Finally Free From Prilosec OTC (How To Treat Acid Reflux Naturally)

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For the past five years my husband has had a drug addiction. His drug of choice? The little pink pill, commonly known as  Prilosec OTC. It started with heartburn and a visit to the doctor’s office, which led to a 14 day free trial pack of Prilosec, just enough to get him hooked. And then they had him.

For years I tried my best to get him to kick the habit. Those pills are quite expensive! And I feared what probable side effects were taking hold on him. But he had to have one. Every day. If he skipped a day he was in terrible digestive pain. I’d do everything I could to get him “clean” again. I tried to get him to change his diet, I tried home remedies, I even took the debit card away and forbid him to buy any more of that stuff. But just like a good enabler, when he began withdrawals and was truly in a lot of pain, I’d give in out of pity and let him get more.

But see, this is how they designed it. This is how they keep your money filling their pockets. You get heartburn, you take the medicine, which causes your body to produce more acid, which causes more heartburn. Then you take more medicine to control the problem, but it only makes you dependent. It’s a vicious cycle.

When my husband lost his job a few months ago, we really had to tighten our belts. And food was top priority over meds. When that last box of pink pills ran out, it was out for good. No matter how much he wanted it, my husband knew that we just could not afford to feed his addiction any longer. We determined to learn how to treat acid reflux naturally.

The first two weeks were tough. TOUGH. Poor guy! He was miserable. The acid reflux was so bad, and he was really hurting. I searched every home remedy I could find, and made him try them all. Although Apple Cider Vinegar is highly recommended, it did not work for Jerry. He tried baking soda, with little relief. But what helped him get through his days the most was eating an apple. Every time his chest would start to burn, he’d eat a little more apple.  That was the only thing that eased the discomfort. As the third week rolled around, the heartburn wasn’t constant any longer, but only came occasionally. What was triggering it?

We took a good look at his diet, and tried to take note of things that he ate before his acid reflux would kick in. It didn’t take us long to figure out the trend. Soda, Spaghetti (sauce), Hot Dogs (ketchup), Chocolate milk (syrup)… Yes, all of these things in themselves are not good for you, but the key ingredient in all of them is High Fructose Corn Syrup. We had a major Ah-Ha! moment. As soon as Jerry stopped eating foods with HFCS in them, his acid reflux went away.

Completely.

I am proud to say that my husband has been free from Prilosec OTC for 4 months now! I was afraid he’d never break the habit. What a relief it is to know that he doesn’t have to depend on pharmaceuticals to get by every day. And now I don’t have to worry about the side effects of taking these pills daily. Part of being self-sufficient is breaking the dependence on the pharmaceutical industry, and learning to treat yourself with natural remedies (as much as possible).

I’m proud of him for toughing it out! It wasn’t easy, but SO worth it.

*UPDATE: Well, it’s Nov. 1st, 2012, and I’m happy to report that my husband has been heartburn free for over two years now! He hasn’t had to take a single pill since I first wrote this post. If he can do it, so can you.


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Kendra
About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

38 Comments

  1. I love your website! I am just starting to get very serious about natural remedies. Most recently because of a bacterial infection that kept coming back.
    I was diagnosed with Barrett’s disease a few months ago and put on nexium 40 mg. it was actually an accident that I stopped taking it. Because of the bacterial infection and not wanting to take antibiotic drugs, I started using an antibacterial tea concoction that I came up with by researching antibacterial herbs and using what I had on hand. Later, I purchased goldenseal tincture also.
    Before the infection diagnosis, I was too sick and forgot to take the nexium. After I decided to drink the tea, I was afraid of the interactions and just stopped taking it altogether.
    Ironically, during my research, I also discovered nexium has corn starch in it and my Barrett’s disease is probably caused by being allergic to corn and not knowing until I was 46.
    Although the antibacterial tea and alcohol based goldenseal can irritate my Barrets disease, it is actually better since I stopped the nexium.
    I have just today started drinking marshmallow root and leaf tea, and that helps a lot also. (Also how I found your site / looking for a real marshmallow recipe because modern marshmallows have corn syrup)
    My favorite site to do research on herbs and conditions is http://www.anniesremedy.com
    I know I’ll be back on your site – it has so much info!

  2. I just stumbled across your blog and find it mind blowing trying to get off a PPI. I was taking Nexium 40mgs for years and started to have the same symptoms it was supposed to cure. I wanted off badly after I started doing some research into the side effects. I blame myself for not doing so years ago. However, I decided I wanted to be off PPI’s so I switched from 40mgs Nexium to 20mgs Prilosec but I am having some bad days. It has been 3 weeks since I did that. Will I ever get off? Maybe in time. My next move is to alternate days with 15mgs Prevacid and see how that goes. I have changed my diet to very bland and alkaline as possible but it is so difficult. Very interesting reading here because not everything works for everyone.

    • I’m doing something similar with allergy medicine. It’s been totally eye opening. It’s going to take a long time for me too, but it’s a journey I’ll happily make!
      Hoping you’re a little bit more free now!

  3. Well, I’m really happy for your hubby! I’ve been suffering for months. Though 2 days ago I started my 3 month stint of Prilosec (they say it could take that long to get rid of it). Nothing else has helped me. I tried ACVinegar, digestive enzymes, a detox thing called Flor Essence, staying off gluten and tomatoes, no soda/chocolate/coffee – everything! I can barely have anything. But it persists. I was searching by ‘Prilosec success story’ and found you. I think I HAVE to try the Prilosec for at least 1 month and see what happens. But then, I’m going to try your method. It’s been quite an awful ride! But I’ll beat this GERD!

    Best to you and your hubby,
    Robin H.

  4. After seven years of being on Prilosec, I am starting my journey toward recovery today. I was put on Prilosec when I had ulcers in 2007 and I have tried several times to stop. Its a Catch-22 type drug, but I am determined to get off of it. Thank you for this insight. I stopped with the HFCS months ago and have already noticed a big difference.
    I have also found a few natural herbs that people are recommending. DGL and Mastic gum. I’ m hoping this works!!

  5. I have had heartburn “Gerd” for 20+ years – have used Prilosec for 6 week treatments off and on but most recently have used it everyday for the last 9 mths and 1 unsuccessful attempt to get off it completely due to horrible rebound heartburn lasting 4 weeks – I am constantly taking Pepcid complete and Mylanta for any minor tummy complaint because I am so afraid of symptoms . Last 2 days I have cut my dosage in half 40 mg to 20 mg . I have recently developed hemifacial dysethesia due to Prilosec . Anybody else have such a reaction ?

  6. I stopped taking Prilosec OTC a week ago due to having muscle spasms in my legs thought to be low magnesium level. I have replaced it with Pepcid AC once a day. Muscle spasms went away within 2 days. So far residual heartburn is tolerable with a Tumms if needed. Hopefully I can reduce Pepcid in a couple weeks. Just glad to be rid of leg cramps. Am going to try the apple. How does the Apple Cider vinegar work? I would think that would just create more acid.

    • Apple cider vinegar, like lemon juice, while acidic by itself, is converted to alkaline in the body’s system. An alkaline system is healthy, acidic is not. Some folks do well w/acv, some it doesn’t help(it is still good to take, if you can)..

  7. I am so glad to hear your story. I have been on Prilosec for years. I recently read about & tried the apple thing. I wasn’t as consistent as I should have been, also got some relief from baking soda. I am going to try this again, and watch the HFCS as I believe this is a major problem in many areas. I think cut up apple in the fridge would be a good idea since I may not want a whole apple every time my stomach burns. Thank you for the support & ideas.

  8. i need help badly, I have been off Prilosec 40mg for 8 days now, I did it cold turkey due to terrible side affects. I needed to stop the stuff. i did not know I shouldnt do it cold turkey. My question is this. I was doing ok and now on the 8th day i am in lots o pain, foggy head, etc. Tried ACV, Honey, Lecithin Granules, eating small amount of apple, DGL. The Lecithin seemed to help a little. Should I just tough it out now, or go back to the PILL every couple days and wean down from there???? It seems like a waste to do that at this point, but how long can I expect this rebound pain to continue??? I can take anything if I know it will end eventually. Please reply soon. I can’t believe this situation i have gotten myself into! Thank you so much for listening,
    Karla

    • Hi Karla,

      I can’t give medical advice, but I can tell you that it took about 2 weeks for my husband’s pain to finally go away. Make sure that you stop eating ANYTHING with High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. You wouldn’t believe how much stuff it’s in- practically everything nowadays, so be diligent reading labels. Avoiding HFCS should help reduce your pain. Good luck!!

  9. can’t tell you how happy i am i found your site and this post. i have been wanting to get off prilosec for years now, my husband and i are both on it for almost 6+ years. i have heard changing your diet to organic is a huge help in aiding with getting off long term meds (heard a lot of success stories) but am going to try the apple trick your husband did! did he use any instant-relief antacids like pepcid or tums to help in the mean time or strictly apples? curious to know! thank you for sharing this!!

  10. Allison… my husband was having severe leg cramps every night…. the doctor prescribed quinine tablets… which are very inexpensive… and I would only give him one if he had a cramp.. the cramp would be gone within a minute…. he finally was diagnosed with CMT.. Charco Marie Tooth Syndrome… he needs to sit when he feels the need and stand when he needs to… so his job of standing at a table saw for his job for 10 hours a day was a big problem… they finally put him on disability… as soon as he was able to sit or stand as needed.. his cramping quit.. he now gets a cramp maybe a few times a year.. but not nearly as bad..Good luck.

  11. Thank you for the wonderful information! Now would you happen to know of a way to rid my husband from his VERY painful leg/muscle cramps? He is currently taking CALM, a natural muscle relaxing powder that he mixes with water. This is very expensive $22.00 for 8 ounces.

    Allison

    • Allison,

      I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s leg cramps. That sounds horrible. If I were you, I’d start by researching what could possibly be the underlying cause. It isn’t normal to have cramps like that, something must be causing it. Maybe he’s lacking something in his diet? Or possibly something in his diet is causing the reaction? How long has he had this problem? I’m confident there is a solution, you just might have to do some experimenting on the poor man before you figure it out, lol 🙂 Wish I knew more to tell you!

  12. Thank you, my DH will benefit from all this information, I can’t wait to share it with him. Does anyone know of a natural anti-inflamatory? I have to take a very strong one due to neck fusion issues, I’m not relishing the long term side effects of these meds and would love some other way to handle the pain and inflamation.

  13. I forgot to thank you two years ago Kendra! I had been reading your posts all summer and my husband had been going through medical test after medical test all summer too. They tested his heart, because he had a heavy feeling in his chest. When that didn’t come up with anything, they sent him off to the digestive dr. and check everything! They couldn’t find anything so they put him on that little pink pill too… Not the way we do things in this family… This was around July of 2010. In August when I read this post, we definitely knew it was it! He drank soda all the time and I started looking at all of the ingredients on the labels of everything else that seemed to trigger his pain. All the things that made his chest hurt and feel like an elephant was standing on it contained HFCS! That was all thrown out and we went to the apple orchard for apples to get him through. Cured and off meds in a couple of weeks! Now two years later and no meds and no HFCS and no pain! Oh he knows it if he has it though! Ice cream from the local dairy sweet store… This also helped two of my other kiddos and myself. We had the heart burn after eating somethings and couldn’t explain it. I’ve spread the word to other friends and they have tried no HFCS diets too and they feel much better! Thank you so much for posting this!!! I’d been praying for an answer and this was it :)LOL! I’m from corn country and don’t like supporting any of their products…except sweet corn! Blessings to your family 🙂

    • Annissa,

      How AWESOME!!!! What a blessing it was for me to read your story! Thank you so much for sharing that with me! How wonderful 🙂 I am so glad you were able to figure out the problem, and aren’t having to rely on pharmaceuticals to get by. GOOD FOR YOU!!!

  14. Wow–I have been on prylosec for 2 years–I am currently off it for the past 11 days–the acid has been kicking up in my tummy for the past 9 days and is scaring me a bit. I almost want to go back on the pill. After reading this post–I think I will not go back. If I go down in flames it will not be lining the the OTC fat cat’s pockets.

    I have changed my diet for the last 8 months–which really helped–no dairy, no gluten, no sugar of any kind except in berries or mangoes. DO THE DIET–even though it sucks to not have a beer around your friends or eat candy on halloween–it will stop the burning. I just wish I could get rid of this last bit of acid.

    Good luck to all of you who are suffering worse than I.

  15. I have that same problem! HFCS is evil stuff, ma’am. I feel (or rather, felt) your husband’s pain! Its amazing how better one can feel physically when we cut that crud out of our diets.

  16. Praise God your post has been a Blessing for me. I to have to take that pill,I got it bad. I have been so worried about the side effects and also what if I can’t get the little pink pill any more.

    I don’t like medication and thats the only thing I take to help with Acid Reflux.

    I’m so going to follow and not eat the things that bring it on. Oh do you know how happy I am to know this : ) Thank You, Bless you both.

    So wonderful that you found the answer. I will be sharing this to others for sure.

    Just good stuff all around, my Survival Seeds came yesterday from Home Town Seeds : ) Will be blogging in a bit and share about your site as well.

    Have a wonderful weekend
    tc linda

    Thank you so very much

  17. For my husband it was anything that is high-carb. We discovered this “cure” for his heartburn when he went on the Atkins Diet. POOF! No more burn. All it took to go back to heartburn was a piece of bread or a glass of tea.

    So, you might watch the other stuff, too. In some cases it might not ONLY be HFCS.

  18. Kendra, I’m so excited to hear that your husband is cured! I can relate because I’ve suffered from acid reflux for almost 4 years. However, mine is due to a small hiatal hernia (hereditary tendency). I took about 3 different prescriptions and one finally worked, which allowed my esophagus to heal some, but it shuts down your stomach acid which you really SHOULD have, just not OUTSIDE your stomach.

    Surgery was not an option, but I found that by changing my diet, I could almost eliminate the symptoms entirely. I can no longer eat chocolate, spicy foods, lots of citrus, mint, or drink coffee or tea (unless I drink a low acid version). If I really want one of these items, I can choose to take a pepcid ac, but on a regular basis I just avoid these foods so I can avoid the meds and keep my stomach acid to properly digest food.

    Just thought I share in case some of your readers have the same issue. HFCS certainly can be the culprit for some people, but unfortunately, the cure wasn’t so simple for myself. Wish it were!

  19. I used to take Prevacid.

    I even took it during pregnancy, and all three of my boys have congenital birth defects. I just wrote about this topic on my blog last week – you can read it here
    http://coveredbyhishand.blogspot.com/2010/07/when-doctors-ignore-obvious.html

    Anyway, for me the biggest trigger was probably caffeine, which is also in soda, coffee, and chocolate. Not only that, but I started drinking water almost exclusively – the full 2 qts recommended per day, or more! I stopped drinking soda all together! And, my heartburn is gone! (If I ever decide to have a cup of regular coffee, I will have heartburn and indigestion all day.)

    Thanks for getting the word out! I want to see more people looking to natural cures than popping pills!

    Bethany

    • Bethany,

      My husband and I will be starting a family soon, and I am having a hard time getting off of Prilosec no matter what I do. I’ve lost 20 pounds, quit all fast food, tried ACV, stopped drinking any caffeine, no gluten, don’t have a sweet tooth so no sugar, all organic fruits/veggies, tried Standard Process/Medi-herb supplements to increase acid production (that was awful), etc. I’ve also had 2 endoscopies and a file cabinet worth of labs only to find out that I have IgA deficiency. What abnormalities did it give your children if you don’t mind me asking? I am trying my best to come up with alternatives..

  20. My doctor got me hooked on that stuff 12 years ago. I found drinking 16 oz of water helped mine. It’s only a false fix – temporary – with long term negative impact so that your heartburn gets worse and worse if you stop taking the meds. Then I started following the Mercola website, eating healthier, and cutting lots of stuff out of my diet.

    I found eating lots of fiber foods, drinking plenty of fluids, and cutting out almost all fruitcose/sugars makes a BIG difference. I also have problems with peanut butter, gluten, and pasteurized milk. But drinking enough fluids seems to be my big one.

  21. Thanks for posting this. I have been on some sort of heartburn medicine for over ten years. I wake up in the middle of the night with acid reflux were the acid would come up and then go down into my lungs. I would be up for hours coughing up acid out of my lungs. In the past month I have gone on an almost complete organic diet. In that time I have not had any problems. I am going to go off my meds and see what happens. Thanks again.

  22. If you are up to it you can can your Ketchup and spagnetti sauce (Mrs. Wages makes the mix if you are not sure the first time) : ) it’s delicious and no more HFCS! The ski of the tomato is really hard to digested as well but when you can you take out the skin. Proud of your husband to try the natural way!

  23. Thank you so much for posting this..My husband has been on the wicked pill for 6 years now…I have tried to tell him it is the diet…it’s the chemicals and garbage in our diets..I read it to him this morning as he was eating his breakfast…Thank you again for this information…We are changing our lives in alot of areas and our food is one of them…You have an awesome blog..Lisa

  24. A few years ago I suffered a sudden case of GERD that would not go away with the OTC remedy I tried. I used some DGL Licorice pills for the first week (they taste terrible but work) and began taking the herb astragalus everyday. Astragalus is an adaptogen or body-balancer that is very inexpensive in standardized capsule form. I am very antidrug and choose to inform myself before rushing to the MD. I take one astragalus capsule daily and have not suffered any more acid distress.

    Kudos to you for finally pinpointing the cause of your husband’s problem.

  25. My husband took Prilosec for 6 years and I agree. They are really expensive. Finally I read somewhere that most people that have chronic heart burn are deficient in vitamin D. When he started taking vitamin D everyday he was able to stop the Prilosec. Ah, such a big sigh of relief.

  26. Its funny that you blogged about this. A friend and I were just talking about this a few weeks ago. She mentioned eating an apple to. I had never heard this before. My dh has had severe heartburn and now I know what to tell him.:) Thanks.:)
    Sharon:)

  27. Wow, HFCS was the culprit?! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. 🙂 So glad you guys figured it out and he is feeling better now.

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