Acid Reflux and Menopause: Everything You Need To Know

Image result for heartburn and menopause

This article explains the relationship of menopause with GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease) to women of all ages. For generations women approached menopause and acid reflux with lack of knowledge about the two seemingly different but interrelated problems. A clear understanding about the complex relationship between the two can help you a lot in dealing effectively with both, successfully. Even if you are about a decade short of your menopausal age, this information can help you prepare yourself better for the future. Those who suffer from GERD, irrespective of their age, can really change their approach to the menacing problem after reading this article. Are you ready to change your perception and bring in the necessary paradigm shift? If yes, then continue to read below.

Prevalence & Statistics: Conservative vs. Neo-Liberal Approach

According to “Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 18th Edition” 40% Americans report acid reflux at least once in a month. While 7-10% of them report acid reflux daily. 1 Another PubMed study found 60% Americans to experience it once in a month with 20-30% experiencing it on a weekly basis. 2 Even if we go with the conservative figures of Harrison’s, the situation is alarming. The first study that highlighted a possible relationship between the acid reflux and menopause was PUBLISHED in 1977. 3

Recent studies have evaluated the epidemiological data for both the problems and now we exactly know the gravity of the situation. The largest study conducted in menopausal women with detailed information about the HRT and GERD symptoms is “The Nurses’ Health Study Cohort”. This study was conducted over a period of 26 years starting in 1976 and featuring 121,700 nurses, which makes it the perfect tool to draw some valuable inferences. 4 This study showed that 18% women experienced acid reflux in menopause. Later studies that reevaluated the same data for further information found that those who used postmenopausal hormone therapies prior to their menopause was at an increased risk of acid reflux with numbers going up to 25%.

If you think that was it, you are mistaken

Those women who continue to take hormone therapies (Estrogen use was the most common hormone therapy at that time and still continue to be the most common therapy) were at the greatest risk. 28% women taking estrogen are likely to experience GERD symptoms. 5 Those women who took a combination of estrogen and progesterone were 6% less likely to develop acid reflux. So if you must take a hormone therapy in menopause, let it be a combination of estrogen & progesterone.

The Rattling Question: Whether acid reflux is caused by menopause?

The answer is yes. Another cohort study published in 2012 clearly demonstrated that acid reflux is one of the many problems caused by menopause. Though not all menopausal women expe/rience it. 6If a menopausal women has a history of GERD then her acid reflux is going to be worse during the peri-menopause (the period around the onset of menopause that is often marked by various physical signs such as hot flashes and menstrual irregularity) and menopause. 7 Above statistics show that there is a hormonal component to the acid reflux in menopausal women. Hormone replacement therapies (PMH, SERM’s and OTC Hormone Preparations) adversely affect the acid reflux symptom and aggravate it.

Treatment Options

As the proverbial saying goes “prevention is better than cure”, a preventive approach is the first logical intervention for the treatment of acid reflux. Stop taking any medication that can cause acid reflux like NSAID’s. Limit intake/consumption of:

  • Chocolate
  • Tobacco
  • Ethanol
  • Caffeine
  • Snacks before bedtime
  • Raw onions
  • Fatty foods
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Alcoholic beverages

Herbal Remedies

  1. Aloe Vera can help in acid reflux through its soothing effects. Taking a teaspoon of Aloe Vera juice during an acid reflux episode can provide very quick relief.
  2. Slippery Elm is a tree extract that can coat the lining of the esophagus & stomach and thus relieves the burning sensation. The usual recommendations are two tablespoons with half glass water at bedtime in moderate symptoms. For severe acid reflux same can be taken after every meal.
  3. Marshmallow works almost the same way as Slippery Elm with some delayed but long lasting effect. Taking one tablespoon of marshmallow dried root with a cup of hot water makes a soothing tea for acid reflux patients. Herbalist recommend this tea twice daily.
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar can also help you fight acute symptomatic pain of acid reflux. Taking a tablespoon in water can provide instantaneous relief. 8

Pharmaceutical Treatments

As the acid is the main culprit in GERD, acid suppressing drugs are usually recommended to treat it. Sometimes in combination with acid neutralizing agents like magnesium and aluminum containing antacids. Some commonly used medications for acid reflux are:

  • Cimetidine
  • Ranitidine
  • Famotidine
  • Nizatidine
  • Omeprazole
  • Lansoprazole
  • Rabeprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Esomeprazole

Lifestyle Modifications

Following five lifestyle changes can help you control your acid reflux:

  1. Change Your Diet
  2. Quit Smoking
  3. Exercise
  4. Take 7-8 hour sleep
  5. Eat raw fruits & vegetables.


More bloody lifestyle changes ugh!


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