Scott: A very common condition that so many people are dealing with is GERD or acid reflux. What is really happening when we have that? What is happening inside our stomach?
Dr. Gerard Mullin: I tell ya, there's a number of things that could be happening with people with that being the final common pathway. Rarely... I don't see a lot of people who have hyper secretion of acid. It's just the acid is coming up in abnormal quantities. It's not like their producing too much acid, it's just coming up. There's other people, it's not acid at all that's the issue, it's something called bile, which is made in the liver and helps digest fats. And that's coming up the wrong way. For other people there's motility or movement disorders that there's impairments in clearance up in the esophagus. Or the stomach is not clearing things too well and things are coming up in the wrong direction. Other people, they may structurally have a hiatal hernia, that can make them more susceptible to reflux. A number of things are going on on a pathophysiological basis and there's other people who have just normal amounts of reflux but they're more sensitive to the reflux that's there. And that hypersensitivity can come from stresses as one of those connectors.
Scott: Can that, is that something that can be treated naturally with by just improving gut health? I mean there's so many different medications that people take...
Dr. Mullin: Yeah.
Scott: Is there a natural option?
Dr. Mullin: Well it's going back to your question 'can I do whatever I want and take a probiotic?' And I think that's people's first choice. If they can go and run and take the Tums or pop the Prilosec or whatever it is. They'd rather do that and kind of live their lives. But certainly being overweight, too much coffee, too much... different products. High fat diet. Those things can lead to reflux and lifestyle modifications can help. But there's studies showing that it only helps maybe a quarter of the people who try it because they don't stick with it. So... and those people, maybe, you have to look more aggressively at what to do. But I think the first thing you have to do is look at your lifestyle and how you can change it. And it's hard to do. For some people it's very hard to do, but I think that's the first thing you need to do.
Scott: You see the commercials for those medications. The over the counter, you know there's that guy eating the big chili dog, but as long as he's taking his purple pill first, he's good to go. Isn't that sending the wrong message and just kind of perpetuating the vicious cycle?
Dr. Mullin: It's just part of the aftermath of direct to consumer advertising. Yeah, you can just have people.... give them what they want. Do your chili, do your Prilosec and have a happy life.
Do you really have acid reflux or could it be something else? Dr. Gerard Mullin discusses a couple of other issues that could have similar symptoms as acid reflux. He also discusses the wildly popular over-the-counter medications for acid reflux and what constant use of those might mean. Take a look because your acid reflux might be something else!
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