by Ellen Mathers

Acid reflux disease or GERD, as you may have heard in the media is, at least for me, a catch all phrase for mild to chronic indigestion. I do not have an ulcer. I do not have H-pylori and I do not have heartburn, per se, but I am and have been since I was 19-years old, treated for acid reflux disease.

My symptoms are unusual. I feel hungry all the time even when I am not. With my constant battle against the bulge this ?feeling hungry? does not help my waistline at all. The reason I know I am not hungry is because I just ate. Thirty minutes later I am starved. My stomach just produces too much acid hence heartburn and acid reflux. I also wake up in the morning with a giant appetite. I could eat a horse.

Chronic heartburn can be more than just a bother. Those of us that have this ailment are at risk of having their throats worn away by the bile and acids that are produced in the stomach for digestive purposes. Acid reflux could even cause cancer. Going without treatment can risk the esophagus that attaches your stomach to your throat to permanent damage by acids. Reflux can be as serious as constantly throwing up the bile, acid and pepsin that your stomach produces normally to aid in digestion. In my case I just feel so ravenous and I know that I am not because I just ate.

A quick visit to the corner druggist could be all you need to do to solve this persistent ailment. Speak to the druggist. Tell them of your symptoms and they will suggest the latest over the counter remedies. Zantac and Prilosec as well as others non prescription medications are available to treat GERD. The stores keep these expensive medications locked up and you will need a clerk to dispense them. These were once only prescribed medications. They are now available in 30-day supply packaged. The packages can cost more than thirty dollars at some drug stores but well worth the relief.

In the event that your neighborhood pharmacist cannot help provide relief for your stomach acids you will need to see a doctor to rule out other more serious stomach issues. An internist or a gastrologist is recommended since both treat those areas of the body. A gastrologist is a stomach doctor. Diagnostic tests will usually need to be ordered and they are not cheap so make sure that both the doctors and the clinics that do the testing are on your insurance and in network. Take nothing for granted.

Relief could be as easy as taking a prescription pills each day and avoiding acid reflux foods. I take Prevacid, the over the counters do not work for me. Get help now!

Unless pregnant, once you begin experiencing acid reflux it is usually a lifelong ailment. I can attest to that fact since I have at it since I was 19 and am now over 50 years old. I M U S T take my medication everyday rain of shine or I will experience symptoms. It has never gotten any better.

After a meal is when most people experience most severe symptoms. That is when the gastric juices are at their most active. Pepsin is activated to begin the digestive process for food absorption into the system. Not eating late at night is helpful as well as not eating acid reflux foods. Some say it feels like a heart attached while others actually vomit into their throats. Mine, like I said, just makes me feel ravenous. I think I got off luckier than most. Either way ? get treated. Do something. It is not going away and it can only get worse.

I have a brother who consumed Tums at an alarming rate. He hadn’t noticed his habit until I asked him about it. He said he had heartburn constantly so I suggested Prilosec. He now takes this little pill each day and he feels much better. From time to time he says taking two in a day, like Thanksgiving does the trick. He is now symptom free.

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