So, you may have noticed that I've been missing awhile. I've been recuperating from surgery again. I barely had my energy back from the last one and here we went again.
For the last year and a half I have been in extreme pain from a Hiatal hernia that was discovered just before my cancer surgery. But, for the last 6 years I have been having extreme heartburn issues and stomach pain. The two things finally confirmed a GERD diagnosis. As with most doctors they just kept trying different medications. The last round of medications which included Reglan threw me over the top as I was also having extreme side effects and as I read more and more about the other possible side effects I was bound and determined to get off of these medications. The side effect that scared me the most was Tardive Dyskinesia like Parkinson disease patients have. Many of you know I have an aunt that I recently helped care for who is in the final stages of Parkinson's disease so I would do nothing to ever run that risk.
Fortunately I was finally referred to the right doctor. He took one look at my records and tests and said I needed surgery. He performed a Nissen Fundoplication to reconstruct the valve between the esophagus and the stomach (that had eroded away) essentially making the stomach smaller and in my case he also found 4 inches of shredded esophagus that had to be removed. He has forbidden me to ever drink another carbonated beverage (soda or beer) or use a straw again (According to my doctor drinking from a straw puts air into your stomach that messes with the digestive process as well as drawing acid from the stomach occasionally into the esophagus).
I had a conversation recently about carbonated drinks with someone where I made the statement, "that there is no redeeming value in sodas." The person I was speaking with said that yes there was, "I like them (meaning him)". What I should have said is that there is no redeeming 'nutritional' value in sodas. So I went on an internet search and here are the reasons I found to stay away from sodas and/or carbonation in general.
- The added carbon dioxide creates the bubbles in your stomach disrupting normal digestion.
- Some of the carbon dioxide in seltzer water is converted in carbonic acid, slightly increasing the acidity of the water.
- Avoid carbonated beverages when you have stomach problems, such as gastric reflux, because they tend to aggravate the condition.
- Carbonated drinks often contain added acid.
- The carbon dioxide in beverages greatly increases stomach pressure.
- Stomach acid levels increase because of additives in soft drinks such as acetic, fumaric, gluconic and phosphoric acids. The acid in carbonated drinks upsets the acid-alkaline balance of the gastrointestinal system and can erode the gastric lining over the long term.
- Carbonated drinks can also cause bone loss. A rise in calcium deficiencies and bone fractures has been linked to soft drink consumption in girls and leaves them at risk for developing osteoporosis later in life. Phosphoric acid can link to calcium and magnesium, depleting these vital minerals.
- Many carbonated drinks are loaded with the preservative sodium benzoate. Sodium benzoate can produce benzene when it is combined with vitamin C, a compound that causes anemia, bleeding and bone cancer. Benzene depresses the immune system, reports Arizona Advanced Medicine, and damages cell's DNA. Benzene disables the energy source of cell's DNA, which may be at the root of many neurodegenerative diseases and the aging process.
- Carbonated drinks can cause bloating or a feeling of fullness. This physiological effect dampens the body's thirst signals and can result in inadequate hydration. Dehydration from soft drinks reduces digestive function.
- Carbonation causes you to belch. Belching actually carries the acid from your stomach into your esophagus. As we should all know by now, this is what leads to heartburn and potential esophageal damage later on.
- Carbonated drinks rob us of calcium and make our bones weak. Not to mention our teeth suffer severely as a consequence of calcium loss. Another alarming fact is that these beverages have become a favorite drink of kids these days and the parents tend to turn a deaf ear to the dangers publicized about these drinks.
- In some cases, drinking soda regularly can irritate your stomach and esophagus. When this occurs, it is referred to as reflux or gastroesophageal reflux. This condition happens when your lower esophageal sphincter does not close or opens intermittently -- causing acid to rise up your throat, creating a bitter taste in your mouth and a burning in your throat and chest. A main ingredient in many sodas is phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid can cause acid to rise in the stomach, resulting in acid reflux. Over time, drinking large amounts of soda containing phosphoric acid can damage your stomach and esophageal lining. Long-term damage to this tissue puts you at an increased risk for Barrett's esophagus, strictures, damage to the stomach lining and esophagus and esophageal cancer.