The GERD Diet For IBS?

The GERD diet is often followed by people diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, which a doctor defines as severe symptoms caused by changes in the barrier between the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter, such as a hiatus hernia. The sphincter muscle prevents stomach acids from rising into the esophagus, which is not protected from the acids. This causes heartburn and on occasions, long term damage.The most common symptoms are trouble swallowing, regurgitation of food or drink and heartburn.We may wonder what this has to do with IBS, but having been a sufferer of acid reflux for at least as many years as I have had IBS, I decided to write an article on it. I was diagnosed with Hiatus hernia about twenty years ago.

People with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – GERD – are often forced to consider their diet, since some foods produce more acid than others and can aggravate their symptoms. This is commonly known as the GERD diet.

I know through experience what foods I have to avoid, although, as with IBS, it has taken time.Take oranges, pure orange juice or grapefruits. I cannot eat these or drink the juice, as it will literally burn. I will regurgitate and it got to the stage, before I was prescribed tablets to control my stomach's acid production, that my chest pains were so severe I thought it was my heart. I could also not drink wine. I could not eat fried food, as it would have the same effect. I do not have any problem with most fruit, and apples and bananas will not give me acid reflux, although bananas will give me stomach cramps. Onions are a food I like to include in my diet, but eating raw onion brought on one of my earliest and most intense episodes of heartburn and indigestion. I find roasted onions, or onions as a soup ingredient do not give me any problems. Some avoid tomatoes in a GERD diet. Tomato juice is allegedly a wonderful detox drink, but there is a certain acidity to it, as it affects my mothers rheumatism. I had to stop drinking it because it aggravated my Irritable Bladder and I am prone to UTI's. It also went straight through me; perhaps this is why it is viewed as a good detox. I love tomato juice, but had to give it up, although tomato-based sauces or fresh tomatoes do not unduly affect me.

Vinegar is interesting. One would think it would immediately cause acid indigestion, but there are people who swear that apple-cider vinegar, taken as a drink: two teaspoons, mixed with one teaspoon of honey and topped up with water, actually eases it, and I myself have tried this. My mother has instantly cured extreme indigestion by eating a small picked gherkin, and another time a small cocktail pickled onion. I have never experienced acid reflux from any dressing made with vinegar, and eat cabbage with apple cider vinegar poured quite copiously over it. I think this is something each individual needs to assess, as some may find vinegar does aggravate GERD and others may belong to the school that swears it does not.

People who follow the GERD diet often eat low calorie foods. Fish is a good option, lean meats, such as steak or chicken and ground beef. Baked potatoes, broccoli (which I myself cannot eat as it triggers IBS) cabbage, carrots and beans are non-acidic. Cream cheese, or feta cheese may cause few or no problems. Whole grains, such as in cereals, or wholegrain pasta, noodles and rice are also suggested, as well as olive or rapeseed oils for cooking or to make into dressings, rather than lard, margarine, low-fat spreads, or sunflower oil.As for drinks, fizzy drinks can exacerbate GERD and start acid reflux, although I find carbonated water does not, although something like tonic water or fizzy bitter lemon or orange can, as can both still and fizzy wines or cider.

Many long term GERD sufferers may be prescribed tablets to regulate their stomach acid. I am myself. I was first put on a drug called Cimetidine, and now Lansoprazole. They are more effective than shop-bought indigestion-relief, although Gaviscon liquid was suggested by my doctor for those times when my stomach seems particularly acid. Lansoprazole is a proton pump inhibitor, which reduce the amount of acid that the stomach produces. It is often prescribed for inflammation of the esophagus, which occurs with acid reflux, prevention of reflux esophagitis and acid regurgitation and also to treat stomach or duodenal ulcers. I still follow a GERD diet although I have been on these tablets for many years. They have however, made it possible for me to eat and drink some things that I could not before.If your doctor has not prescribed these tablets, or you are not in a position to afford them, tablets containing Ranitidine, such as Zantac, as well as Gaviscon liquid can be helpful. Both can be brought from a drugstore, chemist or in large stores.

One addition to the GERD diet that I have found helpful is Slippery Elm Food; the powder form rather than capsules or tablets. Mixed into a paste with cold milk and then topped up with hot and allowed to cool a little, it forms a mucilage which coats the gut, including the esophagus and is very soothing. The drink itself is extremely digestible and people undergoing chemotherapy may take it, because it also has many nutrients in it. It is a good idea to drink this before you go to bed.

I do not find a GERD diet hard to follow once recognizing which foods, some of which I have mentioned above, are acid producers.

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