|A Digestive Dilema
Over a year ago, Max came in for an office visit. Max is a 76 year old retired school teacher who was recently diagnosed with Barret’s Esophagitis. Barret’s is an inflammation of the esophagus that is caused by chronic irritation, usually from Reflux. It is a concern because the cell changes can sometimes be pre-cancerous.
Max was given Nexium to take but he was not tolerating it well and wanted an alternative treatment. In taking his case, he reported having digestive issues for sometime. He said that he really had to decrease his protein intake because it really bothered him with lots of gas and bloating and intestinal pressure.
I explained to him that it sounded to me like the cause of his problem was actually low stomach acid. Acid is needed for digestion and especially for protein digestion. Without enough the proteins have a harder time being broken down into amino acids. The undigested protein can ferment and cause more gas and bloating issues.
This low acid or hypochlorhydria could be the problem causing more of the reflux symptoms. The Cardiac spincter is a valve between the stomach and the esophagus. It will get the signal to close tightly when there is lots of acid in the stomach. If it is low, the valve might not close enough and the acid that is there could irritate the tissue.
Max began taking a digestive aid to help acid production and began to feel better. He cancelled his two week follow up and I didn’t hear from him for 12 months. He came back in after a year to let me know that he has been taking the digestive aid for the entire time and it really helped. He also showed me the follow up endoscopy report that showed no signs of Barret’s. We both were happy with this news.