It’s time to drop some realness on an important health topic. One affecting all ages. One with serious misinformation affecting 15-30% of the population! (healthline.com)
I often bite my tongue when I overhear people talk about their heartburn issues and the medication their prescribed to suppress it. And I cringe when I hear about them talking about their kids.
When I worked in an outpatient hospital treating voice disorders, the most common cause was acid reflux. The acid traveling up from their stomachs would cause damage to their vocal cords, resulting in weakened and gravelly voices.
Western medicine currently operates under the model of reducing the stomach acid to help relieve symptoms. We’re talkin heartburn, indigestion, bloating, gas, nausea, sore throat, dry cough, sour taste in the mouth- symptoms that range from annoying to debilitating (is that Pepto-Bismol commercial playing in your head now?- sorry 😉 )
It’s true that patients find immediate relief from controlling the amount of acid traveling up the esophagus, but in the long-run, it’s just a band-aid for a bigger problem.
In my clinical practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Health Coach, I always step it and ask WHY. Why is this person experiencing acid reflux? What foods are they eating? How much? At what times of the day? Essentially, how can we address the root cause so they don’t have to be tied to harmful medication that is only providing temporary relief? Let’s fix it, I say!
Let’s face it, more and more people are realizing that pharmaceutical interventions come with side effects, some often worse than the initial complaint (more commercials coming to mind ? “side effects include headache, insomnia, upset stomach, dizziness, DEATH…”).
Besides side effects, there’s the risk for harmful interactions with other medications, potential allergies to what’s in the medicine, and the question of what exactly is even in this man-made, hard, chalky chemicalized THING we so willingly swallow without second thought.
Let me get to my point…
Too much stomach acid is a myth. The real issue here is a lack of stomach acid which is needed to properly digest our food.
Western medicine gives people a quick fix for acid reflux. Antacids like Tums or Milk of Magnesia are suggested, or drugs which reduce stomach acid are prescribed (Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, to name a few).
When we eat overly acidic foods, eat late at night and then lie down soon after, or overeat, our stomachs can’t produce enough acid to digest it all, the value between our esophagus and stomach stays open and malfunctions. Instead of closing tightly (under normal functioning with sufficient acid), it stays open, and acid travels back up. Other factors affecting the valve dysfunction (Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES)) are caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and sugar.
So what I’m saying is that stomach acid is our friend, and from reading loads of articles, trying it for myself, and seeing the improvements with my voice patients and health coaching clients, the answer is clear: supplement your body’s production of acid.
How do I fix it?
Hello seasonally appropriate suggestion: APPLE CIDER VINEGAR.
Yes. A capful in 1/2 cup water immediately before you eat, and voila, your stomach has a helper to digest food, and valve can close properly. Other recommendations of course include reducing the other contributors to LES dysfunction. And if learning how to stop taking your meds, cut out those foods, or not eat so much or so late at night sounds terribly difficult, that’s where some tips, problem-solving and loving guidance/ accountability comes in from a Health Coach 😉
If you want, you can read a whole book about Why Stomach Acid is Good for You, by Jonathan Wright, a leading holistic medicine practitioner. Or read another more detailed article from someone I trust, Lauren Geertsen from Empowered Sustenance, called The Heartburn Myth.
Contact me if you’d like to discuss your experience with Acid Reflux and for more info about how health coaching could get RID of your acid reflux suffering.