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Your Questions About Acid Reflux Disease

Lizzie asks…

is this acid reflux disease??

hello, im 17 years old and lately ive been having some really bad gas/acid problem. This morning, my stomach was hurting soo much and i literally had to sleep with the pillow flat on the headboard because it hurt too much to sleep flat on the bed. I took some pepto bismol but it didnt help. Does anyone know if this is a symacid reflux disease?

Wendy answers:

Sounds quite possible.
GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) typically presents with a burning pain in the top of your stomach radiating into your chest. It is worst on lying down and can be somewhat better with sitting up.
The treatment for it is many fold: acid suppression is the cornerstone and if you don’t see a doctor, you can get prilosec OTC (over the counter). You will need to take this daily for at least a month. It takes 3-4 days for the acid to be supressed, then allow for another week for the throat and stomach lining to start to heal without the acid burning it. Thus expect the pain to start to improve after a week on the med- It doesn’t work instantaneously. You could also try pepcid or zantac… They are less potent, but cheaper. Take zantac at 150mg twice daily or pepcid is 20mg twice daily.
Preventing GERD consists of a few things- remaining upright for 3-4 hours after eating- so no late night snacking before bed. Avoid foods that can loosen the upper esophageal sphincter: caffeine, alcohol, and smoking cigarettes are DEFINITELY TO BE AVOIDED. Chocolate, peppermint, tomatoes among other foods can contribute as well. Finally, consider putting books or other items to prop up the head of your bed at an angle- as you have found, gravity works…
If you have signs of bleeding from the digestive tract: black is the color of blood when it mixes with stomach acid- so jet black stools or vomit that has the appearance of coffee grounds should prompt an immediate visit to a doctor. If you have difficulty swallowing and food feels like it’s getting stuck, or if your symptoms do not improve in 2 weeks time, it’s also time to pay your doc a visit.
Stress always seems to trigger this in me, and If your 17, this is a pretty stressful time…Hope your feeling better soon.

Charles asks…

Advice on how to handle acid reflux disease when you do not have medical insurance?

I was recently diagnosed with acid reflux, I have severe stomach aches daily and nausea every morning. I lost my medical insurance shortly after being diagnosed and am not able to get the Prilosec that my doctor had wanted me to be on. The pain at times can be unbearable and I’m afraid despite the fact I’m doing my best to change my diet and lifestyle that it’s not going to get any better. Any and all ideas are welcome.

Wendy answers:

Try ranitidine, aka Zantac, for acid reflux,
That’s what it’s for and you can get generic ranitidine which isn’t expensive over the counter/
Give it a try.

Ruth asks…

What age is considered the age you met a childhood friend?

Sorry, I didn’t really know how to put it. It sounds a little odd. Its like, when you meet or become friends since a long time ago, that person is considered to be a childhood friend. What age would you consider as a childhood friend? Sorry, sounds confusing.

I’ve asked my friends and they all said under the age of 10. I determined that the age would be approximately 8 years old(I changed it to 10). All of them said approximately around 4. Age might also make a difference when asking this question. I’m in grade 10(actually I’m supposed to be in grade 11, but I had a disease, I need to be healthier XD I found out I guessed that I have GERD– well Acid reflux doesn’t come out of nowhere and didn’t see the doctor yet, haha, no worries guys, I will see one and I also have–off topic) is that maybe why? I don’t consider myself old either. Average age to me is like 35 and old to me is like 70.

Wendy answers:

Anything under 12. Most people do not keep up with people from their childhood. I have been best friends for 30 years with my college suitemate.

Maria asks…

Does Philly have a Teaching Hospital that offers reduced cost general care?

I know Temple offers reduced cost dental care as I have done that and saved tons on dental work that I otherwise could not afford since I have no insurance. I am having problems with acid reflux and possible gallbladder disease, but cannot afford the treatment options my doctor has. Does Temple have a teaching clinic like the dental department does that offers doctor care at reduced rates?

Wendy answers:

Although Temple University is a teaching hospital, it’s quality of care is maintained at the same level as a normal hospital (there are always qualified doctors around.) Therefore, they are pretty close to a normal hospital in billing procedures and what types of insurance they accept. Their costs might be lower than a non-teaching hospital, but depending upon the procedure you need, it might not make a difference. (A $20,000 surgery might be cheap compared to other hospitals, but still out of reach for someone with no insurance.)

Check out their patient manual for the section on billing. It is possible to get an estimate beforehand of how much things cost. It is also possible to get financial assistance (see charity section) if you cannot afford medical care.

Sandy asks…

Is this really ibs or is it celiacs disease?

I am 18 years old and I have been diagnosed with ibs. But about a year ago I started getting this painful rash in the middle of my arms which looks like eczema. My stomach hurts about everytime I eat fast food or unhealthy and I get really bad acid reflux where I burp all the time and it leads to throwing up white foamy acid sometimes in the mornings. My mom is getting tested for celiacs soon and she has been diagnosed with ibs too she said if she has it I am immediately getting tested. Oh and I am constipated like all the time.. Not even the medicine I am prescribe helps me I can go about 2 weeks without a bowel movement is this serious? How bad is the gluten free diet?

Wendy answers:

Yes, the constipation is an issue. If the medicine is not making you go DAILY, then you should be in touch with the doctor.

The GF diet? Really, not that bad. At first, though it’s going to feel like the end of the world. All sorts of foods you can’t eat, and all sorts of foods that everyone is eating around you. But at the same time? If it IS celiac disease, suddenly your pain goes away, the acid reflux goes away, the vomiting goes away, the gut feels better, so by the time you’ve healed up, the diet is NOTHING. You end up feeling so much better it’s totally, totally worth it.

And the best way to do it, IMO, is to remember all the awesome foods you can eat that never had gluten to begin with. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, roast turkey and chicken, steak, popcorn, and so on. You can still have all of these. And seriously, there are a LOT of people out there who miss their gluten foods, so they work hard to come up with recipes to mimic the foods you’ve lost. There are even recipes you can find for GF girl scout cookies! Samoas, thin mints, all of ’em. Usually, some of these are better tried after a few months on the diet, when your body and brain don’t remember the taste of wheat as well. It’s forgotten fairly quickly. And at that point, these taste awesome.

One thing you may want to research with your mother. If you have a rash, there is a chance that it could be something called Dermatitis Herpetiformis. If this IS what you have, you might be better served getting this tested by the dermatologist. They do a biopsy of the area just outside the rash – you’ll want to look up how they are supposed to do this. The disease is rare enough that some doctors aren’t aware they need to do the biopsy different than one does most biopsies of rashes. The area to biopsy is not the same.

The reason I mention this is that in recent studies, it’s been shown that those with celiac disease where the body attacks the skin don’t test as accurately on the regular blood tests. A link I put in below mentions the specific antibody that occurs with DH rashes, even though it’s about neurological issues with celiacs. It’s enough information if you and your mother wish to investigate further into tested for this. 🙂

Good luck, and seriously, it’s not so bad. A pain, yeah, but it’s like getting glasses or anything else one has to do for the rest of your life. At first, it’s REALLY a pain, and then you get used to it but still have to think about it all the time, and eventually you don’t really even notice except every now and again. And don’t forget, if your mother has it AND you have it, then you’ll both be in this together. That makes a difference.

For eating purposes, here’s some of my favorite brands:
Tinkyada rice pasta – it even has lasagna noodles
Organicville pasta sauces – I like their pizza sauces
Pamela’s brownie mix
Glutino wafer cookies
organicville salad dressings, although I hear Lighthouse (usually in the fridge section near the produce) is pretty good, too.
San-J Gluten Free soy sauce – this is actually BETTER than regular soy sauce. It’s the premium type of soy sauce, the kind they made before they watered it down with wheat, only made to avoid cross contamination. It’s actually the type that’s called for in gourmet Asian recipes. 🙂

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