IBS and acid reflux, GERD, hiatus hernia

Do you suffer with IBS and GERD, acid reflux, or heartburn? If you are fed up with antacids and want to avoid surgery, read on.

IBS and GERD often go together, although GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is less talked about.
This article is about what might be causing you regular acid reflux and other painful related symptoms, and why antacids are not getting you the relief you want.

What is GERD?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, common symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) include:

  • A burning feeling. Acid literally burns the tissues in your esophagus. If it feels like it’s in your chest, it’s called heartburn. If it feels closer to your stomach, you might call it acid indigestion.
  • Noncardiac chest pain. Some people feel pain in their esophagus that doesn’t feel like burning. Esophagus pain triggers the same nerves as heart-related pain does, so it might feel like that.
  • Nausea. Acid overflow or backwash may make you feel queasy or make you lose your appetite. Although you may have eaten a while ago, it may feel like there’s still more food to digest.
  • Sore throat. If acid rises into your throat, it can make it sore. It might feel like there’s a lump in your throat, or like it’s hard to swallow. Reflux into your throat often happens at night.
  • Asthma symptoms. GERD can trigger asthma-like symptoms, like chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. If acid particles get into your airways, it can make them contract.

They also mention GERD as being a cause of hiatus hernia.


People have GERD without IBS. And some people suffer with IBS and GERD, but not all of them.

My approach to IBS is based on what is triggering a person’s IBS. And while everyone is unique, I have noticed the following are common triggers for regular GERD, acid reflux, and heartburn.

Maybe this can be of use to you…

What might be causing your GERD

I coach clients out of IBS. Before starting this activity, I reversed my own symptoms first (including GERD).

And in my world, medical problems are not always as they might seem. I look for feelings, rather than mechanical problems.

In the medical world, GERD is all about sphincters “not working properly.” If you have GERD all the time, this might be the case.

But have you noticed the odd day when you don’t have much acid reflux? Surely if there is a mechanical problem, you would have reflux all the time.

For me, there are two important points that we are overlooking:


If bile is being forced upwards through a sphincter, there has to be pressure behind it. In a similar way to burping (or farting).

The question is: Where is that pressure build-up coming from? Some people will say that this is all about gut health and gas build up in the gut. Which it might be.

But there may be another source of pressure that is going unnoticed:

  • Do you feel under pressure in your everyday life?
  • By other people? By your job? By your family situation?
  • To do a “good job”? To “succeed”? To make money? To “do things right”?


If those feelings build up inside of you (they are ones we are told to keep tightly reigned in) they can create internal pressure that has no-where to go.

This external pressure can start creating frustration, and build up into anger, even rage. And these emotions are known to create inflammation in the body.

Over and over I see frustration and anger linked to inflammation. And to me GERD is all about pressure and inflammation.


I have reversed my own IBS and acid reflux, as well as food intolerance. And I found that it was the feelings I had when eating the food that had my body red-flag those foods. It was not the actual foods themselves. Although I had IBS and acid reflux very often, releasing the feelings was key.

Yes, it’s best to avoid those foods while you are dealing with any feelings of pressure or frustration.

But once you no longer feel pressure and anger, you will probably find that your body relaxes and that you can enjoy those foods again without experiencing GERD.

Where you can go from here

If you are suffering from IBS and acid reflux, heartburn and other GERD symptoms, this is what you can do:

If you notice you are feeling under pressure, a first step can to be to consider your options and see if there is another way of working/living where you would feel less pressured. Before I was ready to feel my feelings, I changed from a pressured working environment in food marketing to private corporate teaching. And felt much better.

If you are feeling angry or frustrated, what is making you feel that way? And what needs to happen for you to feel more satisfied?

Simply opening yourself to a non-mechanical cause can start to ease the symptoms. However, to really reverse GERD, you will likely need to feel into and release what is triggering you. Otherwise you will be left managing symptoms, rather than getting the lasting relief you are craving.

The good news is that you will likely be able to reverse GERD (and IBS) without the need for surgery or taking life-long antacids.