January 27, 2012

Good News about GERD

Heartburn, GERD, acid reflux... call it what you will. I've been battling it for some time. It used to be an occasional thing, and then it started causing me chest pain when I drank certain brands of coffee. But I didn't know what was causing the chest pain until the gastroenterologist told me. This was back in autumn 2010. He also informed me that a just-completed endoscopy showed that GERD had caused some erosion of the esophagus.

I was really surprised. Heartburn had only been an occasional problem and I avoided the foods that brought it on. However, I agreed to take the medications that the doctor suggested because I wanted my esophagus to heal.

At first the medicine seemed to be working. Then I started getting heartburn daily, even when I didn't eat spicy or greasy food. We tried several different types of PPIs (that's proton pump inhibitors) but they just didn't work. Now the problem was worse than it was before the endoscopy!

I worked with another doctor (for reasons given here), trying different approaches: dietary changes, enzymes, probiotics, other supplements. Nothing worked. I gave up coffee completely. That only helped a little.

Over a year after the diagnoses of GERD, I happened on a report about a combination of supplements that seemed to be very helpful against GERD. Further searching uncovered the most important ingredient appeared to be 6 mg. of melatonin every night. I started taking it about 6 weeks ago, along with a 5-htp capsule most days to help it along. Yay! I started getting better.

I can still get heartburn if I eat too much greasy food, but I no longer suffer from it every day. We can expect to hear more about melatonin as a treatment of heartburn in the months to come. Melatonin and 5-htp are available without a prescription here in the U.S. If you are in a situation similar to mine, show your doctor one of the PubMed reports on melatonin and reflux disease.

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