I am excited to share with you my story of how I went from using Western medicine for my acid reflux and found relief with a natural remedy, apple cider vinegar.
Young and Stubborn
I woke up feeling like my torso was made of cement. “At the age of 19 I shouldn’t be hurting this bad. Not until I’m older. Maybe I am just getting old.”
Skip forward 8 years.
It started with a slight discomfort under my ribcage. “Maybe it’s a pulled muscle”, I reassure myself. A variety of pains occur throughout the day in my torso. They are tolerable enough to ignore them, but nagging enough to seek out relief.
I WebMD my symptoms. Appendicitis, gallstones, and kidney stones all sound scary, uncomfortable, and a major inconvenience to my busy life. I converse with myself, “I could go to the doctor, but I really think whatever my issue is can be diagnosed with some trial and error.” In one list of possible diseases and disorders I see acid reflux disease. That one looks common and easy to fix! Let’s troubleshoot that and see if we feel better.
The Western Medicine Approach
Everyone who has grown up in Western Culture knows how to treat heartburn. It’s in TV shows and movies all the time. The solution: Take some chewable antacids. If that doesn’t work the commercials recommend escalating to a proton-pump inhibitor. Tums kind of work, but I’m getting tired of taking 8 peppermint chalk tablets a day. How about them PPIs?
I scroll through the many options for proton-pump inhibitors on Amazon. I’m convinced to go name brand since some reviews stated that Prilosec OTC was the only thing that worked for them. A few dollars more for a higher chance of relief? Fine, I’ll take it.
Fourteen days go by and I notice I am experiencing relief. A month after finishing the Prilosec I am still feeling fine. Not perfect – just fine. The stomach discomfort gradually comes back and I start taking a generic Omeprazole, which is a generic for Prilosec. Discomfort returns to the ‘fine’ status.
A few weeks go by. I still have the discomfort. Then it hits. I wake up more sore than ever before, then the next night, then the next. Early morning hours haunt me. I wake up and flinch before committing to moving my torso. This pain has been off an on for a few months now. Rolling over sometimes works. Other times I have to prop myself up just to get some relief. “Maybe I just need a new bed. This one I’m sleeping on is at least 15 years old. Aren’t you supposed to replace your mattress every seven years or something?”
So I bought a new bed. Same story, different bed.
A Simpler Approach to Acid Reflux Disease
“There has to be something that gives me relief!” I argue at 4AM on my reasonable priced but more-comfortable-than-the-previous mattress. Maybe the solution is simpler than shoving medicine in my mouth? I remember a post on reddit’s GERD subreddit where some guy was raving about how Apple Cider Vinegar solved all his acid reflux issues. I tell myself I should at least try it tomorrow morning. It couldn’t hurt.
That morning I skim the Google results of ‘apple cider vinegar for acid reflux’. One article stands out: ‘Why You Should Use Apple Cider Vinegar Instead of Antacids and Baking Soda for Indigestion’ by Thomas Corriher. I’m a little turned off by the spelling of ‘wise’ in healthwyze.com but figure I can give them a chance. One excerpt resonates with me.
Being acidic is the natural state of the stomach, so there is no such thing as an excess of acid or acid buildup regarding the stomach. It is like claiming that the lungs suffer from excess oxygen, or the blood has an excess of red cells. Attempting to neutralize stomach acid to treat an uneasy stomach is as wise as treating an excess of blood cells with leaches. Both cases are demonstrations of using poor medicine to treat only the symptoms of nonexistent medical conditions, of which the establishment either cannot accurately diagnose, or it is too unprofitable to do so.
Sound reasoning. The article proceeds to be skeptical of Western medicine and big pharma, which is a big turnoff for me. However, I need relief and the above paragraph had some logic behind it, so I’ll give it a shot.
An Apple Vinegar a Day…
I stand in my kitchen holding a shot of apple cider vinegar in front of my face. The smell induces a gag reflex. Bottoms up!
Instantly I regret my decision. My mouth races for the faucet. I chug enthusiastically like a dehydrated gerbil, rinsing until bitter bite subsides.
An hour passes and I notice something, something different. I don’t have that weird feeling in my stomach. There are still some sensitive spots, but I’m at a level of comfort I haven’t felt in months! Maybe there is something to this apple cider vinegar thing!
More Googling yields a popular way of taking it is to mix a small amount of apple cider vinegar with cold water. I attempt this method that night and it goes down much easier. Still somewhat vile, but nothing like the last time.
At night I sleep propped up with a pillow under my shoulders. This has been the most pain-free way to sleep. I drift off hoping the apple cider vinegar is the answer.
I wake the next morning. Flinch… and nothing. There’s a miniscule level of pain. I grin and halfway laugh to myself, “No fucking way.”
Three days pass and the discomfort is very low. I’ve started to notice other changes – things that I didn’t even know were wrong. For example – TMI alert – my bowels seem more normal and not uncomfortable like they have been for the past… forever? The last time they felt this comfortable was when I did Whole 30 last year (which I quit after a week). I also seem to be able to speak easier, especially in the morning.
I do more research on apple cider vinegar and learn that I should be drinking the fancy ones in the glass bottle with the mother and a bunch of scummy stuff floating inside of it. Remaining not a fan of the taste, I Google alternatives. I find many vendors with apple cider vinegar pills on Amazon, which I conclude have to be more appealing than drinking it.
And that’s where I leave you. I no longer take any acid reflux medication. I am currently waiting on the apple cider vinegar pills to come in. If they work, great. If not, it’s back to the bitter juice. However, if you asked me to stop taking the apple cider vinegar you’d have to do some convincing, because right now the affects are too good to be true.
How to Take Apple Cider Vinegar
I take 1 oz of Apple Cider Vinegar diluted in 12 oz of water after breakfast and dinner. I make the water as cold as possible and am sure to stir the apple cider vinegar in so the bitterness is at a minimum through the drink. The colder water helps keep the bitterness down. With your nose facing away from the drink take a deep breath in, then chug the concoction. I typically feel relief within a few minutes.
Consult With Your Doctor
Look in the mirror. That’s the person responsible for your health. Always consult with your doctor before putting anything questionable in your body. With that being said, it is just vinegar. I imagine one could use the same amount of vinegar in a salad dressing on a large salad.
Did It Work for You?
Let me know if this worked for you! Have you had good experiences with Apple Cider Vinegar? What have you done to help your acid reflux disease?