If you read any of the paperwork that comes with Acid Reflux medication you will see that the course of treatment is meant for 4 to 8 weeks. With an additional 4 to 8 week treatment if you do not respond to the first one. However, most doctors see fit to prescribe these medications for a lot longer and people can be on these things for years and years. Why?
I would like to offer my recipe for kicking the acid reflux drugs and getting back to a normal life. Of course this post is my opinion based off of personal experience and countless trials of finding the right methods.
I am not against doctors nor modern medicine, but I wanted to quit wasting countless hours at the doctors office, the vast amount of money I have spent, and the dependency I had on those drugs.
First and foremost - get the proper diagnoses. Go to the doctors/Gastroenterologist and have all the proper test done. Confirm that you do indeed have acid reflux (GERD) and not another condition.
If you are like me, you will have developed anxiety and will have several panic attacks the first few months. To me, this is the worst part of developing acid reflux. The symptoms and side effects leave you feeling horrible and may turn into depression. You need to treat this before you will be able to fully treat your acid reflux. Put in the back of your mind that you will be ok and that you are not going to die. You may need to have some therapy, but I would not recommend drugs if you can avoid them - they can cause whole other issues.
For the reflux: Initially you will have to start off on a drug to help repair/heal any damage done to your GI track. People respond differently to different drugs. Nexium may not work for you, but Aciphex might. You may have to try a couple before you find the one that works well. Go through the required treatment - 4 to 8 weeks.
During the treatment you will have to add or change things about your lifestyle and eating habits.
1) Quit smoking and drinking. An occasional drink is fine from time to time. Smoking does nothing but harm.
2) Don't eat while you are under any kind of stress, guilt, anxiety or fatigued. You are very likely to develop acid reflux symptoms under those conditions.
3) Eat smaller portions - the more you put in your stomach the more your stomach has to digest and undigested food is just cause for more problems.
4) Chew your food thoroughly, especially hard edged foods like crackers and chips. You want to prevent foods from scratching the lining of your esophagus which can lead to irritation and burning in your throat.
5) Drink plenty of water daily. Water is a natural laxative that will help move food through your system easier.
6) Exercise daily. Whether it be for a walk, working in the yard, playing a sport or what have you. Exercise keeps you healthy and mentally fit.
7) Take a multi-vitamin or eat a cereal like Total daily. This will help support your immune system, as well as keep a healthy body.
8) Eat an apple a few hours prior to eating dinner. Believe it or not, an apple a day before dinner will help keep acid reflux at bay.
9) Eat plenty of fiber containing foods to help keep you regular. Regular bowl movements help keep your system from backing up which can lead to bacteria growth.
10) Try and limit eating red meat. Even lean red meat still contains fat, and takes longer to digest which can trigger reflux.
11) Limit your fried food intact - try baked or grilled instead. Grease from frying can unsettle your stomach and trigger reflux.
12) Use home remedies (honey, aloe vera juice, ACV etc.) instead of OTC drugs (if possible) when you have heartburn or an upset stomach. They will help you stay clear of becoming drug dependent.
13) Enjoy life - the more you close yourself up and think about your health the more likely you will be to develop stress, anxiety and depression which will trigger more reflux attacks. Think positive.
So in closing, if you following what I have said above you should be able to kick the drugs for good. You may have a rebound effect from coming off of your drug, but don't go back - it will pass. You don't have to give up everything you like to eat, you just have to eat it in moderation and at the right time.
~Don NOTE: I am not a doctor, I am not trying to offer real medical advice which only a doctor can do. I am only expressing a personal opinion and it should be taking as such.