The People's Perspective on Medicine

Getting Off Acid Suppressors Is a Challenge

Discontinuing PPI acid suppressing drugs can be very difficult, due to the rebound heartburn many people experience upon quitting.

Q. I have been taking Protonix for heartburn for at least six months. After I learned that long-term use might lead to complications, I tried to stop taking it. Big mistake!

After about a week, I had to start taking it again due to severe heartburn–the rebound effect, I suppose. I asked my pharmacist how to discontinue acid suppressing drugs but she was unable to find out. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Rebound heartburn may make it difficult to stop medications such as Aciphex, Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec or Protonix. As a result, people sometimes end up taking such drugs for years. The consequences might include an increased risk of pneumonia, hip fractures and vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to nerve damage or cognitive problems.

We spoke recently with Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Director of Education for the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. She recommends a gradual approach for discontinuing acid-suppressors.

Dr. Low Dog suggests taking ginger capsules and chewing DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) tablets as you phase out Protonix. Probiotics may also be helpful during this time.

There is much more information about the pros and cons of acid-suppressing drugs and many non-drug approaches for controlling reflux and heartburn in our book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy. It is available in libraries, bookstores and online at

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I started taking Protonix (20mg) when Protonix was first available for severe heartburn. It is the only medicine to stop heartburn for me. Several years ago, I started to split the pill in half (10 mg) and it still did the job of stopping heartburn. After a few years, I split the pill in quarters (5 mg), and most of the time it does the job, but occasionally I would need an extra quarter that day.

I then thought that since 5 mg. is not much I will stop taking Protonix altogether. Wrong! I started to have severe heartburn again. So, I went back to 5 mg. and have been taking this dosage for about 12 years. I am 82 years old and being on Protonix for many years have not caused me any health problems as long as I am taking 5 mg. I hope this will help those people who are thinking about getting off of Protonix “cold turkey.”

I was doing so good tapering off omprazole. Iwent all the way down from 40 mg to 10mg. Then out of the blue I started to have hip pain with throw up. I was so discouraged I went back up to 20mg. I know it is the omeprazole or else I wouldnt have throwups. I know its my body reacting because I have been on omeprazole for 10 years. Has anyone have this happen to them.

I was able to stop taking Protonix (40 mg) now for 3 weeks. I’ve been on it for about 10 years! I believe the key was to start taking a good Probiotic 2 months before attempting to stop. I also took the Protonix, every other day for two weeks. I’ve had some rebound, but not as bad as last time I tried to stop and had to go back on after a week. Things that have helped me are Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). Take 1 Tablespoon in a “tall” glass of water before meals and at bed time. DGL. Zantac and Gaviscon. Good luck all and God Bless! This can be beat!

I have been having issues with acid rebound (I think?) for several months now. I got back on the omeprazole after about 2 months of unbearable discomfort. I am now back on 40 mg, and although I do feel more able to function I am not well.

Does anyone know of any doctors or experts or resources I could reach out to for help? My doctors aren’t taking the possibility of rebound seriously, as they think it might be something else.. but I believe it is all due to the drug.

Before going into more testing etc. I want to be sure I have investigated this possibility further! It seems as if it’s spot on symptoms of getting off of ppi’s.

Dear All,
My case will help you all,please share.

I was diagnosed with Gerd, Esophagitis Grade B,Mild Gastritis and H Pylori during endoscopy.
My health past profile was with no health problems and do not have any habits as alcohol, smoke etc except good tasty food.

I was given PPI and other drugs to cure H Pylori,which ultimately treated it but after prescribed dose of PPI finished,I stopped taking it.Here the issues started. I started getting regular and severe heartburn after meals and chest was keeping warm whole day. Doctor was clueless. Being 30 age I developed so many thoughts of cancer etc.
After searching vigorously to get off PPI on net, I got a solution to reduce the dosage and delay the intake of PPI. I started taking it only once a day,than once in 2 days than once in 3 days etc. Point to consider is that watch the effect if heartburn if you are not able to handle than take PPI.It will take some time but this is the way out. Today it is a 25th day without any PPI and I thing acid rebound is gone.Though I be strict with my food and excersice still.
Hope this may help you all.

Hi Cassie, are you still trying to get off the acid meds? I am taking Pantoprazole 40 MG per day. I skipped today’s dose. I was going to try to take it every other day gradually increasing the days between. Not sure if that is best, or reducing the dose. Anyway, I have found a lot of ideas on line. The key is to taper off slowly. I an hoping to beat this drug.

For two months I have been off of omeprazole. I found that it made the kidney damage from taking celebrex worse, it also makes thyroid disease and bone density worse. I was on omeprazole for years and years.

I started taking DGL licorice, mastic gum and Complete Gest, a mealtime enzyme formula. I was able to survive the acid reflux with the help of these three tools, but being off the omeprazole created gas that was uncontrollable. I could hardly go out in public. Yesterday and today, I had to go to the city for some errands and knew I could not go with uncontrollable farting, so I took an omeprazole each day. Not a single gas attack.

There has got to be some way to stay off the omeprazole and protect my kidneys, thyroid, and bone density, and not have the gas. Anyone have any solutions?

Does anyone get severe nausea in the morning? I’ve had it for years and I don’t ont know if it’s acid reflux or what but I have been taking protonix and my wrists have been hurting really bad and I’m only 20 yrs old. I don’t know what to do I’ve been to so many doctors and no one knows what it is and it is really ruining my life cause I don’t know how to stop it.

Protonix and PPI’s in general cause bone and joint problems. You are having a side effect to you Protonix. PPI’s if you research cause B-12 and Magnesium deficiencies. If you received a paper from your Pharmacist who gave you your prescription, it has the side effects listed.

CC, I recently was successful getting off Prilosec, after taking it for 14 years. It caused my body to not be able to absorb nutrients from the food I ate, leaky gut, food intolerance, etc.
I had to go to a clean diet which consist of a grain-free, organic, processed-free diet, low in sugar.

It sounds as if the beneficial bacteria in your gut is being overtaken by unfriendly bacteria. I think your nausea is a secondary effect of the protonix, and your immune system might need some help; a cleaner diet and probiotics. After you do that, why not withdraw slowly from your protonix and add DGL plus other natural antacid such as d-Limonene to help with the reflux. Conventional doctors are not trained to look a the root of the problem, but only to mitigate symptoms with drugs. If you want to avoid serious health problems in your future, don’t eat GMOs. sugar, grains, and artificial sweeteners. Withdraw as soon as you can from the protonox. Get informed, there’s lots of education in the internet. Take responsibility for your health. Check Dr. Mercola website, that’s a good starting point. Good luck. There’s hope if your are realistic and take action.

Absolute Best thing to take for general health, colds, and ESPECIALLY acid reflux! is good quality ORGANIC APPLE cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons in glass of water before bedtime… it is a miracle!!!!

RVH. Do some reading about Betaine HCL. Also, so some reading about gluten sensitivity. My joints and bones hurt when I eat too much dairy. Your problems might not be the same as mine, but these three things are a good place to start. Good luck!!

I stopped Nexium 40 cold turkey 4 days ago and Im hoarse, sore throat, feel awfully week and mini panic attacks, irritated, weepy, overwhelmed, but the absolute worse withdrawal is nausea! yuck. thanks everyone for these post, they have given me encouragement and I’m determined to hold tight and kick nexium.
I just don’t understand why my doctor who knew I already had bone loss when I was given Nexium, and didn’t tell me a single thing about any side effects!
The Nexium was actually given to me to treat nausea to start with, due to acid problems that ive had my entire life and I’m 52 year old female.
Hang tight everyone, we can do this.
ps Ive been on Nexium for a year and I now know why my bones hurt all the time, Ive gained 50 pounds due to the fact that I hurt all over so badly and I feel as if I’m in a zoned out world all the time…….

I just stumbled onto this blog this morning and I want to say thanks to all of you who have commented here. It’s comforting to find other people struggling and succeeding in their journey to find better health. I have had my challenges with GERD for about 9 years now. Initially I was diagnosed with a small hiatus hernia and promptly put on Nexium. I’ve never been a big pill popper but at the time, whatever it took to rid myself of the horrible symptoms of acid reflux. I actually had my neighbourhood take me to the hospital one day because I thought I was having a heart issue. When I had seen the physician and mentioned I was having chest discomfort, he asked if I thought I was having a heart attack….I couldn’t believe he actually asked me that.
Anyways fast forward to today, I have been working with a naturopath for a number of years and was totally off all traditional meds until a few years ago when I had some dental issues and ended up on 4 rounds of antibiotics in 4 months….needless to say, my symptoms came back with a vengeance. I started back on the Zantac and have been on it daily for the past 3 years. I have decided with my naturopath that I need to come off it and have been taking probiotics in the morning, basic tabs ( naturopath version of baking soda). She says it’s baking on steroids :). I also use Gaviscon when I get that acid taste in my mouth or an acidic stomach. I have gone 2 days now without Zantac and have experienced some rebound for sure but I’m taking DGL before each meal, being very careful what I eat and trying to keep my stress level down. I also have some slippery Elm which I will give a try too. I’ve read the book, Dropping Acid by Dr Jamie Koufman. It really helped me identify some of the food triggers that might be responsible for my reflux….and there are some great recipes in it as well.
Thanks again to everyone here who continues to update the community with news and support.
Wishing us all heartburn free days and nights!!!!

After almost 20 years on PPI’s (first 15 years on 15 mg Prevacid, then 30 mg), I developed a sore throat, which my doctor said was caused by reflux. He switched me to 40 mg Nexium, which made me extremely drowsy and made my arms go numb. A scope showed lots of polyps in my stomach, which was caused by the medication, and that doctor, a gastroenterologist, switched me to 60 mg Dexilant and proposed surgery. When my throat and stomach problems continued despite taking so much medication, I had just about enough.
I reduced my medication again to 15 mg, drinking only chamomile tea with honey and eating only oatmeal and apples. I had the worst kind of heartburn. (Ironically I never had heartburn before I started the PPI’s, just a finicky stomach.) During a week off I decided to discontinue the Prevacid completely. I was prepared for another week of hell, but to my surprise, it was not that bad. Now I only take a Pepsid Complete occasionally, and I even drink coffee again sometimes and eat chocolate (but only after a meal). I found the following help me stay off PPI’s: I chew a DGL tablet every morning, make sure that my stomach is never completely empty, drink lots of mild teas with honey, suck on hard candy (sugarless) several times a day, and walk a lot.
I have been off PPI’s for four months now and will never take them again. I just came back from Europe, where these drugs have a very bad rep and are hardly ever prescribed, but here the doctors give them away like candy and increase the dosage without even mentioning the harmful side effects.

Seriously, try l-glutamine. There is one I’ve been taking called Intestinew
It has helped me considerably!

I had TIF surgery about two years ago after 10 years of antacid and PPI struggles. It went fine, but afterwards I got dramatic rebound acidity. I took Rolaids for that, and it went away after about 6 weeks. However, about 6 months later I developed stomach pain, got checked, and I had a massive ulcer, likely due to hyper-acidity.
Went back on PPIs for a month to heal the ulcer, and now I am on and off, but trying to get off completely. In short, I am pretty much back to where I was 5 years ago.
In retrospect, I have to say the entire about 10-year treatment course of my reflux/heartburn (I don’t even know which it is) has been an outrage of for-profit medicine, the GI surgeon invariably ordering the most expensive (and most invasive) tests, doctors giving me whatever was the next strongest and most actively promoted PPI.
The more I read, the more I become convinced that reflux/heartburn is very strongly associated with use of SSRIs. If I could quit those I would, but they improve my life more than the stomach problems mess it up :-)

Wow, I thought I was the only one who realized that Prayer does indeed heal most wounds.. Great post WT!

I have gastritis and a small hiatal hernia. I’m in my sixties. This was diagnosed 6 weeks ago. My gastroenterologist has me on Zantac 150 and probiotics. This has taken care of the stomach pain, but I still had middle of the night waking up. If I had any stomach discomfort at all, I would go back to sleep in my living room recliner (bought a nifty eye shade from Bed Bath & Beyond) to keep the outside light out). This is a very good practice for me, but I was still not satisfied. Also, if I’m wide awake at 3:00 and think I may be experiencing real hunger, I eat a a tiny amount of Rice Crispies wih rice milk and go back to sleep in the recliner. The back of the recliner put back somewhat, but not all the way.
So I reasoned that my type of insomnia was still a medical problem, and have started taking sub-lingual vitamin B-12 (500 mg., 1 tablet under the tongue for 30 seconds prior to swallowing.) This was worked wonderfully for me and I have been sleeping in my own bed, all night long, since about 3 days after starting the sub-lingual B-12.
This almost stunning to me since I have had trouble sleeping through the night for maybe 20 years. Vitamin B-12 is not a “sleeping pill” in itself. However, I thought that since the Zantac reduced my stomach acid, I was not absorbing all my usual nutrients. Vitamin B-12 is water soluble so any excess will go away in your urine. In my grandmother’s day, you could only benefit from it if you received it by injection, but the sub-lingual formula handles that problem nicely.
Regarding my bed, I have raised the head of my bed by approx. 6 inches, using old library books, bound with duct tape. The head of my bed is raised up by 3 columns of Nora Roberts novels. So it’s 9 inches of Nora Roberts, total!
As to all that awful burping I had been doing, my doctor reminded me that drinking through a straw will help with that. It keeps you from swallowing so much air. I use a straw every single time now, and have almost completely gotten rid of the burping. At this point, in the daytime if I feel a twinge in my upper stomach, I realize it might be time to encourage a little silent burp (mouth closed). So up comes the bubble from my stomach and the little twinge goes away. I feel like an accomplished senior citizen/baby being burped. Such satisfaction.
I saw the endoscopic picture of the inside of my stomach; the gastritis looks like a rash inside my stomach. I asked the doctor how long it would take to heal this if I followed a perfect diet for the condition. He said, “Three to six months.” So I’m still tinkering with it and am very grateful for this blog and hope to eventually get off the Zantac.

For maybe 20 I’ve been taking anti acid tablets (you know the ones you buy off the shelf) for acid reflex. Then after pressure from the family who all took prescribed acid blockers, I decided to say NO. I changed my diet cutting out down carbs and completely stopping Gluten packed food.
My tablet intake of 10 to 15 a day(for 20 years) dropped to Zero. It was Gluten in the end. I have control at last.

I have been using pantoprazole 40 mg for 3 years and now have serious problems with my spine. No one advised that this was a side affect.

What I have found, is that my problem is not one single thing. I have a hiatal hernia, but I think my bigger problem is that I don’t have a gallbladder. I have done tons of reading about sluggish or NO gallbladder. My problem seems to start when my food is passing into my small intestine from my stomach. Because I don’t have a gallbladder, the fats aren’t digesting.
I started taking New Roots Digestive Enzymes with betaine HCL and ox bile. When I take them, I have no heartburn.
Do some reading about how food is digested. I think there is a lot to do with sluggish gallbladders. The medical community seem to think that people can live without it, but I’m not so sure they should be so quick to take them out. Digestion is very complicated and is sort of like dominoes lined up. If one misfires, then the rest of the dominoes don’t fall and the chain breaks down very quickly. If you don’t have enough bile to digest fats, then the enzymes to digest carbs and proteins seem to get confused too!!
Good luck.

This is the best idea I’ve heard so far. I think I’m going to try it. I’ve had a huge problem with this and as a result have been taking Prevacid for years.

There’s hope!
I developed Acid Reflux after years of seating in front of the computer for hours, eating poorly and then going thru a lot of stress.
Never a religious person, but since no meds could help I started praying, going to therapy, attend mass, acupuncture, practicing yoga, eating healthy and most important of all: reduce my stress levels and trying to become a better person.
I feel better now!!
But I’m still taking ranitidine and trying to wean off Prevacid.
I’ll try DGL and Gaviscon tonite instead of Prevacid.
Please read Heal your Body and Heal your Life by Louise Hay
There’s HOpe!

I have been taking 60mg of Dexalant now for about 8 months prior to that I was only taking 30mg and it was not working. I am definitely going in the wrong direction. I really want to get off from this drug. Can you please advise to what your routine was regarding these natural products and how long it took you?

Just from common sense, I would think you would not want to take vinegar and baking soda at the same time. Vinegar is acidic and baking soda is basic. That means they are more or less the opposite, chemically speaking. So, in the best case, they would neutralize each other, and not do anything to change your condition. In the worst case, while neutralizing each other, they would produce various gasses or other compounds you don’t want in your body.
Take one or the other, depending on your theory of what causes GERD, too much acid or not enough acid.
hope this helps.

Hi MR,
Thanks! I’m still thrilled that I had it done. Still can’t burp though. And that’s a bummer. And you can probably guess that since I can’t do that, all that air has to come out *somehow*!
I had a DXA scan done, and the results indicate I’m about what would be expected for a menopausal woman of my age, so I’m happy about that. Now I just have to work on building up the calcium.

Thank you for sharing your experience with the surgery. So happy to hear it went well.

dj, That is very strange. I hope this is a doctor you trust. This surgery is done all the time, all around the country (can’t say about other countries), and has been
for many years! Why would it be around, and why would insurance companies pay for it (since they run the healthcare industry anyway!) if it didn’t work?! You could always get a second opinion.

Ginna, not sure…the doc doesn’t say..other than it doesn’t work..maybe he has stock in protonix…my friend Cheri had a gastric bypass( which thank God I don’t need) and at the same time had her hiatal hernia repaired… she is fine. I know any surgery can be a risky… but the meds and the “no” meds are a big risk also. I still am anxious about all of this daily and don’t know what to do about it. Still taking 300 mg of zantac am and pm..and waking up some days with acid in the back of my throat…really worried…right now I’ve decided to start with the aloe vera juice, and dgl along with the zantac and try to wean myself off of it. But I still am interested in the surgery. I live in NY and am thinking of looking for a gastroenterologist in a better hospital…like Columbia Pres or somewhere. thanks all, stay well

I’ve had silent reflux for a couple of years. My dentist noticed that the back of my throat was very red and irritated. My symptoms have mostly been a ton of mucus in my throat and nose and since a few months back the swollen throat which makes it hard to swallow. Also the last few months I’ve experienced heartburn and a metallic taste in my mouth.
Three weeks ago, I finally agreed with my doctor to try Prevacid. The reason was to see if the swelling in my throat went away. However, after three weeks of taking 30 mg of Prevacid once a day, my reflux issues are slightly worse. I now have more heartburn and I feel the acid even in the morning when I wake up. So it doesn’t seem to have helped in any way, which I find strange. Isn’t Prevacid supposed to turn off the acid production completely?
I now want to stop taking Prevacid, but found out yesterday that my doctor is on vacation and will not be back for another week. If it’s not working, I certainly don’t want to take a strong medication like this, but I’m a bit worried that the doctor may tell me in a week that I should have continued on it. I’m thinking about stopping taking Prevacid today, so I just wanted to hear what you guys think I should do. Aside from the possible increased reflux from stopping taking Prevacid, can you easily stop for a week and then start again? Or is there a type of build up period that I’m ruining if I stop for a week or so?

Well dj, now you have *me* curious (and maybe a little freaked out!) What exactly is so ‘dangerous’ about this surgery (other than the fact that there is a risk with *all* surgery) ?

Ginna, thank you so much for your comment. I have wanted this surgery but my doctor resists saying it is very dangerous. From your comments it sounds very good… and now you are well, without meds and without the risk of cancer. I am going to research this further. Also to RM… I have been a vegetarian since high school (I’m 57 now) , I have my bed elevated, I don’t drink coffee, I don’t drink alcohol, eat tomatoes and I don’t eat for 3 or more hours before bed.
I have taken aloe vera juice, DGL and I drink camomile tea. So I have done the natural things to help myself but still the fact remains… the stomach produces acid and when one has a hiatal hernia it comes up potentially damaging the esophagus. so for me it sounds like surgery is a very good option. Thanks again everyone. Debra

dj, you’ll have to read more about these antacids–I know what you mean by being scared about getting cancer. These antacids are a big money makers for the drug companies. Zantac was a huge success that other companies used as a model to market products directly to the patient. Most doctors are giving antacids out like candy. My mother-in-law was in the hospital for lung problems, and they gave her Pepcid AC just because she MIGHT get acid reflux.
There’s some simple things to avoid acid washing up into your esophagus, such as sleeping at a 30 degree angle, not eating late at night, bending your knees instead of leaning over. My husband is a microbiologist/biochemist and we researched this when my sister insisted that my father take Zantac to avoid getting cancer. There’s a lot of information out there about Zantac’s adverse effects, ( also read the insert that comes with the bottle. It’s just so sad that my dad was treated for prostate cancer, which he didn’t have. Then diagnosed with esophagus cancer, which he didn’t have. He died by starvation from having myasthenia gravis, which was not treated, even though we went to the hospital three times and had many doctors check him.

You can say many “common” ailments can lead to cancer! Just as many common habits can lead to it to. Then again, you have people that were never smokers, minimally exposed to second hand smoke and still, they die of lung cancer.
Is there concern for a common ailment that may lead to cancer? Sure, but that doesn’t mean modern medicine derived chemically is going to be better for your health than eating well and nutritional boosts where necessary.
Have they tested you? Do you carry the H Pylori bacteria? Have they placed you on the antibiotics for that or are they just trying to treat the hernia… you also said you have no reflux…. so that is also confusing. Why would they prescribe that stuff if you don’t have the reflux? Well, I bet you do now, should you attempt to come off that stuff! That is really too bad. I’m sure your doctor thought he was acting proactively, but sometimes medicine isn’t the best course of action. Doctors are locked in that way of thinking.
Ultimately it is up to you. You can feel better through diet and exercise, but you have to really want it and be ready for the changes– took me over 20 yrs. to figure that one out! Google Dr. Mark Hyman and look at what he has to say about health and diet and all these digestion issues. He’s a functional medicine practitioner that focuses on self-healing rather than pharmaceutical healing!

Jan P. …I’m not trying to argue that these drugs are the right way to go…I’m just trying to figure out what to do to help myself safely. I want to live a long healthy life without these stomach/ acid issues…to be perfectly honest I’m afraid to stop taking the zantac for fear of cancer…that’s the way the doctor sort of presented the situation to me…”a common condition that could lead to cancer”…pretty scary!

dj, Antacids didn’t prevent esophagus cancer in my friend’s husband–she said he took them with every meal. Also I’ve read of studies that HEALTHY people after taking PPIs begin having reflux and have rebound reflux after trying to quit PPIs. It seems if you were having acid washing up into your esophagus, you would feel it as reflux pain. My mother and sister had hiatal hernias and took various antacids to prevent the pain. They never had the surgery. They did not have esophagus cancer. My mother died of pneumonia, which is also a side effect of taking antacids, especially in elderly.

I commented a while back. (Yikes! It was 2 years ago!) The procedure I referred to is called TIF; it goes through the mouth, I believe; therefore, no incisions. However, because of its nature, it’s not as “tight” a wrap as the Nissen (I will comment on that later.) Unfortunately, the TIF *still* isn’t approved by my insurance company, and apparently others. There is a study being done, to try to make it more apparent that it’s a better alternative (in the eyes of insurance cos. at least) to the Nissen. The study is a terrific deal, if you qualify – the procedure and the required pre-tests are completely paid for by the study.
You can look into it at: If that didn’t print, it’s acid reflux study dot com
I was on Protonix for at least 10 yrs. It worked fantastically, and I was very pleased with the results. But I eventually learned that one should only be on it temporarily. It reduces the acid in the stomach, which among other things, prevents the absorption of calcium. I am now a menopausal-age woman, and not absorbing any calcium for 10 yrs. is a very bad thing! Also, the acid in the stomach keeps polyps from forming. Without the acid, I was developing polyps; those were benign, but how long would that last? In addition, the acid I still had in my stomach could get in my esophagus, and was causing lesions. Those themselves can become cancer.
Although I didn’t qualify for the TIF study, I was so ready to be done with the whole mess, that I went ahead and had the Nissen done, rather than wait for the TIF to be approved. I prefer the light anesthesia that was used for the colonoscopy and upper GIs I’ve had. This was done with general anesthesia, but I didn’t have any problems. Any surgery is a risk, but I didn’t like the risk I was taking *not* having the hiatal hernia taken care of. I am thrilled that I had it done. I have 5 small scars on my stomach, which will go away eventually. And at my age, not many people get the “privilege” :-) of seeing my stomach anyway. I’m off the meds, can eat anything, and have had no heartburn since.
I admit that most of the tests I had to go through, to see if I qualified for the TIF, were quite unpleasant. And I don’t know that I wouldn’t have had to have some of them for the Nissen anyway. But I seriously doubt there will be any occasion where I will ever have to have them again and for that, I am *extremely* grateful! As I mentioned earlier about the TIF being not as “tight” as the Nissen, if you are familiar with how fundoplication is done, a ‘chunk’ of the stomach is wrapped around the lower end of the esophagus in order to close up the extraneous opening. Because the TIF goes through the esophagus (as opposed to going through the stomach), it’s not possible to get such a snug fit. But that might be a good thing.
One big complaint I have after having the surgery, is that I am unable to burp! I can do little burps, that come from my esophagus, above the valve to the stomach. But sometimes, I really want/need a rip-roaring one that comes all the way from my toes! The doctor said that I may be able to burp in the future, but so far, no go; it’s been 4 mos. since my surgery. I suppose if, in years ahead, I’m finally able to do it, I can make an exciting announcement here! ;-)
By the way, all the stuff that was done for this procedure, none of it hurt, so don’t be put off by that. I have a tiny bit of weird sensation from one of the incisions, when fabric rubs across it some particular way, but I know that that will go away eventually. Whatever was done inside, well, there are no pain nerves in there, I suppose. The recovery period is kinda difficult, though. I was severely restricted in what I could eat, for about 6 wks. But this is so that the swelling at the esophagus/stomach juncture (which doesn’t hurt or show) can heal, and that the tissues can bind together. It’s mainly a method of building up your ability to eat more “durable” food, much like you would introduce new foods to a baby. The first 2 wks. are liquids only, and I discovered that almost all liquids are sweet. You’d be surprised how thrilled you’ll be to eat a vegetable!
I believe I’ve gone on long enough here. I think I’ve covered everything. Let the questions begin!

so what do you all think? what is the best method to prevent esophageal cancer? will DGL, aloe vera juice, lemon juice, et al… reduce the acid enough and if they do then what is the real difference… reducing the acid limits absorbility of nutrients so wouldn’t the natural options do the same?… and has anyone had the hiatal hernia surgery… my doc does not want me to do it…
I really need help and advice here and appreciate any anyone can give. I’m desperate to help myself. thanks.

Jan P. makes some very important points. I have a real problem that PPI’s are the 2nd most prescribed medicine in North America.
Some neurologist told my mother that she her brain stem didn’t develop from birth (diagnosed in her 60’s). I don’t even believe that for one minute. I think she ended up starving to death because she couldn’t absorb the nutrients in her food because she didn’t have enough stomach acid.
I know there is something wrong with my diagnosis when PPI’s started to not work and I couldn’t digest my food either. Since I’ve been off the PPI’s, my digestion has improved 100%. Also, my symptoms are relieved when I follow the advice of nutritionists who tell me that people without gallbladders need bile salts to digest their food. Funny how it works when I take the bile salts.
The problem with the system is that a doctor has to authorize any of the tests required to see what is wrong. I have found that the medical community gets on a path when they diagnosis and they don’t deviate from that path of process of elimination.
People have to be responsible for their own health. There are so many resources on the Internet and alternative therapies it is sometimes mind boggling. However, if you are patient (no pun intended), you will find what works for you. Don’t give up.

I want to weigh in on “the esophageal cancer thing”. My father, who was over 92, was taking Zantac for reflux for about 9 months. He went to the hospital, and they used a cat scan and found “something”, which they thought was esophageal cancer. He passed away a few months later, and we had an autopsy which SHOWED NO CANCER. He had myasthenia gravis which seemed to mimic reflux. He was NOT being treated for the myasthenia gravis, which killed him. I fault the advertisements and brain-washed doctors for not finding the right diagnosis.
Also a friend of mine’s husband passed away from Esophageal Cancer, which he’d ignored by taking large amounts of antacids. He also smoked heavily, which is a huge risk factor.
Several of my father’s nurses, EMT’s stated that Zantac and other antacids can be very dangerous. Now, I see why.

thanks for your response… I can relate very much to all of your seeking, as I have done a lot also. My one thing that doesn’t really jive… is that I never had acid reflux… I was just diagnosed with the hiatal hernia, and the doc said the acid would wash up into my esophogus (sp?) and erode it. So the drugs were to reduce the acid that was washing up into the esophogus.
I don’t have symptoms so I don’t have any idea whats going on inside of me. So then how do I treat myself? As far as the doc is concerned, frankly he said to me last visit..”this is a common situation don’t make a big deal out of it”…. kind of shocked me as the “common situation” could lead to cancer if untreated… any help would be great..stay well all…

This is in response to DJ’s comment on September 18, 2012. Because I am not medically qualified, and I don’t know your medical history, I would not discourage you from seeking medical help nor deviating from anything your doctor has prescribed. I can only tell you what my situation is and how I feel about myself and my health.
My doctor, too, has diagnosed a hiatal hernia and actually sent me to a surgeon to see about the fundoplication surgery. Over the past year, I have been researching digestion; both how the traditional medical community treats it (drugs) and how the naturopathic community treats it (supplements). Even though I have been under the impression for 15+ years that my hiatal hernia is the cause of my GERD, after my year’s worth of research, I’m not so sure anymore. It might be part of my problem, but there are other factors that are contributing to my symptoms and I have found what I think are better ways for me to deal with my them.
Remember, this is just what I have learned by reading on my own. As far as I can figure it out, digestion is like a domino effect with one step triggering another. If even one of the parts is missing, the digestion process can be compromised. For example, I don’t have a gallbladder. Bile Salts is a very important part of digestion, particularly of fats. I feel that my digestion is better when I take a supplement that contains bile salts as well as digestive enzymes, HCL & pepsin.
I also supplement that with high doses of acidophilus. When I do these two things, I rarely, if ever, have any sort of heartburn – unless I really overdo it, and even then, I don’t seem to suffer. It would seem to me, that if I had too much acid and a hiatal hernia, these two things wouldn’t make a difference because I’m not getting any symptoms when I lie down, even if I’ve eaten right before bedtime.
I’ve tried it all. Acupuncture, chiropractor adjusting my hiatal hernia, Prevacid (for more than 10 years), tums, rolaids, naturopathic antacids, etc. etc. etc.
At one point, I asked my doctor if it was the fact that I didn’t have a gallbladder was contributing to my symptoms. He said emphatically, “NO”. Yet, when I read anything about digestion for people without a gallbladder, it would seem that their digestion is compromised, particularly when they eat any sort of fat. My doctor never once told me to take bile salts and never once told me that not having a gallbladder could affect my ability to digest fat. The non-digestion of fats is a common complaint of people who’ve had their gallbladder removed, according to the website and forums I’ve read.
My point is, that I don’t think there is a “one-size fits all” solution. It think it takes a huge amount of trial and error and a lot of good luck to find what works for you if you don’t go the medical route (meaning a doctor prescribing PPI’s). What happened for me, however, is that the medical route stopped working for me. However, if you think that Protonix and Zantac are the way to go for you, then maybe that’s the way you should go. It’s all about what is right for you.
Whatever the case, I wish you well and hope you find what works best.
Best regards,

is anyone afraid of the esophageal cancer thing? lets face it these drugs are bad but cancer is worse… I’m not sure if drinking aloe vera juice and taking DGL will prevent the cancer the way the protonix does…and I’m asking that question seriously as someone who has a hiatal hernia…so eating right, elevating the head of the bed, no food for 3 hours before bed are all part of my life now…but I still worry, and worry about not taking the drugs…right now I’m on 300 mg of zantac 2 times a day…and frankly once in a while I take a protonix and think maybe I should keep taking it…can someone weigh in on this? thanks.

I do not suggest this as a panacea, but something that can be quite helpful is to drink plenty of water with either lemon or lime juice. If it’s a small lime, use the juice of the entire lime. No sugar. Drink a large glass of lemon or lime water (not too cold) with meals and before you go to bed, at least 3 – 4 times a day. The body quickly processes the lemon/lime water to an alkaline.
The benefit will not be seen immediately, but over the course of several days.
Best of luck with your troubles. Please write again and let us know how you do.

Hi I really don’t know where to start. I have no gall bladder and have done well for all these years. I take Diovan for High blood pressure (which is under control) and was taking Protonix for heart burn. I stopped taking protonix about 4 weeks ago cold turkey due to the pains in my stomach at night, joint pain, numbness in left arm. 2 weeks later I went to the ER because my chest was really weird feeling and I had heart burn SO BAD.
The ER Dr. took all blood work, xray my lungs, EKG and a silent heart attack test and all came back excellent. My personal and ER doctor states that it is anxiety. I DON’T THINK SO. I awaken during the night with this tingly feeling in my chest which I sometimes feel through my back and for several months prior to all this, I coughed so much. I’m now on probiotics, fiber pills, diovan, vitamin C,D, B12 and I still feel terrible.
I’m not sleeping, the BAD heart burn is still there, watery mouth, bloated stomach. I had a colon test done and everything was fine. I’m really concerned and I really need some help. I appreciate any help. :(

I just realized I have been on Prilosec for over 10 years. I am 55, need to lose 10 pounds, and have always had problems with acid stomach and reflux. I decided to go cold turkey. I have been doing nothing but eating smaller portions and drinking LOTS OF WATER, 40 to 80 ounces a day, which I should do, anyway. I eat at least 2 hours before bedtime and start drinking water to keep the acid down. It seems to be working fine unless I eat too much, to late, or fried food. My main complaint is stomach gas and burping, so now I take Simethicone in the morning and evening. I would like to try something besides Simethicone, but I am surprised at how well the H20 works.
Laurie, I will check out your book.

I am going through the same journey so many others have described. I was helped greatly by a book, The Inside Tract, by Gerard Mullin, a GI doc from Johns Hopkins who takes a holistic approach. He has many helpful suggestions. One is Marsh Mallow Root. Like Slippery Elm, it is a demulcent. I can’t say enough good things about his book! You can read parts of it on Amazon. Take a look. It changed my life and though there are bumps in the road, I am off Nexium after more than a decade.
One concern I have about baking soda is the sodium, especially since I take blood pressure medication. I have used Carafate, but rarely. It’s an older drug, not a PPI, but it coats the stomach and does help. My dr thought it would help me g off PPIs. It does have aluminum, but then so do most antacids, other than Tums. I can’t take Tums because I am allergic to corn. Getting off wheat and corn has helped me.
Check out the book. You won’t be sorry!

Hello ~ very helpful reading through this thread. I am in my mid 50s and 30 pounds overweight (and definitely apple shaped so it’s all pushing on my middle!) Right now I am on OTC Prevacid and have gone through about five two-week treatments. Last time I white knuckled off them after about four months. When I skip a day I do fine for about six hours then get clobbered.
I started the whole reflux problem when I took a Pilates class which was scheduled after work and before dinner — the ab crunches really hurt. I’ve also been told by my naturopath that I have a hiatal hernia. He has done the manual adjustments several times. They do work, but aren’t permanent. He’s also given me a lot of supplements which sometimes work and sometimes not. They include medicines with cabbage in powdered form, slippery elm, DGL, and bicarbonate of soda capsules. IT seems to be hit or miss.
I have been to the ER twice thinking I was having a heart attack. There is a history of heart problems and stroke in my family so it makes me extremely nervous when I try to go off the Prevacid and start hurting. I muddle through, do okay for a while then realize I am getting less and less sleep and having to prop myself up so awkwardly that I ache all over. And I get episodes of heartburn where I down Tums, they don’t work and I start worrying and can’t focus on anything else. When I go back on OTC Prevacid I can SLEEP and it is a huge relief.
I don’t have sore throat but when my stomach aches from the GERD or the hiatal hernia my back hurts, and I do cough. I have my gallbladder and it gets irritated sometimes. The odd thing is antacids seem to help when that side aches.
I have definitely noticed stress sets me off, too. I have a very high stress job and a somewhat chaotic home life, and off Prevacid my stomach hurts when I get in the car to drive home from work or from work to home. The transitions seem to be tough for me. I am an emotional eater so the stress makes me head for the comfort food, which makes the weight a big hassle to get rid of.
Another naturopath friend says to drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning and then do a heel drop, stand on a phone book and let my heels fall over the edge — I find my feet cramp that way but it seems to help if I stand on tiptoe and land hard on my heels on the floor instead. I haven’t tried it OFF the Prevacid yet. It is supposed to help get the hiatal hernia back down and drop my stomach so it can slide back where it belongs.
My doctor is not thrilled with PPIs and she is apparently one of the rare ones who really does recommend only very short term (two week) use.
I would love to lose weight. I think my plan may be to try to lose weight and make my life less stressful for starters…wish me luck. It’s a bit of a relief just knowing a lot of people are dealing with the same issues. I tend to think I’m the only one.

Thank you! I’m in my 30s and I’ve been on PPI’s for four years now and have been told that I should expect to be on them forever. I tried to wean myself off by going cold turkey a couple of years ago and messed up my stomach so bad that I could barely eat for months. When I came across your message a few weeks ago I decided to try it, only I took it even more gradually, going 2 days PPI 1 day Zantac for about a week and a half, then 1 day PPI 1 day Zantac for about a week and a half and now I’ve finished the first week of 1 day PPI two days Zantac.
I can hardly believe how well it’s worked so far. I’m going to do the 1 day PPI 2 days Zantac for another week or so and once I’m off the PPI’s I’m going to follow the same course with the Zantacs some days and nothing on others and I hope to be totally drug free within another month. I’m so glad I read your message!

Hello All,
It’s been a while since I’ve had some news to pass on. September 2011, I came off Prevacid and have been looking for alternative remedies ever since. I’ve been having limited success with a number of things but nothing was really good and I kept getting heartburn and couldn’t figure out why. My doctor keeps insisting it’s because I have a hiatal hernia, but I’m not convinced that is my whole problem.
This may sound crazy, but I hadn’t really thought about the fact that my digestion might be compromised because I don’t have a gallbladder which was removed 30 year ago! It wasn’t until this past weekend when I was looking in yet another store for yet another remedy that the gal asked me if I have a gallbladder. She suggested Dygestive Pro Enzymes with bile salts, HCL and pepsin amongst other enzymes. Since I started taking the enzymes with my meals, my heartburn has all but disappeared! Hallelujah! So now, I’m all about researching the web for information on digestion without a gallbladder. Because your liver is also key to good digestion (particularly if you don’t have a gallbladder), I’ve also been taking a couple of tinctures, one for liver and one that is like bile for your digestion.
Even if you do have your gallbladder, it could be giving you grief. It’s a good place to start.
This article gives a really good description of why you might have poor digestion leading to heartburn or a lot of other symptoms.
As I age, I’m starting realize that I’m not going to be able to eat like I did when I was in my 20’s. Because I was young when I had my gallbladder removed (22 yrs old), I think I was able to get away with poor eating habits until I was in my 30’s. Then I masked the symptoms for 10 years with Prevacid which in my 50’s just didn’t work anymore. At any rate, this discovery that I can “boost” my bile production by strengthening my liver and adding bile salts for digestion support is a huge breakthrough. I hope that this post helps others in their journey.
I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has had these complaints after having their gallbladder out.

Wow what a great site!! I have been wanting to get off Protonix, and now I definitely am! I will start the Probiotics and get some pepcid or zantac as a back up. I really hadn’t put together all the side effects until now…Hip pain, dizziness, headache, b12 issues, etc. I am going to get healthy no matter what it takes! thanks for all the input! it is day one of no protonix!

I am a 19 old female. I’ve been taking prilosec for a little over one year now. I was diagnosed with crohns disease after a colonoscopy/endoscopy and various blood tests. I had many small ulcers throughout my digestive system so my GI put me on Prilosec. My symptoms were almost immediately put under control, but I recently have been dealing with extreme bloating and gas each time I eat. I also feel full for a longer period of time than normal after I eat anything, especially large meals.
Someone suggested I may be dealing with low stomach acid and should try to get off of the Prilosec because high acid was really never my problem in the first place. Additionally, I have been on 40mg daily which seems kind of high since I am small (5’2 about 107 pounds). Does this sound correct to anyone? If so, what should I expect from stopping the prilosec? I have been off for about 4 days.
I have little to no appetite and today I have begun to have a burning sensation in my throat (I assume this is heartburn, I have never really had it before). Any advice? I’m hoping to finally find some relief from the constant stomach problems I’ve been dealing with! Thanks in advance!

I am a 56 year old female.Thirteen days after my second colonoscopy (and having 2 small polyps removed) I developed upper abdominal pain with no other symptoms. It continued for three days with no change. I called my doctor and he put me on Prilosec and the pain went away before the third day. He scheduled abdominal ultrasound and blood work. Blood work came back normal, ultrasound showed a small polyp in my gall bladder, as well as sludge.
He wants me to continue on the Prilosec for 3 months. I realize this sounds like a short time compared to many people who have posted on this site, but I do not wish to take any medication unless absolutely necessary. My 2 week dose ended yesterday, and although my doc is still recommending continue for 3 months, I did not take it today and waiting to see how things will go.
I am trying to eat foods that are alkaline for the most part and continue the use of probiotics which I had already been taking. I think the type of foods I had been eating were very acidic and caused the original problem. I had ordered Great Taste, No Pain by Sherry Brescia which is about proper food combining and leaning more heavily towards alkaline foods. There is information on the internet about alkaline/acid foods for those who don’t wish to order her information.
I am hoping this will help me avoid more stomach pain, acid reflux in the future, without having to take Prilosec or anything else of that nature. I appreciate all the information people have shared on this website. Best of luck to each of you trying to get off of Big Pharma medication!

Hi everyone, after being on Prevacid and Prilosec since 1997 and attempting several times over the past few years to quit, I think I’m finally doing it. My issue has always been general gastritis, indigestion, bloating, nausea. Every time I tried to get off these pills in the past, I would get horrible indigestion and reflux, and reflux was never my problem to begin with.
I’ve been taking Prilosec OTC for the past 3-4 years (before that it was Prevacid by prescription). I take 1 pill every morning. When I started trying to quit, I took 3/4 of a pill, and the next day 1/2 pill. By that afternoon I was doubled over in pain and had to take a whole pill. I would always go back on the Prilosec.
THIS TIME, however, instead of cutting the dosage, I started increasing the amount of time between doses. So one morning I’d take it a 8am, the next morning at 9, the next at 10, etc. So 2 weeks later, instead of 1 ever 24 hrs, it’s 1 every 36 hrs. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but after 15 years if it takes me a few months to do this, it’s worth it. I’ve had osteopenia for years (I’m in my mid-40s), and my mom has advanced osteoporosis, so I’m already genetically predisposed to have bone problems.
I’m going to try the baking soda first, well because I already have it in my fridge. I also take Pepcid Complete (antacid) if my stomach starts hurting, and that seems to help.

Welcome! This site has been a great resource for me as well. Every time I see a new post come in, I am hopeful that someone has found a cure. So, did the meds for H.Pylori make a difference? I had an endoscopy last September and they said NO H.pylori, but I doubt every report these days. The doctor did, however, diagnose me with gastritis. Still doesn’t explain the reflux.
Yes, Google-ing can be a great way to find new information. I suffer all the time with symptoms just like yours. Lump, sore throat, acid/food coming up into my throat/mouth. Food does feel like the enemy. Its also quite discouraging when I go out to a restaurant – I just know my favorite foods will destroy me for the rest of the night. I am drinking aloe juice (the good thicker brands from the health food store). I take 2 “shots” before bed. This calms everything down so I can sleep.
I too have the DGL, PROBIOTICS, PAPAYA, VITAMIN B, VITAMIN D, CALCIUM AS WELL AS TUMS, DEXILANT, PREVACID and NEXIUM. I have an entire arsenal in my cabinet. Sadly, none of it is effective. Gonna try Gaviscon next.

CMW– take the baking soda. It really works and will help you a lot. I went cold turkey off the Prilosec and got major rebounding. Horrible reflux all the time. I took a 1/2 teaspoon as needed in water and it really helps. I’ve been off Prilosec since September and am very happy.
Definitely up your Vitamin D and take the probiotics. As for aloe juice… it really depends on the brand and the percentage on whether it’s worth your money! The DGL is supposed to be great, but you have to chew it and I can’t tolerate the flavor so haven’t! I also take a supplement called Ulcetrol made by Now. It has mastic gum which is shown to heal the stomach lining, as well as the right combo of zinc/ L-Carnosine which is also is proven to heal the gut.
Getting off the Prilosec should help your body absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals better so have your levels rechecked after about six weeks or so.
Surprisingly enough, fermented foods like sour kraut were incredibly effective with reflux!! Look into the GAPS diet for info on that as well as gut-healing broths.
I know how you feel about not being able to eat anything anymore. It’ll take some time. 15 yrs on Prilosec is a long time to come back from. Just stay the course, things will turn around!

Thanks to all for this community! I am 65 years old and have been on Prilosec for 15 years. I first suffered from acid reflux when I was pregnant twenty six years ago (I coughed incessantly during my last trimester, but no-one could figure out why). After coughing and getting sore throats for ten years, I was finally diagnosed with acid reflux and got onto the medication. Now fifteen years on, I felt as if the Prilosec was making me feel ill. A recent blood test showed that I have H. pylori, low vitamin D, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. My MD prescribed two antibiotics for the H pylori, which was the final straw for me.
I decided to get off the Prilosec and consulted a “holistic” MD who was less than helpful. She had not dealt with this issue before. However, much Googling has helped me to find my way through the maze of cures. I am currently Prilosec-free (second week after 2 weeks of tapering off) and fairly miserable. I cough a great deal, have a lump in my throat, a sore throat and bouts of acid uprising.
As an ex-chef and confirmed foodie, I feel bereft. Nothing “eats” well anymore. Food seems to have become the enemy.
My question is: when should I take the $250 worth of aloe vera juice, DGL tablets, probiotics, Papaya chews, Vitamin B pills, Vitamin D pills that are sitting on my kitchen table? Does anyone have a viable plan? In my current state, none of it looks good to me. Help!

I have been on Prevacid for more than 10 yrs. Our insurance benefits changed and I needed to go off the med..{cost went from 2.00 to 75.00} I went through rebound hyper acid especially in eve. I have osteoporosis . since being off prevacid my bone pain is gone. I am taking aloe, ginger, slippery elm, –apple will stop the acid.
When real bad I take tums and 1/2 zantac lowest dose. I had to stop prevacid cold turkey–so I am using zantac only when I get real sick with not only acid –but abdominal pain and general ill state. I eat freq small amts of food and nothing after 5p. anything after 5 I pay for dearly, even if I stay up. I have experienced other sxs that I relate to prevacid and feel like the –quick fix from these drugs really hide what is really going on and cause more illness.

This entry really spoke to me. I have been researching why I think pantoprazole, I think is making me gain weight. I feel hungry – not satiated. I am 5’2 and have gained weight while being on this medicine. Despite the fact that I joined a contest and now exercise 2-3 days MORE than before I started this medicine. While I tried last month to decrease my dose, I had the rebound reflux. Thanks to the posts here, I will try again for a longer period of time to get off the medicine.

Hi All,
Thanks for all the wonderful info. It is so helpful.
Here is another resource I just found:
a New York Times article about reflux diet cookbook.
The cookbook they mention is:
“Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure” by Dr. Jamie Koufman.
Since I am so sensitive to medicines, I’m going to buy this book and see what I can learn.
All the best
SF (Suzanne)

Hi Christina & SF,
I came across what I considered to be a helpful article. Perhaps you would find it helpful as well. I found it while Googling hiatal hernia massage. Here is the link. Balanced Concepts is a website based on nutrition, but there are some very interesting articles there.
Last week, after my chiro treatment, I had an excellent week. Little if any reflux. Tried the same thing this week. The chiro made other adjustments and, not unlike you, SF, I’m not nearly as good this week. After my first treatment, as I recall, it took a day or so to see results. So, I’m going to wait a day or so to see if I improve. If I don’t I’ll go back and have him try something else. For me, I’m discovering that I often get the reflux when I’m sitting in a certain position with pressure on my back. It’s such a crazy problem to have because there really doesn’t seem to be a pattern to it — at least in my case, as would it seem with others.
Thanks for your replies. It’s great to hear what you all have been doing. Christina, I too am lucky that I typically don’t get reflux at night. I too worry about the prolonged exposure to acid in my throat/esophagus. My mother had esophageal cancer in her early 80’s. But she had had the fundoplication surgery, so who knows. Her stomach was never any good and she had a lot of other problems with ulcers, etc. I read about a scientific study that showed how taking low-dose aspirin everyday reduces mortality from cancer. Here’s a link to one of the articles:
Please keep writing. I think there is strength in numbers! Christina — I hope you get this all fixed up before your May wedding. Good luck.

I saw the best video clip from a past episode of the Today Show.
I don’t think I can post the link here but if you Google: The Today Show “Have acid reflux? Soothe it naturally” – you should be able to find it….
There is a doctor talking about natural remedies such as: Calcium (in powder, chew or liquid). He says Calcium “tightens” the Valve….
He talks about carrot juice and cabbage juice for Gastritis…Which I suffer with and of course DGL.
Check it out. It is encouraging.
-Christina V.

If you are having issues with constipation, try chia seeds in water. To start, do 1 tablespoon in a full glass of water twice a day– before breakfast and before dinner. Follow both glasses with water, especially the morning glass. This should help with constipation. At least it works for me!

Great post Sandy!
I have been dealing with reflux for almost a year now. Its interesting that you note the chiropractor. I recently began seeing a chiro for my sciatic nerve pain. He did several adjustments over the course of 2 months and they did not relieve my reflux. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even see the relationship between chiropractic adjustments and digestive function!
My reflux is constant. After every meal I can expect the lump sensation in my throat 10-15 minutes after I finish eating and continuing on for an hour or so afterwards. I am fortunate to not be disturbed in my sleep from acid rolling up into my throat. I have learned to stop eating several hours before bed and have propped the head of my bed up with small bricks.
I too am skeptical of surgery to correct the valve however, I am worried about the prolonged exposure to acid on my throat/esophagus. And, to be honest, some days are just miserable.
I would love to find real solutions. I forget what “normal” feels like.
Sorry to be “Debbie Downer”…Would love to be cured before my wedding in May!
-Christina V.

Hi Sandy, I had visceral manipulation done last week and the week before by a naturopath. I also had it done 2x in 2008 with good results. Two weeks ago when I had it done, I had a lot of burping afterwards, and did not feel much improved. Last week I felt a lot of relief, like I could breathe fully, and no longer had a “too-full” feeling. The naturopath had training in this area of physical medicine, and pulls the hiatal hernia down to where it is supposed to be. It’s a bit intense but not really painful. My main concern is how long does it last. He did tell me to stop doing sit-ups on the decline bench at the gym, that they would push the hiatal hernia up and out of position.
I would like to be able to do the visceral manipulation myself, find out what movements to avoid, and what movements or exercise might be helpful. Since my main problem is waking up at night with nausea, the naturopath recommended a bed wedge, and I ordered one online from amazon for about $30.
He also recommended taking one HCL (Bio-gest) capsule with meals. I was afraid to do it because of the acid, but it seems to help me digest the meals, so I am cautiously continuing. He said to take with meals, not before or after, so I take about 4 mouthfuls first. I don’t take it with lunch because that is a very light meal. Bio-Gest is supposed to be a mild HCL capsule.
About 5 days ago, I stopped the Zantac, and am taking Baking Soda instead, and sometimes liquid mylanta at bedtime. So far Baking Soda is the only antacid I have found that is not constipating. Does anyone have any suggestions about that?
Thanks for the posts. They are really helpful.
All best wishes,

Hello Everyone,
It is still stunning to me what the statistics say about people suffering from acid reflux — something like over 50% of the population in Canada/US according to many of the websites/papers I’ve read. Further to that, I am amazed at how little I know about my own body, how it works; how it’s supposed to work. Really, I often feel that I am at the mercy of others.
My journey to wellness continues. Christmas for me this year was a killer because I really didn’t pay close enough attention to what I was eating and drinking and experience, while not unbearable heartburn, it was noticeable. Now that I’m back into more of a routine and don’t have to deal with chocolate and Christmas goodies and booze everyday, I’m feeling better.
Before Christmas, I had gone for a number of acupuncture treatments which were helpful if not long lasting. While continuing down that path, I also continued to research. One of the more interesting papers I read was about visceral manipulation a treatment typically given by an osteopath. The long and short of it is that there is a belief that when your organs are constricted, your body doesn’t function very well. The osteopath gives them a massage and gets them moving as they should — hopefully.
While researching visceral manipulation another useful piece of information I found on a naturopathic site was a connection between frozen shoulder (right) and acid reflux. Apparently, according to this site, frozen shoulder (right) can create an imbalance with a result of heartburn/acid reflux. My niece suggested that I make an appointment with her chiropractor. I’m a big believer in chiropractic treatment as over the years, they have helped me with a number of issues. Why not acid reflux??
As luck would have it, this chiropractor was on the same page re frozen shoulder/acid reflux and is also willing to try the visceral manipulation. Not all chiropractors would do this, nor would I be willing to trust just anyone. The results thus far have been good. He’s been able to help my shoulder and also work on my hiatal hernia by massaging my diaphragm and my illeocecal valve. Honestly, since my treatment Monday, I’ve had two really good days with little or no heartburn.
But here is the most important thing that I’ve learned from this guy. The esophageal sphincter isn’t really a sphincter at all! At least not in the conventional sense. For example (sorry to get a little graphic here), we can control our anal sphincter – right?? The esophageal “sphincter” is controlled by the parasympathethic/sympathetic nervous system! Now, maybe to all of you, that isn’t a surprise, but to me, that felt like a breakthrough. Think about the terms, upset stomach, nervous stomach. Think about how you might get a tightness in your stomach when you are upset or worried and how your breath changes to shallow breathing vs nice big abdominal breaths. Anyway, this gave me a whole new appreciation for how my body (or at least my esophagus) works.
This new information has made me even more skeptical of having surgery to correct a problem that is controlled by NERVES and in my case at least, is likely mostly related to lifestyle choices. I really can’t believe that cutting the nerves to a valve that really relies on nerves to control it is a good thing for me. Rather, I want to continue down this road and see if I can’t do this through diet, exercise, stress control and some alternative (meaning alternative to main stream treatments) treatments like chiropractic massage, acupuncture, herbs.
Keep writing. I like reading what others have to say and what they have tried for treatment(s). In the end, to me it’s all valuable information.
Good luck!

I so appreciate all these posts– I don’t feel so alone with my GERD frustrations. My main issue is waking up with nausea in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep, so I end up so exhausted. Also I can go for days with a low grade nausea. Do others find that GERD makes you extremely tired? nauseated?
I am currently in a flare up and am taking Zantac, but when I try to wean myself off of it, I have another flareup. I am 67, not overweight, also have constipation issues so I don’t want to take Tums because it’s constipating for me. Any suggestions for what to take in the middle of the night? I’ll try the baking soda. What about eating anything special at bedtime?
I like the recommendations of slippery elm, baking soda, carrot juice, cabbage juice (I might try to make it in my blender). Sometimes throat lozenges help. When I’m not in a flareup, I have found that Citrucel and Guar Gum help me, as well as relieving constipation. They seem to add a layer of protection. I can’t stay on the Zantac too long because eventually it bothers my IBS (I start passing lots of gas–delightful.) It also seems to weaken my immune system.
From past upper endoscopies, I was diagnosed with gastritis and hiatal hernia. One time the report said I had a healing ulcer. I have an appointment to see a naturopath this week, who does “visceral manipulation” and has on two previous occasions put my hiatal hernia back in proper position. Or at least that is what he said he did. I actually did experience significant relief, but it doesn’t last forever.
Best wishes to all, and thanks for whatever you can share.

I am 63 years old. Took prontonix for terrible acid reflux for about a year.. then stopped because it seemed to make my fibromyalgia worse… gradually the symbols of heartburn and belching outweighed the fibro problem and I went back to the protonix for about a year now… I was getting hip pain (which just might be age related) but also I found it was controlling my lifelong IBS (diarrhea) almost bordering on constipation. However, after I would eat my insides would feel like they were shaking… like the IBS wanted to kick in but the protonix prevented this… this is of course my non medical observation. This was a terrible feeling and happened every day.
I stopped taking the protonix 4 days ago and now am not sure what to do. I have some burping, this morning needed the tums for the reflux, but the biggest concern now is terrible gas pains in the lower abdomen. Bowel movements are more frequent and I am pretty sure the IBS is on it’s way. I only took 40 mg once a day and don’t know which of the two problems I should try to live with… any suggestions? Has any one else experienced the shaking feeling while on it or the sharp gas pains when stopping it? Thanks and good luck to you all.

Try juiced cabbage. Once when I over-cured myself one night with way too many astringent herbs my stomach decided to leave me and caused a somewhat very uncivil war on its way out my esophagus. I think my stomach was throwing acid grenades in an effort to blast it’s way out. Anyway somebody showed up and read from some book of natural cures that cabbage juice calms the hiatal hernia and so I tried it and almost like some fairytale miracle it WORKED. Good luck.

Re: the question about esophageal surgery – I have esophageal motility problems and gastroenterologists feel that surgery to repair the hernia could make swallowing more difficult.

I have to say I am impressed and jealous! I do plan on trying the Slippery Elm as SandrJ mentioned above. I got back on the Prevacid and RIGHT back off after about 3 weeks. Talk about NO HELP and WORSE SYMPTOMS. What was I thinking? I know we all speak about natural remedies and getting off acid suppressors, but, does anyone ever consider getting the Esophyx surgery? Remember that reflux is an anatomical defect where the valve to the stomach does not close properly. As long as that is the case, reflux will continue to occur no matter what you eat/drink/take.
Tomorrow I’m seeing a chiropractor for sciatic nerve pain down my right back/buttocks/hamstring and down my leg. Perhaps he can also tell me if adjustments can get my body back aligned and perhaps this may help my reflux. Lately I have been chewing gum after meals and I have had some relief.
Love these posts! Keep em comin’
-Christina V.

Yes. The shortness of breath is asthma induced. Did you win the battle?

I love reading these comments too… it’s been a while since I first posted and I am so glad to be off the Prilosec with little discomfort! I am rarely taking the baking soda anymore (Christina- the most I’ve taken is 1/2 teaspoon 2x’s a day). I only take it as needed which has been less than once a day. No Tums or any other antacids!
I (very) loosely follow the GAPS diet by making the gut healing bone broths and I am trying to embrace fermented foods but I’m not a big fan! HOWEVER, I did eat a small amount of sauerkraut and had absolutely no acid reflux during a time of the month that I am normally riddled with horrendous reflux!
Still gluten free and now know that I have to be. The smallest amount of gluten brings up a myriad of symptoms that just don’t make it worthwhile (despite my love of all things gluten– pasta, bread, cupcakes, crackers…. the gluten free replacements just don’t suffice).
I made it through my first gluten free Thanksgiving and while I really missed the stuffing, gravy and pies, I felt far less over-stuffed than everyone else!
I still struggle with dairy, although less than the average person b/c the only dairy I really eat is cheese and that’s very occasional. I’ve done very well NOT getting sour cream or cheese on my Mexican salads, etc! We don’t drink cow’s milk, only coconut or hemp milk. And I don’t really eat yogurt (mostly in smoothies but I’ve cut that out too). But, every once in a while, I hanker for a hunk of cheese, or a taste of my husband or son’s ice cream, or there’s a really tasty gluten free cookie or cupcake to try!!
As Oscar Wilde once said, “I can resist everything but temptation.”

How do you spell relief??? S-L-I-P-P-E-R-Y E-L-M. At least for me. Seriously, this is like a miracle, I feel like a new person! I take four capsules three times per day between meals with warm water. I noticed relief after only a couple of days. I even had a blow-out at a retirement party this week where I had a bit too much wine. I thought for sure that I would suffer the next day. I wouldn’t want to push it, but being able to have a bit of wine and some yummy hor d’oeuvres was a treat!
I continue to visit my acupuncturist and have been reading about visceral manipulation which I intend to seek out in the new year. I’m hoping that it will help with my hiatal hernia as the research indicates.
Wishing you all good tummies throughout the Christmas season.

I am in my 6th week of the GAPS Diet.
No Omeprazole!!! I am taking Probiotics, HCL w pepsin and Stomach Comfort (in case I get heartburn) prescribed by my Naturopath who has been specifically trained in GAPS.
I am quite comfortable for the most part but I am prescribed to increase the probiotics so that I can get to a therapeutic dose and stay for a period of time. The probiotics do cause some discomfort as in “die off” when I increase the amount temporarily but then eases back to comfortable tummy.
All the fermented foods, healthy fats, probiotics, enzymes, and this diet is healing my stomach as well as the valve so that the acid stays where it belongs!
I feel so very good that I am not taking the drugs. If we listen to our bodies, we know something really isn’t right and the prescriptions don’t heal us they mask an underlying problem that our medical industry doesn’t know how to fix or repair.
I recommend contacting a Naturopathic or Homeopathic Dr. that is trained in GAPS and ask if they can help you get off the prescriptions.

The comments by fellow sufferers of GERD are very helpful. I have a hiatal hernia and have taken Prilosec/Omeprazole for over 10 years. One lifestyle change I made several months ago is to sleep at night in a recliner chair instead of a bed. My chair keeps me in a semi-reclining position, doesn’t allow me to lie flat, keeping any acid down in my stomach, not in my esophagus. I plan to try the tapering method on Omeprazole to see if I can live more healthfully without this drug. I have been trying to gain weight for years unsuccessfully, because I don’t have enough acid in my stomach to process my food!

What sort of symptoms are you having?
I was having bad side effects from Dexilant and Prevacid. The food you eat just sits in your belly for a long time and you get heartburn!
Right now I am back on medication – this time on Prevacid – Not too bad side effects, and its affordable.
A friend of mine at work is also suffering with GERD and we are both actively investigating a new procedure recently approved by the FDA called Esophyx.

I went to the emergency room a month ago for acid reflux. They gave me Protonix. I have had really bad side effects from it so I went off cold turkey. All the symptoms came back with a vengeance. I took Zantac 150 but that was just as bad so went back on the Protonix with these nasty side effects. It only lasts half as long as before so now I am up to 40mg a day instead of 20. Will this vicious cycle ever end? Thanks all for sharing your stories. I had called my GI doc and he said he has never heard of these side effects… tingling in the arms, shaking, dry mouth. Shame on them for doing this to so many people.

I have similar symptoms and characteristics to you; have you found out it is primarily a thyroid problem ?

Get off the Omeprazole if you can…You are doing the right thing by modifying your diet. Probiotics are good. I take them at bedtime so they can “do their thing” while I sleep. They are also beneficial in producing good b.m.’s in the morning – which for me, makes for a good day! My doc had me on Dexilant and wanted me to go 2 x’s a day as well! That was when I knew that I had to make a change and get off of them altogether.
I had an endoscopy and all they told me was that I had gastritis! I could never afford to have a SECOND endoscopy, let alone take the Dexilant 2 times a day! I would go broke! Hell, I’m already broke paying back all these bills for my 1 visit!
My father was on Dexilant for years and said he read there were neurological side effects and got off of them promptly. He said he has not had an acid incident since then. I’m glad he got off of them – he is on depression meds and does not need any assistance getting back to depression and anxiety!
Good luck and please keep us all posted.
Christina V.

I too am concerned about the health effects of discontinuing Omeprazole. 2xday for me for several years. I was also told that I was at risk of developing Barrett’s. I was even biopsied for it! I didn’t have it though. My Dr. wanted me on 2xday but I argued to try it 1xday. He made me come back in for another endoscopy and then said “you still need 2xday”
I recently saw a Naturopath who put me on the GAPS Diet to “heal” my gut. I am 2 weeks into it and am uncomfortable but am looking forward to feeling better. I am taking Probiotics, HCL w pepsin and Stomach Comfort. I am also prescribed foods to “eat” that are ferments that (I believe) work on repopulating the good bacteria in the gut.
I just bought ginger today and will use it in a tea.
I have so appreciated reading all your comments. It is very curious about this epidemic.

How did your mother do on taking her off the ant-acids? My father who is 92 is having problems with Zantac. He gets very confused and can end up falling because of dizziness too. I’m going to try Tums and DGL and see how that works. But he seems to have rebound when I take him totally off of Zantac. Any insight you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

My father is having trouble getting off of OTC Zantac. He is 92 years old and started taking Zantac in June 2011. My sister thought he was having reflux, because he wasn’t eating well. Sometimes he coughs and sneezes when he eats. When he tries to go off Zantac, he starts burping and feeling very sick to his stomach. We cut down the Zantac to a third dose, once every other day, but he can’t seem to get off that last bit. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

I have been taking a similar dose of Prevacid for years. It recently stopped working and now I am on a 60 MG dose of Dexilant once a day. In addition, I chew two Pepcid Complete tablets before bed. This seems to take care of most symptoms, but I still wake up occasionally around 3 AM or so with reflux, so I have recently added slippery elm and licorice tablets.
By the way, coughing and sore throat are classic symptoms of reflux – the acid makes your throat sore and causes the cough.

Hi my name is Lee, I’ve been on Nexium 40 10 years now. I try to go 1 day without it and the heartburn is severe! I lift weights and am physically fit, and am worried about the bone loss, I am 31 and will try my best to get off the meds, but the thought is scary, they become a part of your life. I was diagnosed with H-pylori at age 20, and took the prev-pack.
I have had scopings done recently and my stomach looks healthy. I was told it could be genetic? Anyways y’all have given me hope and some wonderful tips, so I am going to try to be Nexium free Tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes! Thanks and good luck to all..

Hi Christina,
When I say acid reflux, I mean, GERD, acid reflux, heartburn — it goes by so many different names but in the end, they should simply call it MISERY!
My main symptom is heartburn which is, to me, a burning sensation in the area of my breastbone. I too have experienced reflux up into my throat, however, that really only happens to me if I drink too much wine or eat a ridiculous amount of food and then drink something to wash it down. My heartburn seems to occur quite soon after I eat anything. Luckily for me, it seems to go away fairly quickly — like say, within a 1/2 an hour. If it doesn’t, I have a cup of ginger tea and that seems to quell the symptoms.
Your comment about feeling the symptoms the next day from something you eat the night before, I’m finding, is a complaint that I hear more and more. It makes it really hard to pinpoint any single food or event that triggers the agony.
I laughed about your comment re eating pizza. When I went for my 24 PH test, I chose to have pizza and red wine for dinner since it is probably the absolutely worst meal for me in terms of GERD. I thought that the docs might was well see just how bad it can be; and boy… did I show them!!!
In terms of treatment, let me say again that acupuncture along with some quite significant changes in eating habits is really working for me. I would encourage anyone to at least try acupuncture. And when I say acupuncture I mean the kind where they are treating your whole body. But you have to work with them by making some lifestyle changes in terms of eating, booze, relaxation, etc. (Christina, sadly, no cheese pizza wolfing) :-)
Currently, I’ve been taking treatments 2 x per week. Fingers crossed that I will start on 1 day per week and then hopefully will go fewer times per month. I continue to watch what I eat, when I eat, how much I eat. I chew chew chew my food and as far as wine goes, in the past 6 weeks, I’ve had 1/2 a very small glass. My acupuncturist assures me that other people she has helped eventually can have small amounts of the “forbidden” foods!
A nutritionist fellow I know told me about a book he thinks is the absolute best book he has read on digestion and eating. It’s called Eating Alive by Dr. John Matsen.
Right now, I’m reading WHEATBELLY. I’m only a few pages in, but the guy has researched wheat to death and is reporting some very disturbing facts about our food chain.
Love the exchange of comments and ideas from everyone.

thanks so much, SandrJ, It makes me feel like there’s hope. Yes I do try to do everything right… no alcohol (for many years) I have the head of my bed elevated, I don’t eat for 3 hours before going to bed, I avoid dairy, meat and gluten… not sure what else I can do… oh yes I’m not over weight. I’m afraid of Barretts. My doc said I was at risk for it… that’s how he got me to get on the protonix in the first place.
Right now I’m doing protonix/zantac every other day, along with dyglycerized licorice, and aloe vera juice. I’d love to ditch the protonix, as now I have osteopenia only after 1 year on protonix… thanks again… and we’ll all just have to carry on.

The thing I think that surprises me the most about this site is the number of people with this problem.
Although this may not be the case for everyone, I must say that acupuncture is really helping me. I have been off of Prevacid since September 14th. Since September 20th, I have been taking acupuncture treatments twice a week with the exception of one week in October where I was away and last week when my acupuncturist was away. For the last two weeks, although I have had some heartburn, I have not had to take so much as a TUMS. It comes shortly after I eat anything, but usually goes away in 1/2 hour. If it doesn’t I drink some ginger tea and that seems to do the trick.
This morning, I had another acupuncture treatment. Typically, I would have had an episode after eating my lunch, but alas — NO HEARTBURN!! If feel like a miracle.
Remember, my acupuncture treatments have been supplemented by a drastic change in lifestyle. I eat much smaller meals (I use a side plate), thoroughly chew my food and take digestive enzymes. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol, a morsel of chocolate or a sniff of a hamburger for the past month.
DJ, this is a comment for you. I am not medically qualified nor would I ever suggest to you what to do. I only know what is right for me at this point in my journey with this problem. I think that each person’s journey is different based on their lifestyle and their life circumstances. What I would say to you is that there are all kinds of options out there for people with GERD to try; not the least of which is a drastic change in lifestyle.
Being on Prevacid did help me — it helped me continue the lifestyle that was giving me the trouble in the first place. I ate and drank whatever I wanted. When I had to start doubling up on the meds, I knew it was time for me to make some serious changes in my lifestyle. I too have a hiatal hernia. What I have found out is that if I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t have any night time issues with GERD. What I had to do, was to bite the bullet and get off the meds so that I could tell what was really happening with my body and what I could do with regard to lifestyle changes to help myself.
This doesn’t mean that I’m fixed or that I will never have to go back on meds again at some point. The threat of surgery was enough to make me sit up and take notice.
For me, I think my GERD comes from me having a stressful life, food is my drug and I’m overweight. But who knows. My cousin suffers from GERD and she’s a little skinny thing, eats well and is retired.
DJ, your situation may not be like mine at all. You may be doing everything right. Just some thoughts on my part. Whatever the case, I hope you find something that works for you.

which is worse Protonix long term side effects or potential esophageal cancer? I don’t know, I have a hiatal hernia and fear both. I don’t know what to do… can someone give a comment??

I have been on Prevacid first, and then Prilosec for over 6 years.
Went for my twice yearly physical 10 days ago and my family doctor suggested that I get off these meds asap for the obvious reasons. Well I decided that I would try, but did not hold out for much hope in doing so seeing that I had tried to get off of them in the past with zero success.
This time I decided to go cold turkey (with the meds, not with natural remedies and Tums) and tough it out no matter how bad it got. By the 4th day I thought I might go insane with how bad my stomach was burning and churning. I was popping Tums with little relief and could barely function at work or at home, I didn’t know what to do other than to start taking the meds again when an idea came to me.
That night as I put my 12 yr old daughter to bed I asked her to say a prayer for daddy, that God might intervene on my behalf and help me. The next day I turned a corner, every day after that has been a little better than the day before.
It’s day 10 today and I haven’t even had to take anything so far (it’s 7:21PM), no Tums, no baking soda, no ginger, no nothing… just blessed relief so far!
I know in this modern world they say there is no God, but I’m calling BS on that, I know there is.
I am far from a perfect person, but I do believe that my daughter’s prayer for my condition somehow made it thru that night.

(see previous posts for backstory)
I am losing some of my optimism (along with some of my esophageal cells). 5 weeks out from taking my last ranitidine I still have a sore throat every evening and excess “oral flatulence” as a previous poster poetically put it. I want to try gaviscon-2 or Genaton, which have alginic acid and are supposed to be more effective (my thought is that if I can get my throat to heal, then the excess gas won’t be a big deal), but I cant find it anywhere. Have tried all the pharmacies around here, and amazon. Does anyone know where you can buy this stuff?

When you say “acid reflux events” what do you mean?
I don’t believe I will ever go the surgery route – I read on some blog that the surgery itself has side effects and is not 100% effective.
I do still use Tums daily – but I don’t experience “heartburn” as much as I experience the rising in my throat and the feeling that something is there. I still don’t know if that is the result of irritation or the esophagus actually “closing” up. Sunday I had acid all up my throat and even felt acid in my stomach all day… Night before I wolfed three slices of cheese pizza. Funny how night before food affects the day after…
I am completely off all meds. Was on 1 Dexilant to start and switched to 1 Prevacid daily. Meds were horrible. No help. Only made me feel worse.
My frustration is that after having endoscopy and “stretching” AND changing my diet, I have little relief… Again, mostly the throat/esophagus discomfort. My next step is a “juice” fast like in the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”… Just have to get my hands on a rather expensive juicer.
Thanks for posting!

UPDATE…First, I’ve really enjoyed all of the comments on this site. There is comfort in hearing some success stories and keeps me on track. I started following this blog in December of last year. I had a half hearted attempt to get off the Prevacid, but it wasn’t until surgery was recommended to me by my GP that I got really serious about getting off the meds.
In order to see if one is eligible for the fundoplication surgery, you have to take a motility and a 24-hour PH test. In order to do these tests, you have to be off any PPI’s. So, after being on Prevacid for 11+ years, I had to stop for the tests. For a number of reasons, I wasn’t able to taper off the meds as suggested. Rather, I quit them cold turkey 5 days before the tests.
The surgeon said that I was a good candidate for the surgery. The “normal” number of acid reflux events in a 24 hour period is 50 — I was at 220, so 4 x normal.
Just one thing…fundoplication surgery is very invasive and any surgery presents risks. I feel that I can’t agree to the surgery without exhausting every other treatment there is first.
Surprisingly, quitting the meds wasn’t quite as bad as I had suspected and TUMS worked to get me through the worst of it. That was September 14th and I haven’t had a Prevacid or a Zantac since that date. Prior to that, I was taking a minimum 30mg of Prevacid a day and often times a Zantac or a partial Prevacid (I would open the capsule and dump 1/2 of the capsule so I wasn’t taking a whole Prevacid).
During the past year, before I even went to the surgeon, I have been scouring the Internet looking for alternatives to the surgery. Staying on meds for the rest of my life doesn’t seem like a very good option. Even (seemingly) respected members of the medical community are saying to get off the PPI’s. (Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Andrew Weil and others)
After only a few weeks being off the meds, as much as I hate to admit it, I have come to the conclusion that in spite of having a hiatal hernia, which no doubt complicates the matter, the majority of my problem is lifestyle related. Eating too fast, drinking too much wine, eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and carting around an extra 25 or so pounds not to mention a stressful lifestyle. It is likely also food related in so much as I am lactose intolerant for sure and have been trying to cut down (eliminate gluten). Everything that the literature points out.
According to research, one alternative treatment which seems to hold a good deal of promise is acupuncture. The day I saw the surgeon, I also made an appointment to see an acupuncturist. Within the first 4 treatments, coupled with changes in eating habits, I started to see a difference. I’m eating smaller amounts more slowly. I’m taking the right digestive enzyme for someone without a gall bladder (if you don’t have a gall bladder, the digestive enzyme you take has to have BILE Salts as an ingredient) Another suggestion was to take a magnesium citrate supplement, which I am also taking. For the last week now, I haven’t taken so much as a TUMS. I have been drinking ginger tea when I feel the acid start to come up.
One more thing which I think has been a big help is that a couple of times a day, I have been massaging my ileocecal valve. That’s the valve on the “bottom” end of the stomach which connects to your small intestine. I had lots of gas, a sign of food remaining in the stomach for too long. Since I have been giving myself that massage, I have had less gas and fewer episodes of heartburn. What made me pay attention was a friend mentioned that a chiropractor adjusted her ileocecal valve over 20 years ago when she was having trouble with her digestion. Just google ilocecal valve if you want to know more.
The blogs on the Internet, and particularly this one, have been very helpful in this journey to wellness that I find myself on. This experience is helping me get honest with myself about my health and my lifestyle. Food is my drug and I believe that my body is telling me that isn’t the best idea. At this point, I feel that I am still finding my way. I’m not for one minute saying that I am “cured”. That road will no doubt have many twists and turns and likely some steep hills to climb.
Thanks to everyone for their comments. I wish everyone success in their journey.

I have been on Protonix for about the same amount of time and also experience knee pain. I’ve never linked it but have noticed it has been better since I’ve been tapering off meds.

Was nice to see your post! Yes, get off dairy (try soy milk) and yep, I take the digestive enzymes too. I think this will really be beneficial for you if you enjoy having healthy bm’s every morning. Since my last post, I have stopped birth control pills (been off for about a week now) and am taking multivitamin, vitamin B, and pro-biotics. Still have the “lump” sensation and some pain in my chest after eating. I can feel the pain rising in my chest once my food settles. I don’t have the “heartburn” classic symptoms anymore. Seems like my symptoms are “changing” and lately its just been discomfort in my throat – not so much acidic stomach feelings.
I’m really glad to be off all PPI’s. They were really slowing digestion, and my food just SAT like a LUMP in my stomach so long that I did have horrible heartburn symptoms. And YEP Tums like candy! The girl I work with laughs every time she hears me open the bottle! Anyway, I can now go to bed 1-2 hours after eating and I don’t wake up! Overnight I am “normal” no pain or discomfort. But, I have my cereal and soy milk in the a.m. and when my stomach starts digesting UP comes the acid and lump/pain starts in my throat.
I am going to try some of your ideas/remedies. What have you discovered is helpful for the “globus” sensation in the throat? What is the baking soda method?
Now if only there were a remedy for all the MEDICAL bills that are starting to pile up!

I have had digestive issues for a very long time too. Over the years, I’ve been told I have a nervous stomach, colitis, IBS, possible hiatal hernia, dynamic colonic inertia, possible Celiac’s (then no, you don’t fit the profile– even though I do!)!
I’ve been on Zantac, Tagamet, Tums (like candy), Pepcid, and then Prilosec. Also Miralax, psyllium husk, Milk of Magnesia, stool softeners.
As far as the latter remedies, I hated Miralax and the cramping it caused. Of course, MOM is gross, stool softeners can be addictive, and psyllium husk was making me quite ill, and it’s drying after long term use. I switched to Chia seeds and have great success with elimination and no pain or cramping issues! And it tastes better. One tablespoon in the morning in a glass of water with plenty hydration through the day!
I started reading about the side effects of long term Prilosec and knew I didn’t want to go down that road. Like Christina just above me here, I have the lumpy feeling in my throat, chest pressure, pain, and ridiculous heartburn (actually have chronic hip pain from always having to lay on my left side!) and excessive oral flatulence. I told my ob/gyn years ago that my heartburn worsens from ovulation through my period. She told me she never heard that before.
Flash forward to last spring and my GI told me that digestion, especially acid production is completely tied in to hormones and that a huge percentage of his clientele are women that are perimenopausal and menopausal.
As of last week, I’d been on the Prilosec since April. I also take supplements to aid my digestion, but I think that the Prilosec renders the supplements useless b/c it neutralizes all digestive enzymes, not just acid! I decided enough was enough but was very worried about the rebounding (I have missed taking Prilosec every once in a while and the heartburn comes back with a vengeance very quickly). Then I found this site and read about the baking soda remedy (b/c I don’t want to start on Tums again either).
I stopped last week and the heartburn came back viciously within a day. I tried the baking soda and it worked immediately! Sweet relief! I am taking 1/2 teaspoon two to three times a day as needed and rolling with it. Besides that, I am feeling much better in my digestive system. I was getting a lot of random stomach/intestinal pangs and pains, mostly in the middle of the night– unable to sleep well. Is that the Prilosec?!
I am gluten free since May and that, too has really helped– amazing relief, especially with the burping! Next I will go dairy free. The supplements I take are: Vitamin D, glutamine, l-carnosine/zinc, digestive enzymes, ashwaganda, an alkalizing combo that includes dgl (which I can’t stand the taste of so I am glad to find a capsule I don’t have to chew) and slippery elm, theanine, mastic gum and lots of ginger through the day.
I have cut out virtually all caffeine, except for the occasional chocolate fix. I don’t even drink teas anymore, just hot water with smashed hunk of ginger. I hope the rebounding ends soon.
I highly recommend Dr. Mark Hyman for information regarding digestive issues, especially if they are autoimmune related. He has a great article about digestion and getting off PPI’s and which supplements to take (majority of what I do comes from his suggestions). He writes for the huffington post, but he’s also got his own site, he’s on facebook and twitter, so you can google him and finds lots of info.

Hi everyone (sorry post is so long)
Been reading the comments on this blog site and I am super relieved to see/read that I am not alone. Here’s my story: Back in July 2011, I developed pains in my stomach. I swore I had an ulcer. My symptoms changed into lump/pressure in my throat, pain in my chest and really nothing else. Went to the Internal medicine doc. She prescribed Omeprazole. No relief. Then she gave me samples of Dexilant-a very expensive newer PPI. About 60% relief. Then I went to the GI doc. Had an endoscopy and esophageal “stretching” They told me I had gastritis. Now I have been on Nexium. Still wake up and the discomfort starts as soon as I put food in my stomach. Cut out dairy and juice (of course).
I have breakfast (egg whites and yogurt) then lump builds up (after eating) in the throat gradually gets worse until lunch time. After lunch its heartburn and throat pain. I have now added plant based enzymes and vitamin B12. I still have to take Tums mid afternoon. So, I take Nexium early, plant based enzyme with lunch and dinner, Tums in the afternoon and aloe juice at night before bed. Next step is to get off of Nexium and take a serious probiotic, the plant based enzyme and the vitamin b12.
Spoke to a man at the health food store and he said that his father had been on a PPI for YEARS and had stomach issues and had to have surgery! I must get off of these drugs asap. They really don’t help me as a matter of fact – I have to wait 4-5 hrs before I can go to bed since I am waiting for my SLOW MOVING food to get out of my stomach! OH, and lets not forget the terrible NIGHTS… Some nights if I don’t wait long enough to get to bed, I get that “silent reflux” and my eyes pop wide open.
GRRR! Now this “disease” is interfering with my PRECIOUS sleep!
What was once a pleasure (eating) is now a curse! Never had to think so much about eating! Its like a new form of EATING DISORDER!
I want someone to tell me they are HEALED from acid reflux! Give me some hope!

Hi Ginna,
Thanks for your comments. Can you elaborate more on the “non-invasive” surgery option?
I’ve also been doing quite a bit of research on alternative therapies. There are lots of YouTube videos with some helpful suggestions. Here are just some of them: digestive yoga, massage to help repair a hiatal hernia, acupuncture. I do think, however, that, at least in my case, is a combination of hiatal hernia with lifestyle. I find that when I’m sitting down that my acid reflux is worse. My “spare tire” seems to be pushing up on my diaphragm.
At any rate, tomorrow I head in for the motility/ph tests.
Thanks to everyone for their comments.

How are you doing off nexium?

Reply to Sandra.. in my opinion (and I am not a medical person), your doctor has given you an awfully fast taper. Mine said I could get through in 2 months, and instead it has taken me more like 7… and I am still having some symptoms. I don’t think the doctors realize how tough the rebound is to recover from. Just my thoughts, be happy to hear from others.

Thank all of you for the comments you shared on your experiences with taking acid reducing drugs. I have been on Protonix for over 4 years and about a year ago I started reading articles on the long term effects of this drug. I have discussed this with several of my physicians but no one seemed alarmed. Recently a new GI Dr. advised me how to withdraw from my daily dose of 40mg. – He suggested I should take Protonix for 4 days in the morning and take 20 mg. Pepcid Complete in the evening. On day 5 only take Pepcid Complete and continue for 2 weeks with this dose (2 chewable tablets).
Of course the first two days off Protonix I was fine, but have really been miserable with Acid Reflux symptoms since. I have a few more days to go on Pepcid. I appreciate all the comments and suggestions on this site and will start to choose my diet more carefully. I have a good publication on GERD from the Mayo Clinic to refer to and will continue to search on the web for more ideas of diets, etc Any suggestions for other sites would be great.
Can someone comment on taking B12 – why it is a consideration? and is a multivitamin like Centrum ok?

Sharon, the hiatal hernia is probably what is causing your heartburn.
That’s what my problem is too. I hate the medicine, but I’m not willing to put up with the alternative, without it. I’m considering surgery, and I understand that there’s one that is non-invasive. However, it’s relatively new, so not necessarily paid for by insurance. I’m giving it a year, for the procedure to become more familiar to the insurance company.

Thank you so much for your pep talk on getting off Prilosec. I have been off for about a week now and am trying different approaches. HCL, Apple Cider Vinegar, Licorice chewable tablets and a few times had to try Pepcid. Last night was the worst so far. Horrible acid combined with heartburn so bad I felt like I could have a heart attack. Ended up chewing 4 Tums which allowed me to finally pass out about 1:00 am.
A little better today but eating very light (two scrambled eggs is all so far). I am going to the store soon and will get some Gaviscon to see if this will help me get through what I hope is only a temporary re-bound. Sure hate how these meds are making us so dependent on them to feel good. I have been on Prilosec OTC for probably 8 years or so, but during that time I ended up with an esophageal ring that had to be treated during an endoscopy. At that time they also discovered I had Hiatal Hernia. That was about 2 and 1/2 years ago so… did the Prilosec
cause them???? What would the pharmacy companies say? Hm! Good luck to you and everyone else on this helpful site.

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