Sudden onset of acid reflux could be prompted by dietary alteration.
HEALTH Suddenly diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), I was confused, suspicious, and distraught. Then, the underlying cause was detected and eliminated virtually overnight. Sharing what was discovered requires some seemingly unrelated background leading to the GERD diagnosis.
As we age, the joints' synovial fluid begins to dry up. This can lead to arthralgia, myalgia and discomfort. Weight gain, jogging on hard surfaces (particularly with ill-fitted shoes), kneeling or other activities place additional stress on joints. Non-surgical remedies include everything from increased water consumption to fish oil and shark cartilage supplements.
Symptoms Emerge While Trying To Get Fit
Patient Story: At the advice of well-meaning doctors, I began a daily 20-minute jogging routine around the neighborhood. Gains achieved in stamina were quickly diminished by symptoms of knee pain within a few weeks. In an aggressive effort to combat the new-found pain, I returned from the local vitamin store to buy fish oil supplements. About a month later, abdominal cramps and acid reflux was a daily problem.
My primary physician referred me for a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy that confirmed GERD. The physician, convinced this was a normal part of the aging process, prescribed a "lifetime" supply of Pepcid (an over-the-counter antacid that reduces acid production). The jogging ceased while I began taking Pepcid with my vitamins and fish oil capsules. Stomach cramping continued with mild reflux.
Something's Fishy About My Oil. Puzzled at how GERD became so pronounced within a couple of months, I began researching a connection between reflux and fish oil. In some cases usage is promoted as a remedy. However, poor quality, rancid fish oil can cause unwanted side effects, including GERD. Armed with this information, fish oil supplements were discontinued. Within a few days, there was no reflux and the antacids were no longer apart of my diet.
Physicians and Patients Learn From this Experience
- Discuss vitamin consumption with patient complaints of reflux or abdominal cramping
- Fish oil supplements are perishable. Avoid rancid capsules.
- Do not assume GERD is a "normal" part of life.
- Avoid tendency to treat the symptom without discovering the underlying cause.
- Do not jog on cement, asphalt or other hard surfaces without proper shoes. Walking or jogging on grass or a clay track field is preferred.
Clinical studies have long established a strong overlap between GERD and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that exceeds the individual presence of each condition. In the absence of GERD, IBS is relatively uncommon. Though more clinical studies are required to confirm, preventing or controlling GERD may have positive outcomes for IBS.