Posted 2/1/2012 11:50 PM (GMT -7)
Firstly, welcome to HealingWell. We all help each other out here, so I hope we can give you some good advice :)
There's only so much you can do without a doctor's help. It sounds like you are suffering quite a bit and to me, personally, it would be worth it to see a doctor despite the cost. You're saying you've been suffering every day for 6 months and that it's too much. What else has to happen for you to go back to the doctor? They WILL NOT all treat you like the snippy one you had. Most doctors are aware that GERD is a real disorder. However, it's always worth it to self-evaluate and see if maybe stressors in your life are causing adverse effects.
I'm guessing you're in the US? If so, call hospitals and doctor's offices and ask what programs they have for uninsured patients. You can even try to get on MediCal if need be, but there's only so much advice we can give you here. I am living abroad so I can't speak too knowledgeably about it, but check out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Maybe there's something in it that you can benefit from?
If it is acid reflux, all we here can tell you to do is to try different things. Here are a few tips we give to newcomers, but be aware that some work for some and some don't.
-Raise the head of your bed 6-8" (the whole head of the bed; just using pillows usually doesn't work)
-Avoid GERD "trigger" foods, such as tomatoes, chocolate, coffee, tea, spicy foods, and citrus fruits
-Don't lay down for 3-5 hours after eating
-Avoid wearing clothes that put too much pressure on your tummy
-Get down to a "normal" weight (you can use the BMI for reference, although it's not perfect)
There are drugs you can take called Proton-Pump Inhibitors (or PPI's) but without a doctor's supervision you shouldn't use them for more than 2 weeks. Ask you pharmacist to show you which ones they are. Some of the common ones are pantoprazole (Protonix), omeprazole (Prilosec), and esomeprazole (Nexium). There is another class of drugs called H2 Blocker's (we call them H2's on this site, usually) which are drugs like Pepcid and Zantac. The other medicine you can take are antacids, like Tums, or Gaviscon. However, be careful taking these as each drug comes with it own side effects (which you can see on the label).
There are also several homeopathic remedies, but I personally haven't found any help from these. They are supplements like Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) and drinking tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before eating.
I personally have found the most help from diet, weight loss, exercise, and prescription medication, but I still have problems here and there.
I know this is a lot of information, but if you're going without medical advice, all of this will hopefully be useful for you. But, if you do these things and it's not helping you, I implore you to go back to the doctor. It could also be possible that something else is causing your symptoms. While we are a wise group, none of us are medical professionals.
Take care! Please, look through our posts to see if there's anything that pops out at you and helps you, and feel free to ask any questions you may have.