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GERD and General Health
bren8519 posted:
Dr. Magee, I feel I need help with diet and weight issues as well as GERD diet. Now I have done some research so I do understand some things. However the reflux med made me terribly constipated and I had to come off of it until I see doctor on the 28th. I feel I need help with getting my general system straightened out. I am not sure if my new diet or the med did this but it was horrible. Laxative only made me cramp, sweat, and feel totally sick. Enemas were difficult as I was so constipated. What kind of doctor should I see to get my system back on track and a good diet to lose weight. I am 62 and female so this has been a total life style change for me. I will also add that I have the worst form of Alopecia which I feel came from stress rather than hereidty. I got that in 2006 and recently due to severe coughing have been diagnosed with the reflux. Not sure if its just that I am getting older or if my whole system is out of wack which is how I feel right now. Any suggestions? Bren
ElaineMageeRD responded:
It does sound like you have a few things going on and that your system got off track somewhere along the line. Have you seen a gastroenterologist for the GERD? That's who gave you the meds you had to go off of, yes?

You definitely need to get back to them and let them know about the side effects you have experienced. It could be as simple as changing medications or understanding the importance of drinking plenty of water and getting a certain amount of fiber with the medication. Being severely constipated can be dangerous (leading to a bowel impaction) so stay on top of that and get help in the emergency room if you need to. Perhaps once your bowels get straightened out, you can find some GERD medication and stick to some dietary suggestions that will keep your acid reflux at bay.

The 10 food steps to freedom from my book, TELL ME WHAT TO EAT IF I HAVE ACID REFLUX are:
  • Eat frequent, small meals instead of less-frequent big meals
  • Lose some extra weight (if you are overweight) but not by fad dieting
  • Avoid eating high-fat meals when possible to encourage weight loss and to reduce acid reflux symptoms
  • Foods and beverages that weaken the lower esophageal sphincter muscle should be eaten in very small portions or limited (such as fried or fatty foods, chocolate, garlic & onions, coffee, alcohol etc.)
  • Foods that increase the acid content of the stomach should be consumed in small portions such as coffee, caffeinated tea, calcium in milk
  • Foods that irritate a damaged esophageal lining should be limited (if you lining is damaged) such as citrus, tomatoes, pepper, chili pepper etc.
  • Foods that can bloat up the abdomen causing pressure that forces acid to back up into the esophagus should be limited (such as carbonated beverages)
  • Include high fiber foods in every meal and snack
  • Don't eat three to four hours before going to bed
  • Have your heartburn helpers handy and make other lifestyle changes that can help your heartburn (chewing gum helps or sucking on antacids or lozenges, drinking plain tap water can help, keep a heartburn journal to get a better idea of what is encouraging your heartburn, etc.

    Hope that helps!

    Elaine Magee

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