I want to discuss how the medical industry is treating acid reflux wrongly. When someone goes to the doctor or a medical professional with symptoms based around acid reflux for things like heartburn for example.
In these cases doctors will often prescribe anti acid tablets which are used to lower the acidity of the stomach. Usually lowering the acidity can help with typical acid reflux symptoms but it usually doesn’t actually fix the root cause.
When someone is refluxing acid the acid refluxes up and into the esophagus and even into the throat for certain people (LPR).
When someone takes these anti acid tablets this lowers the acidity of the stomach and thus makes this stomach mixture that refluxed up much less acidic and therefore much less likely to cause any symptoms or problems.
The thing with this is that people are often still refluxing though these kinds of tablets are simply just masking the symptoms. The thing I want to point out here is that the reflux is still occuring though the symptoms will have stopped or lessened. Point being is that the problem really hasn’t been fixed but instead is being simply masked.
Often when doctors know you have acid reflux they don’t consider what actually causes it in the first place. Like as you get older your stomach produces less acid and when the stomach has less acid the stomach struggles to break down the food as well and this sometimes means more movement from the stomach due to the lack of acid to help with the digestion.
This process increases the likelihood of acid reflux and importantly the valve above the stomach known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is more prone to opening which can greatly increase acid reflux symptoms.
The whole point of this is that doctors often assume that you have too much acid which causes reflux but that sometimes isn’t the case. It can be often related to the LES opening up more than it should which allows the acid to reflux up into the esophagus as an example. There are multiple potential causes for this happening like the low acid levels in the stomach or even certain vitamin deficiencies causing muscle problems to name a couple.
You may be thinking that well what’s the problem with taking these kinds of tablets of medicine? Well admittedly taking these medicines short term may not have a massive effect but for people taking them longer term it can be massively negatively affecting their health.
Just understand that the stomach is meant to be highly acidic to break down foods. When you start taking these antacids it can make digestion more difficult and can lead to vitamin and mineral definices because of the food not being digested and absorbed correctly due to the lower levels of acidity.
Also certain kinds of the tablets tend to have a worse effect on long term health, these kinds of tablets are usually taken by people with more serious acid reflux known as GERD – the tablets are called PPIs which is short for proton pump inhibitors.
Following this it’s clear to question long term use of these kinds of tablets like PPIs. How doctors are dealing with this problem needs to be considered more before just giving them these kinds of tablets to “solve” the problem.
How can things be changed? Well an obvious observation can be simply things like more questions to why the problem could be happening with things like diet and lifestyle.
As an example If the person is drinking a lot of alcohol or eating a lot of spicy food simply lowering these drinks/foods could be the best way to treat the problem in the first place. Medical professionals should be asking these kinds of questions first before simply handing out these kinds of tablets willingly with sometimes little to no awareness as to what actually could be causing the problem in the first place.
Author: David Gray
David is an expert in acid reflux and is a medical journalist where he documents his experiences and advice at WipeoutReflux.com.