Night Time Acid Reflux: 3 Steps To Treat It Naturally Without Medication
In the following article, Jerry Donnelly of the Men's Osteoporosis Support Group explains how he was able to treat his night time acid reflux without medication. Says Jerry:
I had been on Omeprazole for acid reflux for a couple of years when I was told to increase the dose, which I didn't want to do. I did quite a bit of research and decided I didn't want to be taking this medication if I could figure out how to stop using it.
Since about February 2008, I have been able to stop the Omeprazole and stop the acid reflux almost completely.
I make no claims for my methods that they might work for others, and anyone hoping to do the same should consult their medical provider regarding stopping the PPIs. (PPIs are proton pump inhibitors-which are medications used to treat night time acid reflux.)
In his own words, here is Jerry's first-person story.
1. Reading Up On Night Time Acid Reflux
I bought several books with titles directed toward stopping acid reflux. These suggested methods ranging from going on the Atkins diet to checking for yeast.
After reading these I concluded they would not help, but I did find some helpful information in them and in several searches on the Net.
Also my reading gave me additional reason to want to stop the PPIs as I uncovered other information that wasn't too positive about them.
2. Buying A Wedge-Shaped Pillow
I bought a wedge-shaped pillow to sleep on at night. An online search will show several of these on the market.
I bought the Med Slant pillow because it folds into a square for easy movement on trips, etc, and because the reviews on it were excellent. Others might work just as well.
This helped immediately to eliminate the night-time reflux. Additionally I have found that sleeping on the left side is very important. If you view a diagram of the esophageal-stomach junction you'll see that the esophagus joins part way down the right side of the stomach.
This means that sleeping on the right side would move liquid contents of the stomach toward the esophagus. Sleeping on the left side moves the contents away from the esophagus.
3. Eliminating The Omeprazole
I stopped taking the Omeprazole because I wanted to be able to tell if my changes were effective, opting to take antacids if needed to control reflux. I gave myself two months to stop the reflux, concluding I'd go back on Omeprazole if needed at that time.
I made several diet changes which eventually led me to become a vegan, wherein I eat no animal products. I also try to reduce the portion size and I don't eat spicy foods while also not eating at all for about three hours, or more, before bed.
I read several books that lead me to become a vegan: The China Study, The Okinawa Program, Diet for a New America, The McDougall Plan, as well as doing a lot of online research.
It took a few weeks for everything to work, but gradually I was able to stop the antacids almost totally.
Treatment Plan Results
If I can eat exactly as I want to and sleep on the slanted pillow I have virtually no acid reflux.
When I have any it is almost always at night just before bed if I ate a larger amount of food than I should have, ate out, or similar.
I never ignore acid reflux but take 1/2 or a full antacid at the first sign.
I have had one esophageal endoscopy about two months after I started my new program and the results were good with no indications of abnormal cells or increased inflammation.
Will It Work For Others
This has worked for me, but I can't assure it will for others. And I'm not exactly sure what changes I made are the most important.
The wedge pillow appeared to be effective immediately, so I'm a firm believer in it.
Stopping spicy foods was also helpful and I've reinforced that by accidentally ordering spicy food when eating out, which then required antacids.
Smaller portion sizes also seemed to help very quickly, and that is the hardest change to adhere to on a daily basis.
Whether the vegan lifestyle is critical I don't know, but I wouldn't change no matter what since I've reaped many other medical benefits from it and because of my ethical feelings regarding eating that way.
Since Writing That Update
Since writing that Update I have probably taken no more than 5-10 anti-acids for reflux. That was always when eating out and unable to control exactly what I eat.
I would add to that list that I feel that vinegar is very much an irritant and cause of acid reflux for me. I have found that avoiding it entirely, either alone or in foods such as pickles, has really helped.
I suspect that many of the people taking PPIs could stop or reduce their need for them with all or some of the changes I suggest.
But it definitely requires some lifestyle changes... most likely changing the type and quantity of food eaten, using the wedge-shaped pillow at night, sleeping on the left side, and avoiding anything that you know causes reflux.
Good luck, the reward should be a reduced risk of fracture, as well as no more acid reflux. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before stopping the Omeprazole.