I hope you find inspiration as well as information in this post.
I am not an MD but I am a Ph.D. engaged in the design, implementation and analysis of research. I have not been to medical school and I make no claims of genius. But I am a voracious reader and attempt to base all my personal healthcare choices on the best available medical evidence. Here is my story.
At age 64, I saw a gastroenterologist for esophageal spasms. I was told that: a) it was GERD, b) I should have an endoscopy, c) there is no cure, and d) I would need to be on a proton pump inhibitor (like Prilosec) for the rest of my life.
I sought a second opinion from a gastroenterologist who was a former professor of gastroenterology at Stanford Univesirty. He told me essentially the same thing, except that a) it was unlikely that the endosopy would find anything and b) even if it did, it would not affect my treatment. Based on that, I concluded the endoscopy was pointless in my particular case, so opted out of the procedure.
I then sought an additional opinion from http://www.drweil.com/. Dr. Weil had concerns about staying on Prilosec for life and suggested a few non-drug alternatives, all of which I tried. Meditating and taking DGL before meals achieved some much appreciated relief for me fairly quickly but certainly didn't eliminate the problem. Then I decided I wanted a "cure" and got the next best thing - permanent absence of symptoms - without drugs.
When you have any tummy problem, it seemed to make sense to me to create a smaller tummy. I wondered what would happen if I got into really good physical condition. Inspired by my heartburn (and the book Younger Next Year), I now work out 6 days/week.
The heartburn is gone. I no longer take GSL. I eat anything I want including things not recommended for GERD sufferers - including acidic items like wine, tea and tomatoes, and spicy foods including Thai and Indian dishes.
But I am cautious. I eat only healthy foods - whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, nuts, non-fat yogurt, and fish high in Omega 3's, principally salmon.
I control portion size by eating slowly enough to give my brain time to get the message that I have had enough. I do not go back for seconds. And I make sure my dinner is at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Please note - my story is NOT science. It is nothing more than anecdotal evidence. And while I am thrilled with my outcome, I can not claim it will work for you.
What I can claim is this. If you get clearance from your physician before attempting my solution, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying this approach. At worst, you will be healthier and feel better than you ever have. In my own case, I am 65 and now training for a triathlon, I am energized, I sleep like a baby, and my wife - well, that's personal.
If you do try it, I would be very pleased if you would let me know how it works out for you. I can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org