Acid reflux continues to affect many people on a daily basis. These symptoms include discomfort in the epigastrium (center of the chest area) that can progress to a burning pain. Mild symptoms only affect one occasionally and can be associated with certain foods we eat. In more severe cases the symptoms can be constant and can progress to stomach or duodenal ulcers as well as GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) which has a risk of developing cancer.
Treatment today is largely by prescribing Proton Pump Inhibitors (e.g. Controloc, Losec, Nexiam, Pantoloc, Pariet, Lanzor or Ulzec) to reduce the production of acid by the stomach. This can help relieve some of the immediate symptoms, but comes with various side effects and its long term use can create other more sever symptoms that one should be aware of if one is using these medicines.
Current research has shown that using Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) commonly results the following side effects:
- Decreased levels of serum, vitamin B12, magnesium and iron
- Increased risk of infections: CDI and CAP
- Increased risk of fractures
- Increased risk of gastric neoplasia: FGP, gastric carcinoid tumours, gastric cancer (with H.pylon)
- Increased risk of adverse cardiac events
- Increased risk of AKI and CKD
- Increased risk of dementia
Long term use of Proton Pump Inhibitors side effects
- Decreased levels of essential nutrients like Vitamin B12, Magnesium & Iron.
- Increased risk of infections including Pneumonia.
- Increased risk of bone fractures.
- Increased risk of Heart Attack.
- Increased risk of Acute Kidney injury & Chronic Kidney disease.
- Increased risk of Dementia.
- Increased risk of developing Stomach Cancer.
This, together with demonstrating that 25% – 70% of prescriptions for PPI’s are inappropriate leads to a high risk profile for those using the medicine.
Proton Pump Inhibitors research findings and recommendations
You may ask, what other treatment options are there if using PPI’s have these kind of risks? Homeopathic medicines offer an effective alternative treatment for acid reflux and gastric ulcers. We have a number of medicines that can effectively help the body regulate its own acid production by treating the underlying cause. These medicines don’t have the sever side effects of PPI’s, yet have powerful action to relieve the troublesome symptoms. The goal with Homeopathic treatment is to get the body functioning well again and then stop the medication and allow the body to maintain health and well being.
Two medicines we commonly use in practice are Arsenicum Album and Natrum Muriaticum (these unusual names come from the Latin scientific naming methodology for plants, animals & minerals). As Homeopathic treatment is individualized, let us look at the different medicines and when then can help us:
Throat: Burning with difficulty swallowing. Thirst for small amounts of cool water which relieves the symptoms temporarily.
Stomach: Burning pain. Heartburn and reflux which burns in the throat.
Long-lasting effect after burping. Stomach feels raw. Gnawing, burning pains like coals of fire – relieved by applying something warm to the stomach temporarily. Somewhat anxious, nervous and restless.
Stomach: Heartburn, with palpitations of the heart. Excessive thirst (not specifically cool). Desire for salty foods. Throbbing sensation of stomach. Feels like something stuck in the stomach. Prefer to be alone, and enjoys solitude.
These are just two examples of a number of different medicines we use to help with acid reflux. Selecting the correct strength and dosage are important in getting the suitable results and usually requires a consultation with a trained Homeopath.