After a trip to emergency last winter, a doctor diagnosed me with severe acid reflux due to depression and anxiety.
Long story short, it wasn’t acid reflux, it was low stomach acid. But it took me a long time to figure that out.
Hospital trips, prescriptions with unfavorable side effects and multiple emotional meltdowns later I realized that as nice as the emergency room doctor was, she wasn’t capable of helping me fix what was wrong with me. And neither was my family doctor.
All either of them could do was offer pills that weren’t working, and invasive, over the top medical treatments, none of which would fix the reason why my body was yelling at me.
And I don’t do pills if I can help it. I was over-medicated for 20 years for depression, something I now know without a fiber of doubt didn’t need medicating. I needed counseling, a different home life, and some self-love (more on that down the road.)
Because of my experience, I am very wary of pills, as they just cover up the issue with a dash of something else, i.e. side effects, some of which we won’t know the existence of for many years.
So I made a bold assertion: I had to look outside the medical system to fix what was wrong with me. And I had to take control of my life, which meant taking responsibility for what I was putting in my body.
Here’s what I did:
- I started eating more plant-based foods.
- I stopped doing stuff that made me miserable.
- I started meditating more to handle my anxiety.
- I went to a naturopath who helped me look at my body as a whole, not just at the individual, physical ailment.
Here’s what I learned about doctors and acid reflux through my misdiagnosis:
A doctors default response to any reflux type symptoms is that your body is producing too much stomach acid.
Why? Because it serves the medical system to give that response. If they say it’s something else, they open up a whole new can of worms, and those worms take up valuable appointment time.
Doctors are trained to get you out of the room quickly, so they can see another patient. They aren’t trained to question their training.
Hence why you get statements like this, “Your stomach is producing too much acid – here are some pills to stop it.”
Some doctors purposely pack their schedules so they can bill MSP for as many patient visits as possible per day. I saw this first hand when I worked for a specialist inside a medical clinic.
(NOTE: I know not all doctors take the “money first, patient second” stance. But some do.)
Then there are the ties to the acid reflux pharmaceutical industry. Proton pump inhibitors are in high demand. It is an extremely profitable industry. And how many people buy zantac or other antacids like tums? Tons.
So it doesn’t serve your doctor to say, “Maybe it’s not acid reflux?” Much easier to just prescribe a pill and send you on your not-so-merry way.
But then the problem – the pain – continues. Because taking antacids and popping PPIs isn’t a solution. It’s a dirty band-aid that has that ability to make you even sicker.
What may lead to a solution? Finding out if you actually have acid reflux.
Through an easy, do-it-at-home test I got from a naturopath I found out my issues weren’t related to acid reflux at all, they were the result of low stomach acid, and something called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO.
And I’m going to share the test with you.
Here comes the ass-covering disclaimer:
- This is not a quick fix.
- Consult a physician (MD or ND) before trying this test or supplementing.
Here’s a super easy at home test to take to figure out if you have low or high stomach acid:
Upon waking mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 8 ounces of water. Drink it quickly.
Then, monitor how long it takes to have a large burp:
- Under 30 seconds: high stomach acid levels.
- 30 seconds to two minutes: normal stomach acid levels.
- Greater than 2 minutes or no burp at all: an indication of low stomach acid levels.
What to do next
Please read Medical Medium by Anthony William. Whether you have low or high stomach acid levels, it explains a lot of the symptoms associated with digestive issues like these and offers simple and effective ways to heal your gut.
Since I’ve begun to follow his suggestions I haven’t had any reflux type symptoms. Read more about it here. Or feel free to email me via address at the end of this post.
Healing Your Body
I’m lucky enough to have benefits that cover a lot of extended medical, which allowed me to pay for a naturopaths services and get access to this test I’ve shared with you today. Otherwise, I’d likely still be suffering, and wondering what was wrong with me.
Once I found out that my issue was related to low stomach acid, I paid 300 dollars for another at home test (that one wasn’t covered sadly.) It helped me determine that my issues were related to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO. (Fun fact, even my GP had heard about this.)
Regardless, there is no pill to fix this, save for some super hard on your body herbal remedies that make it so you can’t leave your house (READ: You’re stuck in the bathroom.)
I never ended up taking them because I didn’t want to traumatize myself any more than I already had been. And thankfully, upon following the medical medium suggested eating plan, I was able to quell the symptoms I was experiencing.
The healing didn’t happen overnight, but it started when I realized the power of food and its ability to heal or hinder my mental and physical health.
At the end of the day, I want everyone to be healthy and happy. And when I think of all the folks who have been on antacids and proton pump inhibitors for years, and they don’t even need them, I cringe.
Which is why I’m sharing this story, and the little test I took from home that helped me figure out I didn’t have acid reflux.
Questions about my experience? Happy to answer them. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s to healing our guts!