An inexpensive and simple tactic-chewing gum after meals-helped one reader overcome acid reflux problems.
Q. I have had difficulty with reflux since childhood. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Prilosec and Prevacid have helped with the heartburn pain, but did nothing for reflux. The reflux became violent projectile vomiting without nausea. Physicians have been unable to determine the cause.
After reading your guide to Digestive Disorders, I began to chew gum following moderate to large meals. This simple suggestion has all but stopped the reflux, which is no longer troublesome. Thank you.
Why Chewing Gum Helps
A. Chewing gum stimulates saliva, which washes acid and other stomach juices back down the esophagus into the stomach and alleviates symptoms.
While acid-suppressing drugs reduce the irritating effects of stomach contents, medications like Nexium and Prilosec do not prevent reflux.
Problems with PPIs
In recent years we have learned that long-term use of PPIs (proton-pump inhibitors like omeprazole or esomeprazole) has been linked with a number of complications, including an increased risk for pneumonia, diarrhea due to C diff infections, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and weakened bones.
We discuss the pros and cons of PPIs and many non-drug approaches to heartburn, including a popular recipe for persimmon punch, in our Guide to Digestive Disorders.