a pile of pastel coloured indigestion relief tablets

Indigestion and the dark side of its relief

Indigestion tablets were a part of my life for some 30 years. I’ve had severe bouts of indigestion, but I had no idea that for many, taking them often leads to the use of a heavy weight group of drugs with a very dark side.

I remember complaining of an achy tummy and my mum saying, “I’ve got a something for that.” I hated the chalky mint flavoured Rennie, but it did the job.

Later, when they came in fruit flavoured Tums I was over the moon, and I went through a period of popping them like sweets.

Boy, have I suffered with indigestion

I’ve had bouts of indigestion so bad I’ve had to lie down with the pain of it. It once occurred on a date with a gorgeous boy who I’d travelled all the way to Stoke to see. It was super embarrassing, not to mention a passion killer!

I was even rushed to A&E with excruciating indigestion after my twin’s 7th birthday party. I think the stress of 30 sugar hyped kids and a bouncy castle were to blame, but that’s another story.

Until I was 40 it never occurred to me that it was the food I was eating causing the indigestion. I just thought I’d inherited the condition. Both my mum and grandmother had suffered with it. And the Rennie seemed like a harmless answer.

11 years indigestion free

It’s only since ridding myself of gluten, sugar and chemicals masquerading as food that I’ve lived 11 years indigestion free.

During those 11 years of nutrition discovery, the biggest shock has been finding out the damage being inflicted on patients going to their doctor to seek indigestion relief when the Rennie are no longer doing the job.

The really bad news for health are the ‘prazole’ drug group

My ex-husband is a prime example. He was prescribed Omeprazole for acid reflux, one of the ‘prazole’ family of drugs, before I even met him.

Omeprazole is one of a group of drugs called Proton Pump Inhibitors or PPI’s (not to be confused with the PPI’s you were sold by banks in the 1990’s and 2000’s!).

PPI’s are overprescribed meds

PPI’s are the second most prescribed group of drugs behind statins. Their job is to mask the production of stomach acid in people with acid reflux etc.

It’s no wonder that they are overprescribed seeing as most of the UK are eating the industrially processed standard UK diet which is super indigestible.

In 2018 my ex-husband had been taking Omeprazole for 23 years when it came to my attention via my nutrition work that PPI medication should be taken for no longer than 14 days.

14 days! And I’ve just learned that you can now purchase low dose Omeprazole over the counter. Which might mean that unsuspecting long term acid sufferers will graduate to these from the Rennie and their use will go unmonitored.

Long term suppression of normal acid producing function has consequences

I was more and more alarmed when I read the side effects of PPI meds, such as crumbling spine (he’d had back problems for years) as well as damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, and gut. These are massive potentially life-threatening consequences.

The huge problem was that to ween himself off these drugs he would have to go through an excruciating period of overactive acid production.

I located a protocol that included a less harmful medication called sucralfate and our doctor was very sympathetic and agreed to prescribe it.

He went through hell to get off the meds

I must tell you he went through hell. I supported him by providing foods that went a little way to helping. It helped more after he’d successfully tapered their use which took almost 3 months to achieve.

Since then, I have been appalled at how often people I know have been prescribed these dangerous drugs. I get that doctors have no time to discuss how a patient eats and that their version of providing relief is a pharmaceutical one. But this is a far cry from a solution.

The only solution to resolve indigestion

If you are experiencing indigestion your body is alerting you to the fact that the food isn’t doing its job and it needs to change.

If you need a protocol for coming off PPI meds or if you want to rid yourself of the symptoms by eating the best food let’s talk. Get in touch via the contacts tab above.

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