This is the television mantra designed to scare the bejesus out of you. It will send many folks scurrying to their doctor for a lifetime of drugs which ignore the cause of the symptoms and result in all kinds of side effects, including the symptoms they are supposed to help.
The greatest majority (90%) of acid reflux cases are caused by either inadequate stomach acid and enzyme production or weakness of the hiatal spincter, or both. Very rarely does a person actually overproduce stomach acids.
When too little acids or enzymes are produced by the body, food sits undigested in the stomach and intestines. This semi-digested food ferments, producing noxious acids and gases which cause bloating, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and esophageal reflux leaving you feeling nauseated, fatigued, and afraid to eat without Rolaids, Tums or Pepcid tablets handy.
Too often, patients are prescribed medications which in the short term can make them feel a little bit better, but in the long run may likely cause many more problems than they actually solve. The irony is that these over the counter and prescription drugs (Tagament, Prilosec, Nexium or Zantac), prescribed for acid reflux and chronic heartburn actually perpetuate the problem by diluting, neutralizing, or even preventing proper acid production which is desperately necessary to digestion. Prolonged use of such medications allows for the progression of the disease process and may lead to a more serious condition known as Leaky Gut Syndrome, not to mention osteoporosis.
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which damaged intestinal walls allow large particles of undigested foods and toxins to pass through. These undigested food particles and toxins are viewed as the enemy by the body’s immune system, and the body moves into attack mode. The result is inflammation which can progress to and activate autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, lupus, chronic eczema, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chron’s disease, irritable bowel disease, diverticulitis, and even sets the body up for the creation of allergies to more foods.
There is no single cause of leaky gut syndrome or any of the diseases listed, but instead, a combination of triggers have been linked to all of them. Antibiotics, caffeine, alcohol, food allergens (dairy, sugar and white flour which create inflammation within the entire body being the biggest offenders), poor diet, parasites, and yeast and bacteria overgrowth have been fingered as the culprits. I would say the most common causes that I have seen among my patients in the past 20+ years are (1) food allergens, (2) poor diet & over consumption of sugar, and (3) episodic antibiotic use. The truth is, people who battle chronic heartburn and reflux get clues from their body everyday regarding their diet. If a certain food or food group gives you terrible gas, you either lack the enzymes to digest it properly or you have a sensitivity or allergy to it.
A rotation diet will help to sort out the problematic foods. Then we can work on healing your digestive tract by combining foods more properly, eliminating those food allergens and harmful sugars and additives, and adding back the necessary digestive enzymes, acids and helpful bacteria (probiotics) and vitamins & minerals which aid in the digestion process. Chiropractic and acupuncture may also be helpful to combat the symptoms until correction (through good and balanced nutrition) of the original problem can occur.
If you want to get off the merry-go-round of ‘acid reflux’ drugs and are looking for the answer to correcting the cause of your heartburn and reflux, call Dr. Hoch for a consultation today:(239) 243-8735.