For how long should you be taking a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) to mange your GERD/GORD/LPR (Reflux Disease)? Before I continue, this article is not for those of you who are completely satisfied with their acid reducing medication.
Personally, I would continue taking my PPI if I was:
happy with my health while on reflux meds
not worried about side effects (short term or long term)
unwilling or unable to change my lifestyle to become medication & reflux free
prescribed long term use of PPIs by my Doctor
taking a PPI for other reasons besides acid reflux (e.g. stomach ulcers)
doubtful that I could find real recovery or the real cause of my GERD
certain that my LES was dysfunctional and that it could not regain function.
unable to handle acid rebound caused by discontinuing PPIs
If most of these points were true then I would be very glad that I had found a pill that solves my problem.
But if they weren't mostly true, then I would want to know the following:
EXCESSIVE ACID IS NOT THE CAUSE OF GERD
The real problem of GERD is that stomach acid is chronically coming into contact with your esophagus. Stomach acid is good in the stomach and bad in the esophagus. GERD does NOT stand for STOMACH ACID HYPERSECRETION DISEASE yet many people with gastroesophageal "disease" believe this is the case. If you believe you have too much acid, and for a reason you can't control, then taking PPIs like Nexium and Prilosec makes sense. Why? Because what PPIs do is reduce the amount of stomach acid you produce. But too much acid does not equal GERD.
Note that removing acid from stomach does mean that when you do reflux the contents of your stomach up into your esophagus then there won't be erosive acid damage. Preventing acid exposure long enough can allow your esophagus to heal. So if your PPI healed your esophagus, why are you still on it? What is causing you to reflux?
The hard truth is that the causes of chronic digestive distress and gastroesophageal reflux are largely unknown or misunderstood. If you don't remove the cause, then staying on a PPI makes some sense.
But, the causes are there, and sometimes they lie somewhere in our "normal everyday" lives. How long will it take to find them? Are you searching? How are you searching?
Understanding that it takes time to heal is very important. You may have removed the causes but still need time to let your body heal.
Studies indicate that the lining of the digestive track can take anywhere between 2 -12 weeks to regenerate in certain conditions.
And what makes things more complicated is that PPI discontinuance is associated with rebound acid hypersecretion. So stopping your PPI can be difficult.
Health Coaching helps you:
1. Investigate the causes of your reflux.
2. Find motivation and plan for lifestyle changes needed to stay reflux free.
2. Wean off of PPI medication (should you and your doctor decide to do so)