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903 Defending the Digestive Tract

Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about:
Heartburn is a serious problem for millions of people. Not only is it painful, it is a potential harbinger of esophageal cancer. When acid reflux continues for years, it can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition. Can technology break the link between reflux, Barrett’s esophagus and cancer?
Popular pain relievers such as diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen can ease aching joints, but they can also wreak havoc in the gastrointestinal tract. Must you choose between crippling pain and life-threatening ulcers?
Guest: Nicholas Shaheen, MD, is Professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. He directs the Center for Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing. The website is http://www.med.unc.edu/cedas/
. Dr. Shaheen’s review of radiofrequency ablation was published in <em>Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2013. His study was published in 2012.
The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I started with one Phillips Colon pill every morning on a friend’s recommendation, but after a couple days experience loose bowel movement. I discontinued for a few days and then restarted it with the same results. I have not found any adverse effects to this pill on the web. Is what I am experiencing a possible adverse effect?

I too had the nissan procedure … life was great for about 18 months, and then it was no longer effective. After going back on drugs, I slowly got off them and am doing much better. I sleep on a slight wedge at night and don’t eat anything after 7pm as well as being careful with what I do eat.

I often listen to the show and find it helpful from time to time. But I was disappointed in your May11 broadcast on the digestive system.
In discussing the use of treatments for heartburn, Dr. Shaheen failed to deal with the serious side effects from protonic drugs.
He also said nothing about the surgical treatment known as nissan fundoplication, a procedure that can repair a hiatal hernia and restore the function of the valve that is intended to keep acid reflux from happening. I personally have undergone the nissan procedure and have had wonderful results — no more heartburn period and my frequent throat clearing and compromised voice due to acid reflux have cleared up considerable, though I understand that it can take a year for the vocal chords to recover.
So I look forward to complete restoration due to this wonderful procedure that only took about 45 minutes in the operating room. Again, I’m disappointed that none of this was discussed.

I agree, Toni. I was my mom’s primary caregiver in and out of the hospital, through her palliative care and up until she passed. We were given very little information all along as to what was happening in her body. I always had to initiate asking for more detail and often relied more on the internet to gather the information. It was a very frustrating and exhausting experience for my family.

I had an endoscopy 1-1/2 years ago. The lab report stated I had the symptoms of perhaps turning into Barrett’s – – to take a PPI and see the Dr. in a year. No discussion with the Dr or anything. Did a lot of reading about PPI’s and of course wasn’t going to take them for a year!! Was disgusted and never went back. Reflux not daily but I know I can’t let this rest with some treatment. What next would you recommend?

I have been diagnosed with Barrett’s syndrome and was very cloudy as to what I needed to do and what to use to help with the acid reflux. I take omeprozole and have been instructed to have a new test every 3 years.
None of it made much sense to me and was very scary.This article makes sense and has put my heart at ease. I wish more doctors would explain things in such detail and clarity. Knowing what you have and what can happen and what can or cannot be done about it is very comforting. Reality is never as scary as lack of knowledge about what is happening.
Thank you for you clear,concise and informative article. Wish we could get your pod cast i n Oregon. I will write or call our public broadcasting station.
Dear Toni,
You will want to listen to the whole show when it posts on this website on Monday. You may also want to go to iTunes and subscribe to the free podcast. Dr. Shaheen has done revolutionary research on your condition and you will learn about the success of the new treatment for your problem. And thank you for speaking up on our behalf with your local NPR station. We would love to be on the air in Oregon!

hello there was diagnosed with barrett’s about 7 yrs ago also put on recommended tablets, wasn’t told once on then it’s permanent, then this year was told it’s spread and now need an operation, so 2 weeks ago decided to do something about this, firstly I looked at what I eat? do I eat rubbish, no is the question, don’t smoke drink or eat fat, looked all over the net and did my research for isn’t relief from acid is a table spoon of cidre vinegar to a teaspoon of honey to a half pint glass of water this works fantastic, then every morning pint of smoothie almond milk pure with no baddies, and no acid fruits a hand full of almonds. I haven’t had cramp acid coughing or bad breath for 2 weeks, so friday evening thought I’d test what I’d done, went out and abused my body had a lager and a pizza, not a thing feel fantastic.

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