Why Your Heartburn Medications Don’t Work

Here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal that explains why many people who have heartburn don’t respond to acid reflux medications. In addition to what’s explained in the article (non-erosive reflux disease, or NERD), another explanation is that acid reflux medications don’t do anything to treat reflux. What they are designed to do is to lower acid production in the stomach. However, they don’t do anything to prevent reflux of normal stomach contents into the esophagus or throat. This is a common condition in obstructive sleep apnea, where acid, bile, stomach enzymes, and even bacteria can irritate the throat, lungs, and nose.

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One thought on “Why Your Heartburn Medications Don’t Work

  1. Hearing that Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) now has the companion Non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) does not surprise me.

    Hearing that doctors say: “You are probably just stressed” is also not a shock.

    I do not think we have a true understanding of what is going on here.

    For the past year I have been attempting to move my own breathing toward eucapnic breathing (breathing which produces normal CO2 levels in the blood). I use a pulse oximeter to do this. Here is how my stomach feels at various blood oxygen levels (SpO2):

    99% Stomach in a knot, heartburn, nausea
    98% Stomach in a knot, possible heartburn
    97% Stomach has bloated feeling
    96% Stomach beginning to relax
    95% Stomach relaxed, digestion continues

    I also note with interest that item number nine of the Hyperventilation Syndrome determining Nijmegen Questionnaire is “Bloated feeling in stomach”.

    So perhaps stress moves the breathing volume up which reduces CO2 (hypocapnia) which reduces circulation and metabolism in the stomach causing it to pull into a sick feeling knot? From my own experience, I think so.