Acid Test

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Paula couldn’t believe the answer had been so easy.

She’d had irritable bowel for years. She had tried a lot of different things… Lactaid pills, trying to avoid some foods (a difficult thing since she had a family to feed), and various medicines and supplements. Maybe it was her liver, maybe she had SIBO. Things would improve briefly, but the symptoms always worsened again.

When Dr. Herrington suggested she might not have enough stomach acid, she said no way. She never had heartburn or stomach pain itself. She just had bloating after eating, and she needed to rush to the bathroom at various times of the day.

Dr. H explained that many people have low stomach acid. Without adequate stomach acid, food isn’t broken down well in the first main step of digestion. Acid helps the esophageal sphincter, at the top of the stomach, to stay closed. So reflux is actually caused by stomach acid being too low, which is the opposite of what traditional medicine believes. And acid helps the food move into the small intestine, where the pancreas and gall bladder are stimulated to secrete their digestive enzymes, helping to break down food even further.

Dr. Herrington suggested a simple test. “First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, take ¼ tsp of baking soda in about 4 ounces of water,” she said. “Time how long it takes to belch. Ideally it should be less than 3 minutes. But if it’s longer than 5 minutes, you have low stomach acid.”

She explained that the bicarb mixes with acid to form gas, which would make you belch.

Paula was sure her stomach was fine. But the next two mornings she was shocked to find herself belching after 8 minutes and 12 minutes! So she DID have low stomach acid!

She started drinking some apple cider vinegar in water before meals. And she ordered some Betaine HCl pills which were acid pills to use during meals.

Unbelievably she now had NORMAL bowels. No bloating, no rushing to the bathroom after meals. She couldn’t believe the answer had been so simple!

She was so glad to be a patient of Pine Creek Family Medicine’s DPC (Direct Primary Care) practice. Dr. Herrington had time to get to know her, and she was good at thinking outside the box.

Medicine the way it should be!