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Do you suffer from Acid Reflux?

Reflux
Do you suffer from reflux?

Reflux is a staggering problem in our nation.

Did you know reflux (or GERD) affects a whopping 25-35% of the U.S. population? As a result, acid-blocking medications are the 3rd top selling drug in the U.S. today.

These acid blocking drugs are meant to be only used as a short-term solution for reflux, but often I see folks who’ve been on them for YEARS. I bet no one told you PPI’s were meant only as a short-term solution, right?

Why is long-term PPI use a problem?

Well, for one, these drugs block the absorption of important nutrients like B12, calcium and magnesium and can lead to issues like IBS, depression, bone fractures —and more. The FDA even requires a special insert with PPI’s stating these drugs may increase your risk of bone fracture.

The risk of bone fracture is especially concerning for women as they’re more likely to experience diagnoses such as osteopenia and osteoporosis in their lifetime. Did you know one in two women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to a diagnosis of osteoporosis? That’s staggering.

Long term PPI use can also cause imbalances further on down your intestinal tract by altering the microbiome and leading to undesirable symptoms such as gas, diarrhea, constipation, etc as commonly seen in IBS patients.

Lowering stomach acid over a long term makes one more susceptible to bacterial overgrowths and allows for pathogens to take hold in the gut. This can eventually manifest as IBS-type symptoms as described above.

As you can see, as a result of being put on PPI’s indefinitely you’ll end up with more problems than what you originally started out with. You’re more likely to put on a never-ending list of medications to help cover up and mask the very symptoms those PPI’s are causing AND you’ll likely never get to the bottom of fixing your acid reflux problems.

So what else can you do to treat reflux? 

There’s so much you can do, but what we really want to understand is WHY you have reflux in the first place!

Often people struggle with reflux, believe it or not, due to LOW stomach acid. Remember those acid lowering medications you’re layering on top of that? Yeah.

When you have low stomach acid to begin with, your digestion is impaired allowing the contents in the stomach to reside there for longer than normal periods of time.

This causes intra-abdominal pressure allowing undigested food and stomach acid to push through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) (the valve that is supposed to remain closed to keep contents in the stomach) causing that burning sensation you often feel in your esophagus.

So what are some underlying causes to low stomach acid and reflux?

Here’s a few things to investigate for starters:

>> Food Sensitivities

>> Underlying conditions like Celiac Disease that can mimic GERD

>> Nutrient deficiencies and Autoimmune Conditions that lead to reduced stomach acid

>> Infections such as H. Pylori

>> Structural issues such as Hiatal hernia

>> Chronic Stress

As you can see, the key to getting to the source of your reflux ISN’T getting yourself on an acid lowering medication. Sure, it may provide symptom relief but the long term use of this drug will most likely create more problems for you in the long run.

If you’re ready to get to the root of your reflux issue then schedule your free call with me here, I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s to healthy and happy digestion! 🍽🥬🍈

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Sarah Neumann Haske, MS, RDN is a Women’s Health Functional Dietitian and owner of Neumann Nutrition & Wellness, LLC. Her practice helps women heal their gut, regulate their hormones and balance their thyroid using a root-cause approach to their health. As a result of her program her clients are able to come off medications, feel more energized, and be more confident in their bodies again. If you’re interested in being a partner in your own health journey and finding the direction and accountability you need to reach your health goals, then schedule your complimentary call with Sarah now.