Learning to Manage Acid Reflux

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/16/2010 7:28 PM (GMT -6)   
I found out last week through trial and error that I have had a continuous problem with acid reflux for over a year. I went to the doctor seeking help with a chronic cough and post nasal drip, thinking it was allergies. He asked if I ever had heartburn, and I told him that I never had any. Still, he prescribed protonix 40mg once a day for me to try and told me to come back in a month. The first night I took it I was amazed when my body, and especially my chest, relaxed for the first time in many months. I guess I had lived with acid reflux for so long that I did not notice the symptoms.

I've been taking the medicine for a week now, and I'm trying to figure out where to go from here. I realize that my diet was the main thing that caused my problem: fried foods, pizza, spaghetti, chocolate every day, etc. Over the last few days I've tried eating one of these foods each day to see how my body reacts, and they usually end up leaving me with tightness in my chest and sometimes coughing. I'm seeing that my diet is going to have to change completely, but I'm wondering how to pull it off. I know I can learn to cook different foods at home and prepare them in different ways, but how hard is it to eat with this problem when eating out with friends? Once or twice a week we go to fast food places to eat after church, so can I get by with eating a grilled chicken sandwich there and not order fries? Can some of you give me some advice about what kinds of foods to order in these situations? Thanks for your help.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 3/16/2010 7:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Your reflux could really be caused by allergies. Some doctors insist they should be called intolerances or sensitivities, but my allergist calls them allergies.

Acid controlers control acid. Acid does not cause reflux. Triggers cause reflux - the squeezing and jumping around you feel when you are refluxing. It's a little different when you lie down. Acid can flow up to the esophagus if the lower esophageal sphincter doesn't close properly.

Non-acid reflux, which is what I had for 25 years, is when the acid is stopped or neutralized and you still have stomach contents pushing up into the esophagus. This reflux can be triggered by a food intolerance.

You mentioned a bunch of food triggers you have recognized. Keep a food log/journal with symptoms an hour and two hours after eating. Avoid the foods and just see if the refluxing lessens.

In my case, I was able to make a list and then look them up on the internet and found they all had one thing in common - sulfite. I sort of figured that out because I have a problem with wine and beer. But others may have very different triggers.

You don't want surgery if you can avoid it. It's not guaranteed to last or cure you.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/17/2010 12:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Alcie, I've been working on a food journal, but I'll be more careful with it and see what I can figure out before my next appointment.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 3/17/2010 1:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Basically you'll want to avoid high fat foods and also foods that are slow to digest, such as red meat. Those are the ones that will stimulate more acid production and for longer periods of time. The earlier in the day you are eating out, the more you can indulge in hard to digest foods. You want your stomach to be as empty as possible by bedtime. The junk you were accustomed to eating on a daily basis, like pizza, hamburgers, etc., you should now eat only as occasional treats and not staple foods. It's different for each person, but I try to eat more carbs, fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts, etc., and less meat and fried greasy stuff.

Some people have trigger foods that cause their LES valve to relax and make their reflux worse. My valve never closes so those trigger foods don't matter to me. If you have an endoscopy done, your doctor should be able to tell you if your valve is always open or not. Since my reflux is always on, I focus on eating foods that cause the stomach to generate less acid for shorter lengths of time.

Like you I went for a long time getting sore throats, stuffy nose, etc. which I always thought were head colds. I figured I had a defective immune system to be getting so many colds that lasted for weeks and sometimes months. I also wondered if I had allergies but I never tested as allergic to anything and taking allergy medication never helped. Now I know it was always reflux. I didn't believe I had reflux until finally I had an endoscopy done and the doctor put the picture under my nose showing the obvious acid damage to the lining of my esophagus. Then there was no denying it. Now that I'm on PPI's, I never get "colds" anymore. If the PPI's are relieving your "allergy" symptoms, then odds are you don't have an allergy and probably it's reflux.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 3/17/2010 5:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I had the same symptoms as you. I was told it was acid reflux by my allergist, too. I was having silent GERD which was causing acid to come up into my lungs and sinuses causing all sorts of troubles.

Your next step is to see an GI. You need to have several tests ran to make sure wheither it is allergies or GERD.

My GI told me that Silent GERD was just beginning to be recognized as causing lung and sinus problems.

The food diary is a good way to help keep track of your irritants, to minumize the reactions.

Best of luck,

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