I’m currently in my mid-40s. Since I was in grade school, I’ve struggled with acid reflux – popping Tums and Rolaids every night for years, up through and beyond college. Then in my 20s, it got worse and I felt like I had a knot in my throat – food was getting stuck in my throat when I would eat. I had an endoscopy done and was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. They said it was the diameter was too great for surgery- the doctor put me on Nexium and I’ve been taking it ever since.
It worked like a charm until about 4-5 years ago where out of nowhere I woke up choking on vile acid, unable to breathe and desperately trying to catch my breath and clear my throat. From there, things got worse – many nights of waking up choking and gasping for air, feeling like it’s aspirated into my lungs and spending the next hour or two trying to gently cough and clear my throat/lungs of the burning/vile acid without throwing up, painful projectile vomiting, and many sleepless nights of sitting up straight to prevent another episode. My throat is likely damaged as I can hear a weezing sound when I deeply exhale.
Over the years, I’ve done lots of research on my issue and have received tons of solicited and unsolicited advice as to how to best treat it. To add confusion, there’s much conflicting information as to whether GERD is due to too little/too much acid and what is the best treatment, aside from completely eliminating trigger foods from one’s diet.
What I do know, however, is that once I started taking about 1-2 tablespoons of Braggs apple cider vinegar mixed with honey (for taste) and about 6-8 oz of water each night before bed, I have not experienced any nightly choking episodes. I drink it through a straw to minimize contact with my teeth. I pair this with not eating my known trigger foods late in the evening (like cutoff around 7 pm) – this includes tomato based foods, greasy foods, spicy foods, pasta and cream based sauces, heavy carbs, chocolate, alcohol, dairy and ice cream, etc (in sum, all of my favorite foods).
Since I travel frequently for work, I also purchased Apple Cider Vinegar pills which are easy to take while on the road. They seem to be just as effective.
Now that I’m more aware of the damage that PPIs can cause when used long term, I hope to ween off and utilize the apple cider vinegar solution, or at least a lower dosage of the PPI and/or one that is less damaging. Having a family history of osteoporosis, the importance of getting off PPIs is even more important. I’ve tried to stop taking Nexium cold turkey before but that didn’t work out well – so for the time being, I’m continuing to take 40 mg generic Nexium (Esomeprazole) every morning and drink my apple cider vinegar concoction at night. In the meantime I’ve scheduled with a new GI doctor and plan to get an endoscopy and acid test done – and hopefully one day, I will be free of PPIs.