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The All-Natural Regimen That Has Helped My Reflux Problem

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  • Hazel, I completely understand about the crying. Especially when frustrated cause it seems like your life is going down hill. My Hemoglobin is at 10.5 the last time I checked so I know its a little low due to the Iron being extremely low. So I guess its the injections it is! I've been tying so hard to stay positive through this. And when I have good days, I thank God for them and just enjoy the moment. Plus this Forum has helped me tremendously! And I'm grateful!

    I'm also looking into a Gluten and Dairy free diet for now (I wanna cuss but I can't lol). And see how that works out. I don't even know where to start regarding that! I just know for sure that I need to slowly get off these PPI's because my gut is telling me its making things worse for me i.e my iron! I just know it!


    • Off-Topic Not about GERD but about Iron...

      This is off-topic from GERD (and I don't want to pursue this subject here because that's not what the thread is about)...but I noticed your question to Nikki about Ferritin (Nikki misspelled it as "ferrite"). Ferritin and Hemoglobin are NOT the same thing. Your hemoglobin numbers refer to your red blood cell count. And, ultimately, if your iron is low, your red blood cell count will be low and that's actually what anemia is.

      There are a few different blood tests when they're checking for your blood iron levels. They measure for not only the iron levels in the blood, but also the amount of iron stored in the body, and the body’s capacity to absorb iron.

      Ferritin—the major iron-storage protein—is measured to determine the amount of iron stored in the body.

      Iron level - is determined by measuring the quantity of iron bound to the protein transferrin. Transferrin, which is formed in the liver, is the major carrier of iron in the bloodstream.

      Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) measures all of the proteins available for transporting iron; since transferrin is the primary carrier, this test indirectly measures transferrin levels.

      Transferrin saturation—which is determined by dividing TIBC into the blood iron level—is the percentage of transferrin that is saturated with iron. If less than 20% of transferrin is iron-saturated, delivery of iron to developing red cells is impaired; if greater than 60% is saturated, iron may be deposited in organs other than the bone marrow, causing organ damage.

      Hope this helps. Now...back to GERD.


      • Nikki,
        I cut out gluten, dairy, and soy for about 4 years. In my case, I didn't find that any of those were triggers for my GERD. That said, though, it's a great idea for you to do it and see if it makes a difference for you. I did find, from doing that, that I am somewhat lactose intolerant (dairy). But not in a way that affects my GERD (it just makes

        I found that cutting out gluten was much easier than it must've been for people ten or more years ago. So many people are gluten-conscious now that it's easy to find gluten-free versions of foods you like.
        Dairy - same thing. Lots of dairy replacement foods.
        Soy - unless you're a vegetarian, it's not a big deal to cut this out of your diet. However, you have to really check the ingredient labels on things. Soy shows up everywhere in places you wouldn't expect it. So you have to be careful.


        • Gluten-free caveats

          Going gluten free for no good reason isn't really a good idea. You can wind up not getting nutrients you should have, for one thing.

          Cutting out gluten for three months is a way to ID whether you might have a problem with it, but a biopsy is the only way of diagnosing celiac disease. I am gluten intolerant (my biopsy was negative, my elimination diet was positive). I wind up with all sorts of issues if someone lies to me re: whether gluten is in the food I eat. Reflux is not one of them, except in one case, which I'll discuss in a moment.

          If you do choose to cut gluten out, be aware that most gluten-free products use rice flour. It is not uncommon for people who eat these products exclusively (versus making an effort to find products that use other types of gluten-free flour) to wind up with a rice allergy. That is a real mess, believe me. This is one reason folks just shouldn't toy with the concept that gluten-free eating is a good thing to do.

          Soy sauce has gluten in it. I used to get horribly sick back in the day before I had my Nissen, whenever I had Chinese food (though I did not know that it was soy sauce that would cause my attacks). For a long time I thought my issues were reflux (you might even find me saying that in some of my oldest posts). Post-surgery soy still caused me much grief, and I finally realized I was gluten-intolerant, thanks to an observant doctor. By the way, I would probably avoid all soy products now, even if it weren't for the fact that I must, given what I've learned about how soy is grown and processed.


          • Thanks for the spell check NYer! This is such good information! I just want to start elimination diet but first I'm trying to get an appointment with a naturopathic doctor


            • Hey Thistle!!
              Thank you for that very helpful info.

              And - just to be clear about what Thistle said...Soy itself does NOT contain gluten. Soy SAUCE does. But some people also have a soy sensitivity or allergy. So gluten elimination is separate from soy elimination.


              • NYer you are a wealth of knowledge. You never cease to amaze me. Now I have to go ask my doc about my Ferritin levels...I'll add it to my list.

                I need your honest (and please don't be harsh) opinion on anti-depressant or benzo's and GERD. Specifically my doc wants me to take paxil because at this point since my test came back "normal" I should not be suffering as much as I am and so they think its my anxiety at the root of the problem. Like I said before I have fought this in the past, but am beginning to cave. I have 3 small children to think about and need to keep it together


                • Hi Haze,
                  I've never taken anti-depressants, so I can't speak from experience on that. BUT...
                  My opinion is that doctors suck.

                  If you have the chance and look through all the threads on this site, you'd be amazed at the very high percentage of people on here who have been told by their doctors that they need to be on anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety meds. That's because they don't know what the hell they're talking about when it comes to GERD so when they can't make it all better quickly with PPI's, they decide that you're a psychiatric issue.

                  How do I know this? 6 years ago when I was having terrible GERD problems, I went to a new internist. She sent me to a gastroenterologist. This guy wrote a book about heartburn. So I read it before I went to him. In the book he said "Keep a diary of everything you eat, the time you ate it, any symptoms you have and the time you have the symptoms. Keep the diary for 2 weeks and bring it with you when you go to your doctor." So I did exactly that. Then I went to see him. He asked me a lot of questions and one of them was, "what time did you take your last pill?" I looked at my diary and said, "12:18." He snorted and sneered and with a very sarcastic tone said, "Well, your problem is that you have a Type-A personality and you're very anal." I looked at him quizzically and said, "How could you possibly come to a conclusion like that after knowing me for 10 minutes?" And he said, "well, a NORMAL person, if I asked them what time they took a pill, would say something like 12:15 or 12:30 - but you said '12:18'"!! And he sneered again. "And the way you write down everything you eat in your diary, I mean, c'mon!" I looked at him and said, "I don't know about you, but this is the 21st century and I have digital clocks. I look up at the clock and I write down whatever time I see. If I were to waste time rounding the time up or down, then THAT would be an issue." "And I write down everything I eat in detail because THAT'S WHAT YOU SAID TO DO IN YOUR BOOK!" I might as well have said "blah blah blah". He looked at me like I was a moron and he disregarded what I said.

                  The next day, my new internist called me and asked me to come in. I did. I sat down across from her and she started talking to me in a voice that one might use to talk to a 5 year old. She said "We need to talk about you taking a drug called Xanax." And I responded in the same condescending voice, "We need to stop talking to me like I'm an idiot child." And then in my regular NYer voice (which you can all imagine), I said, "and if you think I need to take an anti-anxiety medication, you should prescribe Klonipan - not Xanax, which is far more addictive and doesn't last as long." The look on her face was priceless. So I smiled and looked directly in her eyes and said, "Yes, that's right. I'm not a moron. I'm actually quite knowledgeable. Plus I live in NY and have a lot of neurotic friends, so I know all about their meds."

                  The following day, I called her office and asked the secretary for a copy of all of my records. The doctor wasn't in, so the secretary just sent everything. She didn't notice that some of what was in there wasn't actually meant for my eyes. It was a letter from the gastroenterologist - the one that said I was "type-A". He wrote, "NYer (he actually used my real name) has psychiatric problems and that is the cause of her GERD."

                  So, this internist, who only knew me from one prior office visit, had read his letter and that's why she wanted me to take an anti-anxiety med. AND, she called my Gyn (who worked at the same hospital as her, but who had known me for 20 years) and told HER that I have psychiatric problems!!!! My Gyn called me and asked me what that was about and we laughed but she was very upset with the other doctor (so was I....I called and threatened her if she was to slander me to any other doctors or anyone else!!).

                  My anxiety level was, indeed, very high at that point. So I went to a psychologist that I knew socially to see what he thought about all this. I explained what I had been going through with the GERD...lost 20 pounds in 5 weeks, couldn't sleep, feeling anxious, pain and burning in my chest, constant bloating, reactions from all the PPI's, etc...
                  He looked at me and said, "NYer, If you were NOT feeling anxious, you'd be either in a coma or dead. A normal person would HAVE to feel anxious after going through all this." Then he said, "You don't need a psychologist. You need a doctor who will help you an fix your PHYSICAL problem." Then he asked me if I had ever seen a naturopath. I asked what that was and he explained what it was and he referred me to one.

                  And I went to her. And she's the one who told me about digestive enzymes and DGL, etc. etc.
                  And that saved my life, as far as I'm concerned.
                  And you know the rest of my story.

                  Hazel, sooo many people on this site have virtually the same story. EXCEPT, so many of those people were made to believe that they really did have mental/emotional problems that were the cause of their GERD. So they took anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety meds and that didn't help the cause of the problem - so then they felt worse in addition to their GERD continuing. And, in many cases, the anti-depressant pills actually exacerbated the GERD.

                  So, Is it possible that you should be on anti-depressants? Maybe yes. If you thought you needed them prior to your GERD problems. But if you didn't feel depressed prior to GERD, and this is all stemming from your GERD problems, then, no, you probably shouldn't take them. Can anti-anxiety pills help? Well, maybe yes. But they're not going to fix your GERD. I tried taking a QUARTER of one pill just to see how I felt. I fell asleep for 12 hours!!! So I never took another one. But I do know people who like them and they help them with their anxiety. BUT THEY DON'T DO ANYTHING FOR GERD.

                  By the time I went to the naturopath, I was an anxious mess. I had never been like that in my life. Once I started taking the digestive enzymes and was able to eat normal meals and sleep through the night for the first time in months, the anxiety disappeared!! (I'm talking about in a week's time!!)

                  OK, speaking of which, my dinner is on the table and I have to extract myself from the computer.
                  Stop letting doctors convince you that you are nuts and that you are the cause of your problems. Yes, stress can exacerbate GERD symptoms, but your anxiety is primarily from your GERD going untreated and from doctors convincing you that you're not normal. But in reality, it's the other way around - you're normal and THEY are making you crazy. So stop torturing yourself. I was there and I didn't do what they said...and I'm FINE NOW.



                  • NYer... you are one strong woman!!! 30lbs in 1mth??? Dayyyyum I really enjoyed reading your experience. What an inspiration!

                    I too went through a very stressful time last year and my Dr. At the time wanted to put me on a anti-depressant to deal with what was going on at work! I was going through hell with bullying from my manager. And I'm wondering if my gastritis was caused by what I went through last year... I don't know. But I refused to be on those pills! I knew I was leaving so I used that as a positive thought knowing that anything and everything has to come to an end at some point. Through prayer and tears EVERYDAY I made it through plus I had a good support system! Well I'm glad to say I'm not there anymore and was paid a pretty good package!

                    I also suffered anxiety when my Gastritis just started but it was because I didn't know that the hell I was dealing with. Plus I get anxiety from nausea, so once that was controlled I was fine. Walks and showers was my cure lol but I know others don't have it as easy. The mind/your thoughts are a VERY powerful!!! Especially dealing with the unknown.... But knowing is half the battle ( GI-JOE)

                    I'm praying for you hazel! And I thank God that I stumbled on this forum and found NYer, you are one tough cookie! I also take comfort in knowing it could be worse! So I've mentally excepted Gastritis into my life and take it one day at a time!

                    Lots of love and big hugs,
                    Nikki (typing from my Android isn't easy lol)


                    • Oops, it was 20 lbs in 5 weeks. But close enough. (I corrected it.)


                      • Thank you NYer for the response. I really appreciate your time in giving me that background. I agree that the suggestion of anti-anxiety meds are a sign of the doc throwing hands up into the air at this point. But in her defense she is not trying to say I need them due to my mental health or lack thereof. I actually was very happy with my new GI. Remember my awesome post about 3 weeks back? She is scratching her head because according to her there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to handle my GERD by watching my diet and using natural remedies. She agrees my GERD is mild and I should not be suffering or on PPI’s or even H2 blockers. At this point I do believe that some of my symptoms have to be due to rebound. The chest pain and back pain has gone away. I haven’t felt burning under my breast bone in a while. So there is improvement there. However, I have the sore throat that is pretty consistent. But at the same time I have new pains that we can’t figure out. I feel this awful pressure in my upper chest and under my arms (sides of breast) that radiates to my arms. My arms feel like I just did a major workout (not the case). It has to be gas or indigestion and I get this strange pressure at my tailbone. Yesterday, I ate a plain salad. Just lettuce and chicken ZERO dressing, no pepper, nothing more. I felt awful for hours afterwards. Body ached, head in a fog, nauseas, pressure in chest but no “heartburn”. These are the symptoms that the doc believes are being caused by anxiety. I just want feel better.

                        Thanks you NikkiB for your thoughts and prayers. I truly appreciate it. If you gals think I'm a mess now I'd hate to think how I would be without this forum. NYer's advice has truly been a lifesaver. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!


                        • Oh and my eyes sting after eating as well.


                          • Hey Haze,
                            You're very welcome.
                            Listen, even if anti-anxiety meds help your anxiety but your GERD is still bad, at least they may help some of your anxiety. You can certainly give them a try. If you're going to take them, though, my opinion is to try Klonopin (the generic name is Clonazepam) instead of Xanax. Klonopin is not as addictive as Xanax and also, it lasts longer (you can take it less times per day). But, the first time you take it, do what I do with new meds: Take HALF of what the doctor prescribes. If you feel fine or feel nothing, then you can try the full dosage. And also, don't drive or schedule anything active when you start taking it. In my case, I just got knocked out and fell asleep. (But I'm super-sensitive to everything.) It's not a harmful med and if it helps you, that's a good thing. Me personally - I'd try that route first rather than the anti-depressants.
                            Be well.


                            • Hey Nikki!

                              I also take comfort in knowing it could be worse!
                              Yes. That's the key. I was so freaked out NOT KNOWING what was wrong with me when they couldn't fix it. And worse, probably, my fiance (who was sooo supportive) was freaked out but tried really hard not to show it. He was worried that maybe I had some kind of cancer or God-knows-what and since I was so freaked out, I couldn't be there for him. And I'm normally a very strong in-control person (have you noticed?). But during this whole thing, I was a nervous needy wreck. And that really made him scared.

                              So, all of you who are busy being freaked out, take Nikki's advice: IT COULD BE WORSE.
                              It won't kill you. It's not cancer. It's not AIDS. ...It does suck, however.
                              But YOU WILL GET BETTER. It'll just take some time.


                              • Oh and my eyes sting after eating as well.
                                Hmm. That's an interesting one. I wonder if you have some sort of food allergy? Might be a really good idea for you to do an elimination diet. Although lettuce and chicken doesn't exactly sound like something allergy-prone.