies-Singulair
~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections
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