WE ARE NOT ALONE: A new (informal) Vocal Cord Dysfunction Support Group has formed, for VCD patients, and other concerned people, like family, friends, medical people, and others. 

Also, on this webpage 10, please SCROLL DOWN, to see the following IMPORTANT, HELPFUL "TIPS" (suggestions and ideas), BELOW (Check with doctor first, to be sure these tips are safe for you):

Appendix A: some SINUS TIPS,
Appendix B: some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS (without acid blockers)--can also help lessen sinus problems,
Appendix C: some TIPS about INFANT GERD & COLIC,

Appendix D: some COMPUTER ERGONOMICS TIPS (body position while using computer, driving, etc.), learned from an "Occupational Therapist",

Appendix E (new!): some GLUTEN-FREE, MILK-FREE eating TIPS, in case of "sensitivity" to proteins like Gluten, Milk proteins, etc. (these tips can help lessen reflux),

Appendix F (new!): some TOTAL DIARY TIPS (do for at least a week)--to discover previously hidden causes & effects! A "diary" is a written journal/record/log, kept daily.

There are many of us VCD patients out there. We are all ages and professions, including physicians. Let's talk, share ideas and emotional support. We can help eachother to take control of and maybe cure this frightening ailment. We can help spread the word about this very real condition, to Emergency Room personnel, health professionals, and especially to the many VCD patients who are wondering why they are having breathing difficulty attacks, but who have not yet been diagnosed with VCD

See web-page 7 & link (Z) on the links webpage, for information about a new self-help group for VCD patients in Germany.

I want to thank the many kind and knowledgable people at National Jewish Medical and Research Center (in Denver, CO) for quickly and accurately diagnosing VCD in my husband and in myself (within the same day we each arrived there!). I also want to thank National Jewish for hosting their first VCD Conference for medical professionals on July 20-21, 2001, their second VCD Conference, held July 18-19, 2003, and their third VCD Conference, held July 19-20, 2007. (See web-page 8)

I also want to thank Jean Howe, formerly the head Speech Therapist at National Jewish Medical & Research Center, who gave me the tools (speech therapy, encouragement, and who told me to ask my Nat'l Jewish doctor to prescribe a flutter valve, which helped me tremendously to control my coughing and to bring up phlegm during that stage of bronchitis) to control the VCD. (Note: The FLUTTER VALVE is an excellent tool, but is not for everyone, e.g. not for those with "unstable tracheas", etc., and it has to be prescribed by a doctor. Read about a "flutter valve", in the bronchitis section of webpage 5.)

Thanks also to Rosalind Dudden, the very patient and helpful librarian, at National Jewish Medical & Research Center, who helped me to first find medical literature about VCD, in the spring of 2001. Her help, gave me useful information about VCD, that helped me to create this website, back in June, 2001. (I've just scratched the surface...)

Thanks also to the physicians and nurses and others at National Jewish Medical & Research Center, and elsewhere, who shared their thoughts about VCD with me, and who gave me support to start the (very informal) VCD Support Group. It was in literature sent to me by the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (NSDA) that I saw (and adopted) the sentence, "We are not alone."

Thanks to the unknown young man who heard me talking on the phone to my husband about sinus problems, at the Tattered Cover Bookstore (in Denver, about 1999), and who rushed over to me, and said, 'Excuse me, but you MUST READ the book Sinus Survival by Dr. Robert Ivker!' He was right!

Thanks to all who helped enable me to create and improve this website, especially Peter, who patiently transformed my emails to him into web pages, etc.! Also, See the extremely helpful References on webpage 9, and, on the "links" webpage, and the additional references scattered throughout the website.

It was not easy for my husband and me to get our VCD correctly diagnosed:

In 1998, my husband went to several Emergency Rooms, where no doctor had any idea of what he really had. He was misdiagnosed as possibly having asthma, or midlife crisis, or panic attacks. Finally, after about a week of frequent, frightening VCD attacks (he turned blue, and his oxygen levels dropped below normal), a Pulmonologist (lung specialist doctor) suspected VCD, and recommended that my husband go to National Jewish Medical & Research Center, in Denver, Colorado (see webpage 7), where he was quickly diagnosed with VCD, that same day, in 1998. 

After being taught the special speech & breathing therapy (see webpage 4), by a Nat'l Jewish SLP/Speech & Language Pathologist, and after being told to work on improving his sinus condition, he and I began the tedious but necessary work of figuring out all (or most of) my husband’s underlying causes of his VCD. 

Doing this helped me to discover some SINUS TIPS, and some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS, (see Appendix A & B, below, on this webpage 10), which resulted in my husband quickly conquering his VCD, in 1998.

In 2000, I first had VCD attacks, during a severe case of viral bronchitis. After many misdiagnoses at Emergency Rooms, I also went to Nat’l Jewish, and was quickly diagnosed with VCD, that same day. VCD is not “catching”, but, it is common. Each person’s list of VCD causes is unique to that person. Using the SINUS TIPS, and the GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS, helped me to also quickly conquer my VCD, in 2000.

After we both conquered the VCD (no more VCD attacks for years), I created this free VCD website, in 2001, to help others of all ages, whose VCD hasn’t yet been diagnosed. No one should suffer one minute longer than necessary, with this frightening and sometimes dangerous ailment! 

I receive no financial help, and I researched and continue to update the website, myself.

If you would like to speak by phone, or send me an email, I would be happy to try to help you or whoever has the VCD, to conquer it, as quickly and as easily as possible. I do not charge a fee for this help. Health is more important than money.

You can telephone me at 970-726-4440, or call my cell phone at 970-531-5000. My email is fsds@rkymtnhi.com (see “email”, below). If I am away from the computer, and cannot answer your email, you can call me, and leave a message. (First, be safe, and get emergency medical help, for any breathing problems! See webpage 4.)

Also, if anyone sees errors that need correcting, or has suggestions for improving this website, and/or would like information added to this web site, please e-mail me (See email, below.) 

BELOW: Please read:
Appendix A (Some SINUS TIPS)
Appendix B (Some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS, without acid blockers),

Appendix C (Some TIPS about INFANT GERD & COLIC),
Appendix D (Some ERGONOMICS TIPS),
Appendix E (NEW!-July, 2007): (Some GLUTEN-FREE, MILK-FREE TIPS),
Appendix F (NEW!- July, 2007): (Some TOTAL DIARY TIPS)

P.S. I have not found any books about VCD. Any writers out there?




Please check with your doctor, before trying these "tips", to be sure that they are safe for you to try, in your particular situation. If any of the tips don't agree with you, stop doing them, and contact your doctor.

SOME  "SINUS SURVIVAL" THINGS WE DO, that we learned from the excellent book: SINUS SURVIVAL, by Dr. Robert Ivker, D.O.  See webpage 9, (References), in this VCD website. These "tips" also help with ALLERGIES! 


(1) NASAL IRRIGATIONS (for children able & old enough to do these, and for adults): THIS IS DONE WITHOUT ANY CHOKING, AND WITHOUT SNIFFING THE LIQUID UP THE NOSE! We do  these once or twice a day, when we feel the need. When I first did them, I needed to do them 4x/day. We try to avoid doing them within 1 hour of bedtime (or lying down), because some of the irrigation fluid drains out later on, and we prefer to be awake and not lying down (when possible), to gently blow the residual warm salt-water out of each nostril. Keep tissues (unscented) handy.

  (a) First, we each bought a NETI-POT, an 8 ounce (mine holds 10 oz. when full to the brim) little ceramic teapot without a cover, from a health food store. Some people who do Yoga use neti-pots (hence the East-Indian name NETI-POT). This avoids potential latex allergy from rubber bulb syringes! Also, this is a gentle gravity method, with no dangerous high water pressure. And no electricity is needed! And if a person has arthritis in a hand or in fingers, no painful squeezing of a plastic bottle is needed--just gently hold the "neti-pot" in one hand.

Clean the brand new neti-pot, before using it, by using ONE drop of an unscented "free & clear" hand dishwashing detergent (buy from a health food store), adding hot water, and then rinse away all the detergent, several times with plain hot water.

Then, pre-heat the neti-pot, by rinsing the neti-pot again in warm to hot water.

  (b) We put about a level half a teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon) (no more than this) of plain (non-iodized) salt (sodium chloride, NaCl, avoiding additives) into a neti-pot: When completely full to the brim, my ceramic neti pot can hold about 10 oz. of liquid. If your neti-pot holds less than 10 oz. of liquid, use less than 1/2 teaspoon of plain salt. We prefer PLAIN, ADDITIVE-FREE, NON-IODIZED sea-salt (from health food store). Definitely avoid iodized salt, because the iodine (actually "iodide ions") would burn/harm the delicate nasal tissues inside the nose! If necessary, use between 1/4 teaspoon and a level half (1/2) a teaspoon of the plain NON-iodized salt, in an 8 to 10 oz. capacity neti pot. 

  (c) We then add a little hot water (non-chlorinated, non-fluoridated) and stir, to dissolve the salt. Avoid tap water that is chlorinated, because the chlorine is very irritating to the nose. We use well water or bottled spring water (no chlorine, no fluoride). Distilled water is OK, for the nasal irrigation, but we do not drink distilled water, which can leach minerals (like calcium) out of the bones, contributing to osteoporosis. Avoid using water that had a water softener used on it.

  (d) Then I add a little cold water, and stir, to make the salt water warm, not hot. (We experimented, until we found the most comfortable degree of warm temperature—tepid/lukewarm, or warmer, up to very warm, but not too hot.).

  (e) Then, we add warm water to completely fill the neti-pot, to the brim, and stir.

Another way (my husband's way) is to do the equivalent of (c), (d), (e) as follows: Start by heating about 10 oz. of water, until warm, and pour into a glass. Add no more than 1/2 level teaspoon of the salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Pour the 10 oz. of warm salt water into the  (pre-warmed) neti-pot.

  (f)  I stand in front of a sink. Then, I lean my upper body FORWARD, over the sink, and tilt my head slightly to the right (looking towards the right), so my RIGHT nostril is a bit higher up than the left nostril. I wear a bathrobe, because this can be a little messy (but it is worth it!!! The sinus relief is wonderful!!!, like lessening post nasal drip, lessening stuffed nose, lessening phlegm, soothing and healing sore & dry throat, promotes sinus drainage, preventing and treating the common cold, etc.). And doing these nasal irrigations (sinus rinses) removes bad bacteria and bad viruses such as Covid-19 viruses.

If it feels like fluid is getting into one or both ears, try keeping the head less tilted (sideways), so that one nostril is just A TINY BIT higher than the other one. But still lean FORWARD over the sink, to prevent the fluid (warm salt water) from going down towards the throat.

If it is hard on my back to lean forward, over the sink, I put a folded towel on the edge of the sink, put my left fore-arm on towel, to support my back, and then I lean forward over the sink.

  (g)  Holding the neti pot in my right hand, I put the neti-pot spout INTO my RIGHT (upper) nostril, and gently, slowly, pour about about half of the salt water from the neti-pot) (it is a guestimate)  of the warm salt water into my right nostril--keeping my mouth open (breathing only through my mouth). Breathing through the mouth is a completely separate procedure from the nasal irrigation! The fluid (warm salt water) pours or drips out of… my LEFT (lower) nostril! (into the sink). IT TOOK A LITTLE PRACTICE TO KEEP THE FLUID FROM GOING  INTO MY THROAT, BUT I QUICKLY LEARNED BY PRACTICE! LEANING FORWARD, OVER THE SINK, HELPS ME TO KEEP THE FLUID FROM GOING DOWN MY THROAT.
    During this nasal irrigation, I must breathe only through my open mouth. (I can talk, if necessary, but usually I do not). 

  (h)  Then, I gently blow both nostrils (blowing out the warm salt water, out of both nostrils at the same time), and then, I lean FORWARD, over the sink again, slightly tilting my head to the left (looking towards the left), so my LEFT nostril is a bit higher than my right nostril. Then, I put the neti-pot spout INTO my left (upper) nostril, and gently, slowly, pour the rest of the remaining warm salt water) into my (upper) left nostril, letting it pour or drip out of the right (lower) nostril, into the sink. I hear a slight gurgling sound from the neti-pot, when it's empty.

  (i) Then, I gently blow both nostrils (blowing out the warm salt water, out of both nostrils at the same time). Then, I carefully bend over, somewhat, (sitting or standing) and gently blow each nostril, one at a time, several times, while head is low (alternating--left, right, left, right). Then, I stand up, or sit upright, and again, gently blow each nostril, separately, alternating nostrils, several times.

  (j)  Finally, I wash out the neti-pot, using hot water. Occasionally I will use 1 drop of UNSCENTED gentle, health-food-store dish detergent (unscented soap is probably OK too), and then thoroughly rinse the neti-pot with hot water, and let it air-dry upside down on top of a paper towel, on a disposable paper plate.

  (k)  After a little practice, each nasal irrigation now takes only a couple of minutes to do! This neti-pot method uses gentle gravity, (possibly safer and more comfortable than some other methods). My husband and I actually look forward to doing these nasal irrigations, because they are so helpful, soothing, and healing! Breathing becomes easier, and bad "germs" are washed away down the sink drain.

Nasal irrigations promote controlled sinus drainage, which happens right after each nasal irrigation, instead of when sleeping! After each nasal irrigation, gently blow the nose, one nostril at a time, (right, left, right, left, etc.), both bending over, and standing up or sitting up, to get rid of the irritating sinus drainage material, that is ready to come out, after each nasal irrigation. See (i), above.

Don't do nasal irrigations too close to bedtime. Do nasal irrigations at least an hour before bedtime, if possible.

Additional benefits: Nasal irrigations wash away pollen, pet dander, bacteria, viruses, dusts, etc.! (prevents & treats colds, and lessens allergy problems) 

(2)  WE MOISTEN (HUMIDIFY) THE AIR AT NIGHT in the bedroom, while sleeping, USING A VICKS (or any good brand) HOT WATER (warm mist/steam) VAPORIZER—NO MEDICINE, JUST WATER & A LITTLE SALT TO GET THE warm mist VAPORIZER GOING. (HOT water seems to prevent mold, in our vaporizer.). Use cold water to fill the vaporizer's "reservoir", up to the "fill" line. The warm mist vaporizer then boils the water, to produce steam. The salt stays behind, in the reservoir, helping electric current to flow in the water between two electrodes, and this electric current heats some water, which boils, coming out as steam. Steam is invisible at first, until it hits cooler air, which condenses the water vapor, creating tiny hot water droplets--a cloud (This visible cloud is also called steam).

This has very much helped to moisten, soothe, and heal our noses, throats, and sinuses. The higher humidity prevents throat from drying out, even if mouth breathing while sleeping. Dry air used to make throat feel sore & hurt. Dry air caused worse VCD! The WARM MIST VAPORIZER prevents & treats this problem. GREATLY HELPFUL FOR VCD PATIENTS WHOSE AIR IS VERY DRY! 

We put the warm mist vaporizer about 7 feet away from our noses, but directed towards our noses. (If vaporizer is too close, like right next to the face, lungs can get irritated from too much moisture, and in some people, such as asthmatics, etc., this could cause bronchospasms!).

We avoid cool mist humidifiers, because they may breed molds. A pharmacist warned me to avoid sonic cool mist humidifers, because he said these can put tiny irritating or toxic particles into the moisture droplets, which then get inhaled.

Even if you live in a high humidity area, if your indoor heat or air conditioning dries out the air, try using a WARM MIST vaporizer, which was strongly recommended to me, 20  years ago, by the pharmacist. Remember, NO cool mist anything, and NO "humidifiers"!

If a warm mist vaporizer isn't available, put some water in bathtub and leave bathroom door open to allow evaporation of water. Or, put some water in a CLEAN bucket or pail, and put bottom end of big towel into the water, with top of towel held up above pail by some means (heavy book, rock, etc.). Towel "wicks" water up, allowing evaporation to put moisture (water vapor) into air. This works anywhere, and needs no electricity.

(3)  WE USE AN AIR CLEANER mainly AT NIGHT. We bought a negative ion generator because it was noiseless and less expensive than a HEPA filter. John Bower writes in his book "The Healthy House", that some very sensitive people are bothered by fumes or particles from the resins (glues) in HEPA air filters, that hold the filter together. Also HEPA air cleaners create a breeze, and make a sound. The negative ion generator we have isn't available any more, for sale. The negative ion generator (small) is kept about 10 feet away from the face (only at night).

We keep the negative ion generator away from metal, and we don't touch it while it is on, and we keet it away from grounded (3 prong) electrical plugs, because I was told that MUCH OZONE could be produced if it is close to metal, or if it is touched, or if it is close to grounded electrical plugs (like next to a lamp that uses a grounded plug). Ozone, in large amounts, is toxic, drying, irritating, and bad for asthmatics, too. Ozone is an asthma trigger, and may be a VCD trigger. Ozone is bad for people, except when created in small amounts by nature, like from occasional lightning bolts outdoors, etc., or, when ozone is high up in the atmosphere. In nature, the ozone gets quickly diluted by winds, outdoors. And, thunderstorms are not continuous! 

AVOID AIR CLEANERS THAT SAY THEY ARE OZONE TYPES. In his book, The Healthy House, John Bower writes that even negative ion generators may produce a very small amount of ozone, but in very tiny, acceptable amounts., The only time I ever smelled ozone from our neg. ion generator, was when I touched it for more than a couple of seconds.

(4)  I use a Breathe-Rite nasal strip while sleeping, or when napping, to help keep my nose un-stuffed, and to lessen snoring. CAUTION: Packaging of this product contains natural rubber latex which may cause allergic reactions. IF YOU MIGHT HAVE A LATEX ALLERGY, DO NOT USE THESE BREATHE RITE NASAL STRIPS! One can call the company at 1-800/858-NOSE(6673) to ask if the Breathe-Rites contain any other ingredients that one might be allergic to.

(5) Read the book, THE HEALTHY HOUSE by John Bower, to get ideas about how to greatly improve your air quality, at home, at school, & at work. Indoor air pollution causes sinus problems. OPEN YOUR WINDOWS to let in fresh air, if outside air is good quality. AVOID BREATHING IN TOXIC CHEMICALS, MOLDS, & IRRITATING DUSTS. See examples on web-page 5, about Environmental & Occupational Health, Sick Building Syndrome, Building Related Illness, Toxic Molds, etc.

(6) These SINUS TIPS, along with some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS (see below), and improving AIR QUALITY, can often greatly lessen (or eliminate) both VCD attacks, also called LARYNGO-SPASMS, and similar Upper Airway Dysfunction, (areas near the vocal cords squeezing shut/closing up/moving together & down), attacks! (like Laryngochalasia, etc. See web-pages 5, 3, 4, 9, and links web-page, of this website.

These SINUS TIPS (& GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS & IMPROVING AIR QUALITY) can also be helpful for people with asthma, voice problems, COUGHING PROBLEMS, etc.

(7) Before trying these "tips", please check with your doctor first, to be sure that these tips are OK (safe) for you to try, in your particular case.



Some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS (without acid blockers): These tips include some ways to help gently heal the stomach, esophagus, throat, etc., and, these tips may help people to discover and remove many UNDERLYING CAUSES of their gastric reflux.

Please also see a GASTROENTEROLOGIST, and an ENT/Ear, nose & throat doctor, and an ALLERGIST, & any other specialist doctors necessary, to help you find all your CAUSES of your reflux, etc.

Please check with your doctor, first, before trying these tips to be sure they are safe, in your particular situation. And, ask child's doctor & pharmacist about adjusting dosages down (tiny fraction of adult dosage), for children, and only if safe for the child. 

GER=Gastro-Esophageal Reflux. (Gastro=stomach. Esophagus=food tube.)

LPR= Laryngeal-Pharyngeal Reflux. (Larynx=voice box, containing the 2 vocal cords, just behind the "Adam's Apple". Pharynx=throat, above the larynx. The larynx is above the trachea/windpipe.) THIS IS ALSO CALLED "REGURGITATION".

Reflux=corrosive stomach material (can be acidic, or alkaline/bile, or enzymes, or neutral, or a combination) that backs up into the esophagus (food tube), causing any of these problems (at least): VCD/Vocal Cord Dysfunction/Laryngospasm attacks, cough, voice problems, asthma, globus (feeling of lump in throat), constant need to clear throat, much extra throat mucus, worsening of sinus condition, sore throat, laryngitis, voice problems, pre-cancerous conditions of throat &/or esophagus, etc. Heartburn may or may not be a symptom of reflux. Reflux can be intermittent (not happening all the time).

Also read about an out of stomach type of reflux, called HGM/heterotopic gastric mucosa (one type is called "inlet patch"), on webpage 5, in reflux sections [of my website].

SOME GER/LPR CONTROL THINGS WE [My husband Dave and I, Carol] DO, that we learned from the excellent book: STOMACH AILMENTS AND DIGESTIVE DISTURBANCES, by Michael T. Murray, N.D. See webpage 9, References, and, also see GER/LPR info on webpage 5, and on LINKS webpage, in this VCD website.

PLEASE READ THIS GREAT BOOK. It may possibly be bought on-line, from Michael T. Murray’s website.

Some of the following we learned from people &/or other books, &/or other good websites about voice, GER, etc.

(1) DGL (De-Glycyrrhizinated Licorice) CHEWABLE TABLETS. Each DGL tablet has 380 mg of DGL. (mg=milligrams). DGL was one of our main methods of controlling the GER/LPR. We now use Nature's Life brand DGL, shortly (about 20 minutes) before ALL meals (breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks). The DGL is said to NOT cause high blood pressure (hypertension), and is said to NOT cause fluid retention/edema, because a bad (steroidal) part of whole/crude licorice (called "glycyrrhizins") has been supposedly removed, leaving the DGL.

DGL = plain licorice MINUS (WITHOUT) the harmful steroids (glycyrrhizins)

However, I was thinking of trying to find out what percentage (or amount by weight) of residual steroid-like "glycyrrhizins" may remain in various DGL products, but I haven't had time to do this.

PREGNANT &/OR NUSING MOTHERS SHOULD probably AVOID DGL. People with any medical conditions &/or who are taking steroids, &/or who shouldn't take steroids, should check with their doctors first, before trying DGL. (e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid conditions, asthma, etc.)

Also see note about gout, below:

Chewable DGL tablets are available at most health food stores, and at good pharmacies. DGL capsules are said to not be effective, unless they are opened, mixed with a bit of water (like a teaspoonful) or mixed with a bite of food, and the DGL could be briefly chewed, to mix with saliva. Note: some brands of DGL contain the amino acid glycine. Glycine can worsen gout (a type of arthritis). Some other brands of DGL, such as Jarrow, and Nature's Life, are without glycine, for those having gout, who need to avoid "glycine", and for anyone who has reflux.

The DGL tablet(s) must be chewed, to briefly mix with saliva, to be effective. If a DGL tablet is too dry (which could cause a cough), put a few drops of water on the tablet, and then chew it up. Chew DGL a tablet for a few seconds, to briefly mix with saliva, shortly before (about 20 minutes before) EVERY meal, and if necessary, between meals (Read label directions). Chewing the DGL tablets for TOO long a time, may cause a burning sensation on the tongue & in the mouth. (I do not know if this is from the DGL, or from another ingredient). So, we just BRIEFLY chew the DGL tablet, to let it mix with some saliva.

The DGL seems to not only promote healing of throat, esophagus and stomach, but also seems to help prevent OUR reflux* (resulting in no more globus/lump in throat sensation, no more constant throat clearing, excess mucous, excess phlegm, no more NIGHT-TIME VCD/Vocal Cord Dysfunction/Laryngospams attacks, no more laryngitis, etc. for us).

*But, if we ever eat foods that don't agree with us, we can still get reflux! So please keep a food diary. And see MORE IDEAS below, too.

We like the taste of the plain, fructose-free, DGL CHEWABLE tablets, but for those who hate the taste, try mixing a crushed DGL tablet with a tiny bit of mashed organic banana, and then chew, briefly, to mix with saliva. Avoid any DGL that contains mint or chocolate. (Mint and Chocolate—in all forms, can cause gastric reflux episodes. AVOID MINT & CHOCOLATE!!, at least temporarily).

Here is why: Mint & Chocolate can weaken the LES/lower esophageal sphincter, thereby promoting reflux, but I don't know why mint & chocolate do this.)

Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice is pronounced: Dee-gl-eye-sir-rise-in-eh-ted Licorice.

(2) We used to use Thayers brand of SLIPPERY ELM Throat Lozenges when we felt the need. (Soothing, coating, healing, nourishing). But "Thayers" brand of Slippery Elm Throat Lozenges has added sugar, so we now use the powdered form instead (no added sugar), mixed with a little well water (no chlorine, no fluoride).

Slippery Elm (inner bark from certain elm trees) also comes in teabag form, or in bulk, (powder, that can be mixed with a little water) etc. as an herbal supplement. Avoid if allergic to elm trees.

(3) We drink the occasional small glass of CARROT JUICE (organic, fresh) which soothes, coats, heals the digestive tract, is nourishing, and stimulates the immune system, with beta-carotene, soothing and coating PECTIN (a type of fiber), and other good nutrients. Carrot soup, cooked carrots are also good. Beta-carotene is heat resistant. Beta-carotene later is turned into Vitamin A inside us. Do not overdo on carrot juice. If your skin turns orange, drink less carrot juice. Avoid beta-carotene pills -- too potent (can harm the liver, if one has liver problems). Sometimes, carrot cake, using brown rice flour (gluten-free), instead of wheat flour, may be more accepted by children than carrot juice. Carrot soup (milk-free) can be delicious. If carrots don't agree with a person, try other soothing vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, squash, watercress, etc.

(4) People can elevate the head of the bed a few inches, by putting 6 inch to 8 inch thick BLOCKS, ON THE FLOOR,--then lift up the the head end of the bed, and put what used to touch the floor, up and onto these blocks. This creates an incline (slant/tilt), where the head is 6 to 8 inches higher than the feet (mattress is still a straight line, not bent). This helps some people, but not all people. (Check with a pediatric Gastro-enterologist, about raising the head end of a bed of a child, or a crib of an infant). Also, see (16) about a special GERD PILLOW, for adults.

Using many pillows is not the best way to elevate the head, because it puts people into a kind of sitting position, leading to squeezing/pressure around the waist. This can promote more reflux episodes. (Lying on one's left side, if comfortable, may decrease reflux).

There are slanted foam pads that can help, in some cases.

(5) We try NOT TO BEND OVER too often, and we try to AVOID STRAINING (Valsalva maneuver). We AVOID LIFTING HEAVY objects. (No weight lifting!) (at least until after no more reflux symptoms for 3 months). Sit without any pressure on the abdomen or stomach (knees should be lower than hips). Avoid running (which shakes up the stomach), temporarily. Avoid gymnastics, etc., temporarily. Avoid all strenuous exercise, for at least 2 weeks. Easy walking is best, until fully recovered.

 (a) If CONSTIPATION is causing any straining, see Ref.15,18,23,24,25 on webpage 9 (http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com/page9.html ) for ideas about gently treating constipation, including eating whole grains (preferably gluten-free, if one has a gluten intolerance), not white grains (de-natured ones), etc.  For us, exercise, increased water intake, acidophilus/bifidus, digestive enzymes, avoiding junk food, improved diet, chewing slowly (takes will power!), eating when not under stress or angry, etc., eating raisins, prunes, etc., all are helpful. Food "sensitivities" can cause constipation. Avoid foods that you are or may be sensitive to. See more about this, below. 

(6) NO MORE TIGHT pants, belt, corset,--AVOID TIGHT CLOTHING, around waist, like tight elastic around waist, etc. Undo the top buttons or zippers, and wear shirts outside of pants or skirts, instead of tucked into waist.

(7) Keep a FOOD DIARY for a week or two, to find which foods, beverages, ingredients, snacks, etc.,  may cause your reflux. Then, avoid these foods, etc.,  at least temporarily (for 2 weeks or longer):

a) Avoid junk foods, and avoid soda pop.

b) Some people need to avoid acidic foods, temporarily (2 weeks), such as citrus fruits (oranges, orange juice, lemons, lemonade, grapefruit, lime, tangerine), tomatoes (juice, soup, in pasta sauce, in salad, salsa, pizza, etc.), vinegar (in salad dressing, etc.). Try pineapple & grape juice, instead.

It is good to avoid acid foods, temporarily, if one has an ulcer. These gastric reflux tips methods often can help to heal ulcers. (See a doctor, if you might have an ulcer). 

c) Some need to eat acidic foods, if the stomach is not producing any (or enough) acid (this is true in my own case).  Some people need betaine hydrochloride supplements, which becomes HCl/hydrochloric acid, or, some use organic apple cider vinegar (acetic acid) in salads, or mixed with water, or mixed with soups, etc., while others need to avoid eating acid foods, temporarily (see "b"). Each person is unique. 

d) We avoid all artificial sweeteners. People with diabetes can read the helpful book Reversing Diabetes, by Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D.

Diet soda pop contains the harmful artificial sweetener Aspartame (Equal/Nutrasweet), which can cause WEIGHT GAIN, HEADACHES, UPSET STOMACH, BLURRED VISION, BLINDNESS, TWITCHING, SEIZURES, BRAIN TUMORS, HYPERACTIVITY, MOOD SWINGS, ETC.

Also, soda pop often has strong acids, plus other harmful artificial ingredients. Plain water, gentle herb teas, certain fruit juices (diluted with water, to prevent dehydration), brown-rice-milk, etc. are healthier substitutes for soda pops.

e) We try to avoid all ADDITIVES, including artificial ingredients (flavorings, colorings, etc.), even "natural" additives (flavorings, colors, etc.) and fake fats (like Olean, Olestra, etc.), because some of these can greatly hurt the digestive system, and prevent absorption of vital nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) from foods. Fake fats also prevent digestion and absorption of needed fats & oils, used to repair myelin nerve cell sheaths (made of fatty material, mostly cholesterol). Hormones are also made of mostly cholesterol.

f) Avoid no-fat, or extremely low fat diets. Fats & oils (organic olive oil, organic sesame oil, organic butter in small amounts, organic nuts, etc.) are needed to produce hormones, and to produce myelin sheaths for certain nerve cells. Diets too low in fats& oils, can cause neurological (nerve) damage, and hormonal imbalances. But, don't overdo on fats & oils. For example, if "fish oils" might aggravate your GERD, avoid fish oils, and instead, eat fatty fish like salmon, etc.

g) Avoid cow's milk, cow's milk products (cheese, ice cream, yogurt, etc.) for at least 2 weeks (a month is better). See (8) below, about this.

h) Avoid glutenous foods for at least one month. See (8) below, about this:

(8) FOOD (protein) ALLERGIES & FOOD (protein) SENSITIVITIES& FOOD (non-protein) INTOLERANCES can cause or worsen gastric reflux! My husband has found that Avoiding cow's MILK PRODUCTS helps him feel less congested, with less mucus in throat. Milk and milk products (like cheese, including pizza, etc.) can cause gastric reflux episodes. Brown-Rice Milk (look for gluten-free, or make your own) can substitute for milk (but not for babies!). Rice Dream (a brand of rice milk) has some gluten in it, from barley. Avoid Rice Dream, if you might be gluten sensitive. If not allergic to coconut, try coconut mylk (no guar gum) instead of cow's milk.

GLUTEN is a protein-like substance, that is in wheat (includes spelt, kamut, bulgur, semolina, farina, wheatina), rye, triticale (a hybrid of wheat& rye), and barley.

Oats are controversial, and American doctors say that oats should be avoided at this time, by gluten sensitive people, for these reasons: Oats are often "cross-contaminated" with gluten, at packaging plants, &/or, even when gluten-free, some people are sensitive to oat proteins. [But others do fine with certified "gluten-free" oats.]

Buckwheat and Millet are controversial, and may contain gluten from cross contamination by glutenous grains at the factory. Both buckwheat and millet, may contain proteins that some are sensitive to. It may be best to avoid both, at least at first. Read labels to avoid hidden gluten, in some soy sauces, gravies, etc. Avoid grain alcohols, grain vinegars, beer (barley malt), "malt", "starch" or "maltodextrin" from unknown sources, etc. 

Temporarily avoid wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and other glutenous grains.

People with gluten sensitivity (Celiac Disease,& other types of gluten sensitivity, including neurological types, etc.) need to avoid all foods, drinks, medicines, etc. containing gluten. And, avoid body & hair care products, dish detergents, glue on envelopes, glue on stamps, licorice candy (often has wheat flour--glutenous), etc., that may contain gluten. When going gluten-free, avoid previously used cast iron cookware, used wooden utensils, used wooden cutting boards, teflon/non-stick cookware (all of these may retain previous gluten). Buy a new toaster, and use only gluten-free foods in the toaster (like brown rice bread).

BROWN RICE (organic) is gluten-free. Corn is gluten free, but some are sensitive to corn proteins, so avoid corn products, at least temporarily. There are (gluten-free) brown rice pastas (like spaghetti, etc.) available at health food stores (one brand is Tinkyada) that taste just as good as glutenous pastas.

Celiac Disease may be found in at least about 1 out of 100 people, and even more often, in those with ancestors from any of these areas: Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Scandinavian countries, Italy, Northern Africa, the Middle East, Northern Europe in general, etc. And, gluten sensitivity, in general, which includes non-Celiac types of gluten sensitivity, may even be found in as many as 1 out of 3 people, anywhere.

See webpage 5, and please see one or more of these following very helpful (gluten-free) patient forums, to get advice, recipes, doctor recommendations, support, etc., about going gluten-free, getting diagnosed, etc.:

--A new forum (was "new" in June, 2007) called Gluten Free and Beyond, was started by several of the same people who were active in the following forums. This new forum, all about gluten & other food protein sensitivities, has no moderator. This new forum was created so that people can freely say what they wish, can edit what they write, all without fear of censure, banning, etc., and the new forum has this link:

--an older forum called Gluten Sensitivity/Celiac Disease, at BT/BrainTalk, that "Cara" first started, years ago, with link at
now (Aug., 2010) has this link:

and there are additional health problem forums, within this website, that this link can lead you to, such as Peripheral Neuropathy, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, etc.

--a similar forum, formed in 2006, when the older (BT/BrainTalk) forum previously crashed for months in 2006, without being fixed. This is also called Gluten Sensitivity/Celiac Disease at NT/NeuroTalk, with link at
http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/forumdisplay.php?f=13 and like the BT forum above, here at NT, there are additional health problem forums, within this website, that you can be led to, such as Peripheral Neuropathy, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, etc.

--a forum at http://www.celiac.com and,

--a forum at http://forums.delphiforums.com/celiac and:

Please also see Dallas, Texas MD--gastroenterologist-- Dr. Kenneth Fine's "EnteroLab" website, at http://www.finerhealth.com (all about gluten sensitivities, both Celiac Disease & non-Celiac gluten sensitivities, & other protein sensitivities). See more about Dr. Fine, below:

I first learned about Dr. Fine's innovative, helpful work, from "jcc", over at the Gluten Sensitivity/Celiac Disease forum, and, the Peripheral Neuropathy forum, which were both at BT/BrainTalk (see link above).

Unfortunately, all the many braintalk forums, originally at Mass. General Hospital (in Boston, MA), and hosted by John Lester, suddenly disappeared (big server problem) on July 20, 2006, and so, a temporary new home was made, called Braintalk 2 (then, re-named NT/NeuroTalk). See link above to NT.

Good news: I saw that BrainTalk is up and running again (August, 2010)! See newer link to the gluten-sensitivity forum at BrainTalk, above, which is http://braintalkcommunities.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=152

For RECIPES, BRAND NAMES, RESTAURANTS, of GLUTEN-FREE, MILK-FREE, etc., foods, please see Appendix E, below, added in July, 2007. [It's 3/1/2019 today]

COW'S MILK (& milk products) MAY CAUSE MORE ACID to be produced, IN THE STOMACH, leading to more gastric reflux! 

I very rarely eat milk products, like yogurt, cheese, whipped cream, but I do take some ACIDOPHILUS/BIFIDUS, daily, which is mixed with goat milk powder. So, at these times, I sometimes take LACTASE ENZYMES, to digest (break down into easily absorbed small molecules) the milk-sugar called LACTOSE. Many people (due to heredity &/or disease, or just naturally) have Lactose intolerance, where the small intestine's microscopic finger-like projections called "villi", do not secrete the lactase enzyme. Result is that the milk-sugar (lactose) travels further down the small intestine than it should. Then, bad bacteria eat the lactose, giving off lots of gas (the gases are by-products of the bad bacteria’s own digestion process), and this causes folks to get bloated, gassy, have diarrhea, and cramping. I use Lactaid brand lactase enzymes, and it helps, for me. Ordering direct from them can save money.

Some people may be ALLERGIC to milk proteins. 

Or people can be "SENSITIVE" to MILK PROTEINS (like casein, whey, etc.). Milk protein sensitivities are different from a "lactose intolerance". BOTH CAN CAUSE REFLUX, LEADING TO VCD!

Cow's milk protein sensitivities can cause "auto-immune" reactions, such as reflux, etc. But, milk sugar (lactose) intolerance, doesn't cause an auto-immune reaction.

"NEW" INFO: (June, 2007): Milk proteins, if one is sensitive to them, can sometimes cause villi damage in the small intestine, that is very similar to Celiac Disease!

Even though food sensitivities are not technically the same as food intolerances, many people use the words food sensitivites and food intolerances, interchangably.

However, food protein sensitivities do involve the immune system (different antibodies are made--IgA & IgG, in the large intestine/colon), compared with food allergies(IgE antibodies are made), while food intolerances do not involve the immune system (no antibodies made). 

FOOD protein ALLERGIES & FOOD protein SENSITIVITIES & FOOD non-protein INTOLERANCES all can cause or worsen gastric reflux! Food protein sensitivities& /or food non-protein intolerances may cause delayed effects (even hours or days later), when certain foods are eaten. Food protein allergies usually cause more immediate (allergic) reactions to the "allergenic" food that was eaten.

To find out whether you may have certain food protein allergies, food protein sensitivities, food non-protein intolerances, etc., look at link "AA", at the bottom of the links webpage, at http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com/links.html . This is a link to "EnteroLab", a laboratory that was created by an experienced Gastroenterologist, Dr. Kenneth Fine, MD, in Dallas, Texas, and which does special recently developed analytical tests (looking for elevated numbers of certain antibodies) on stool samples. These non-invasive tests can very accurately/reliably tell you certain foods that you may have a problem with the proteins of (like egg protein, or casein--a cow's milk protein, or gluten, etc.). The link is:

In fact, Dr. Fine writes that his newly patented special stool tests often give more accurate results than invasive intestinal biopisies, and blood tests! Avoid eating any foods that you may be allergic, sensitive, or intolerant to. Also avoid herbal extracts prepared in "grain" alcohol, & homeopathic remedies in "grain" alcohol, etc.  Some may need to only temporarily avoid certain foods (like corn, soy, cow's milk, etc.). Some may need to permanantly avoid certain foods (like foods that contain gluten). 

Gluten sensitivity can lead to autoimmune problems anywhere in the body, including: digestive tract (Celiac Disease &/or gastric reflux, indigestion, mal-absorption, etc.), the pancreas (affecting digestion, &/or causing diabetes, etc.), the thyroid gland, skin, nervous system (seizures), joints (arthritis), etc.

For MORE ADVICE AND MORE SUPPORT, about trying to eat gluten-free & milk-protein-free, please see Appendix E, below.

(9)  We try to DRINK MORE WATER (drink more water, if safe, in your case), to prevent chronic dehydration. We like hard (nicely mineralized, but, not carbonated) well or spring water (no chlorine, no fluoride).

We do not drink distilled water (soft water, no minerals), because it can leach minerals out of our bones, possibly contributing  to osteoporosis. We avoid water softeners (chemicals) because they can be toxic, and because good minerals help keep us healthy.

People with KIDNEY PROBLEMS &/or GLAUCOMA, etc. should ask their docs how much water is safe to drink, since too much water can be dangerous for them! (But, dehydration can cause problems also.) 

We also avoid water filters that contain silver in the filters, because silver is a toxic heavy metal. When necessary, we use a solid carbon sink-top water filter, instead. Some reverse-osmosis water filters remove too many good minerals, making the water too much like distilled water, which is "mineral-poor". (See Ref.18,20,23, on webpage 9)

(10) We use "PROBIOTICS" such as ACIDOPHILUS/BIFIDUS (edible beneficial bacteria which keep bad YEASTS away, such as Candida Albicans, formerly called Monilia). ACIDOPHILUS/BIFIDUS also can eat or control some bad bacteria, and some viruses.

The ACIDOPHILUS &/or BIFIDUS are also called PRO-BIOTICS and are beneficial intestinal flora/bacteria (mainly for the large intestine). We keep the jars refrigerated, but not too cold. These are available at health food stores & pharmacies. (See Ref.14,15,23,24,25, on webpage 9).

The ETHICAL NUTRIENTS company makes a very gentle, yet very effective, pro-biotics formula, ("DAIRY-FREE, MAXI-BIFIDUS") that is a milk-free (called dairy-free) powder, made of Bifidus infantum, with only rice maltodextrin as an additive ("said" to be gluten-free, but the label doesn't say "gluten-free"). This can be used by infants, nursing mothers, children, & adults. Follow label directions. Keep refrigerated. This is a simple (yet effective) probiotic formula.

Good health food stores have many choices available, and usually can order whatever you ask for, if your choice is not immediately available. 

Various Acidophilus/bifidus PROBIOTICS can re-populate the large intestine, with good bacteria, after antibiotics &/or steroids, etc. have killed off these good bacteria!

NEW INFO! (9/2007): BROAD SPECTRUM ANTIBIOTICS  and/or ACID BLOCKERS, can cause people to sometimes develop a very harmful, dangerous, sometimes fatal, bacterial infection in the "gut" (colon/large intestine)--sometimes in the small intestine too, called CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE (abbreviated C. diff.).

Stool sample testing (see your doctor) can tell you if you have C. difficile or not.  Symptoms of C. difficile, often include diarrhea, sometimes abdominal cramping, very bad odor of diarrhea, and sometimes an orange color of stool, sometimes a jelly-like consistency, pus, mucus, blood in stool.

See these links to articles, for info about treating stubborn Clostridium difficile intestinal infections, by using both (either with or without some other antibiotics):

--probiotics (beneficial) bacteria (Acidophilus/Bifidus) and,

--a "friendly" (usually non-pathogenic) probiotic live yeast (related to Brewer's/Baker's yeast) called Saccharomyces boulardii (pronounced: sack-uh-row-MY-seas, boo-LARD-ee). This "friendly" yeast is not the yeast infection called Candida albicans. WHEN I HAD C.DIFF (Clostridium difficile), I used FLORASTOR (brand name), namely S. boulardii (Saccharomyces boulardii) orally, which cured my C. Diff, and a GI (GastroIntestinal) doctor advised me to continue taking "Florastor" continuously for 4 more months. I've never had a re-occurance of C. diff! (I added this latest info on 7/28/2020). I found that one side effect of Florastor, was "leg cramps", and I stopped the leg cramps (or I could prevent the leg cramps) by taking an extra Calcium/Magnesium capsule, OR, by eating some ALMONDS & RAISINS. The almonds are naturally rich in Calcium and Magnesium, and the raisins are a good potassium souce. I think the almonds alone would have stopped the leg cramps. (7/28/2020)

But, people who have very low immune function, or who are in an ICU/intensive care unit, &/or who have a "central line" for intravenous feedings, &/or who have a NG/naso-gastric tube, need to be closely monitored, to be sure they don't get infected by this beneficial yeast, itself. See an informative article at this link:


See a quote below, from this article (link is above) called:
Recurrent Clostridium difficile colitis
Tackling a tenacious nosocomial [hospital acquired] infection, by

Ann Marie Joyce, MD; David L. Burns, MD (2 gastroenterologists in Massachusetts)


"....Altered bowel flora increases susceptibility to recurrent C difficile infection. Thus, another approach to therapy is to use probiotics to repopulate or restore colonic bacteria as an adjunct to antibiotic therapy (16) (table 3). Saccharomyces boulardii is a [usually] nonpathogenic* yeast that releases a protein that interferes with the binding of toxin A to its receptor (17). The administration of S boulardii has been shown to be effective both on its own and in combination with metronidazole or vancomycin in patients with recurrent C difficile infection...."

*(check with doctor first, if have very depressed immune system, or if have a central venous line, or if using a naso-gastric tube---such people are at higher risk of getting a "fungemia"--fungus infection in the blood, from this live yeast.)

See more info about C. difficile, including a very helpful website/forum, on webpage 5, in gastric reflux sections.  It is the C. Difficile Support Group, at this link: http://cdiffsupport.com/phpBB/index.php

A landmark, groundbreaking medical journal article by 3 pioneering gastroenterologists in Duluth, Minnesota, tells how putting healthy donor stool (both donor & stool are pre-tested) into a nasogastric tube, to deliver healthy stool bacteria, into the "antrum" of stomach, has been curing over 95% of recurrent C. diff. patients, by re-populating the small and large intestines with good stool bacteria (bacteriodes), that had been destroyed by taking antibiotics, and these good bacteriodes kill C. diff. bacteria and their spores! Here's a (new, as of 1/08) link to the article (older link got changed):



Some of us have to continue eating the acidophilus/bifidus (daily, or from time to time), but the results seem worth the effort to us. [I'm still taking this, even now, in 2020, and it's helpful!--prevents constipation]

Some probiotic bacteria (like milk-free preparations) have FOS's (fructo oligo saccharides) added to their probiotic formulas, to feed the beneficial bacteria, but, some people have noticed worse indigestion, leading to worse reflux, because some bad bacteria ALSO were feeding on the FOS's. I avoid FOS's.

Yogurt and buttermilk contain similar beneficial bacteria, but are milk products, so see (8) above, about milk products.

(11) We use DIGESTIVE ENZYMES. My husband used to like Acid-Ease by Prevail, which contains Slippery Elm (inner bark), Marshmallow Root, Gamma-Oryzanol (from Rice Bran Oil), and the plant enzymes Amylase (digests starch), Lipase II (digests fat), and Cellulase I (digests cellulose from plant cell walls). The Acid-Ease does not contain Protease, because PROTEASE (a protein digesting enzyme) can be very irritating to ulcer/GER folks.

The Acid-Ease is NOT an acid blocker. It is not an antacid. It soothes, coats, nourishes, and promotes healing. Its enzymes help with leaky gut syndrome.

We both now use Total Enzymes (which does have Protease, a protein digesting enzyme) by Nutri-West, a company that sells only to health practitioners (Chiropracters, Physicians, and others), who can order, at cost, by calling 1-307-358-5066. One of the enzymes in Total Enzymes ("malt diastase") may be glutenous (still checking on this). Avoid this product, if you may have a gluten sensitivity.

Digestive enzymes are NOT FOR EVERYBODY, but are helpful for MANY people.


Acid must be present in the stomach, in order for the stomach to make a substance called Intrinsic Factor. Intrinsic factor must be present with Vitamin B 12, in the stomach, for absorption of Vitamin B 12 to happen, in the ileum (last part of the small intestine), I believe.

Acid blockers therefore prevent absorption of Vitamin B 12. Malabsorption (lack of absorption) of Vitamin B 12, causes NERVE DAMAGE (pain, numbness, pins & needles sensation, etc.) in the peripheral nerves (outside the brain & spinal cord). This is called PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY. For details about this problem, ask "Rose" at a good Peripheral Neuropathy forum at http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=-1&f=20

If Vitamin B 12 continues to NOT be absorbed, there can also be NERVE DAMAGE to the Central nervous system (brain& spinal cord).

ALSO, the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, other minerals, like MAGNESIUM, and important trace minerals, etc. cannot be properly absorbed, when there is no hydrochloric acid in the stomach (due to taking acid blockers, or for other reasons, etc.).

AND, protein does not start to get properly digested (broken down--eventually into amino acids), in the stomach, when there is no acid in the stomach.

Acid blockers can pre-dispose a person to getting a Clostridium difficile intestinal infection! See (10) above, for more about this C. difficile.


Doctors and pharmacists can advise about VERY gradual (slow) tapering down (weaning) schedules (when and if safe) for the acid blockers, if you see good results from trying some of these "tips", etc., for about 2 weeks (with your doctor's supervision). Some acid blockers, when stopped too quickly, can cause rebound EXTRA stomach-acid secretion in the stomach, resulting in excess hydrochloric acid secretion. The REBOUND ACID SECRETION often causes worse GERD symptoms!

ALSO, SOME FORMS OF REFLUX ARE NOT ACID REFLUX, but are ALKALINE REFLUX, (bile is a mix of acids, alkalis, and salts, with the net effect being alkaline). Besides refluxed stomach acid (HCl/hydrochloric acid), Pepsin (an acidic proteolytic/protein digesting, enzyme) &/or bile (alkaline) can irritate & damage: the esophagus, throat, vocal cords, & lungs. Acid blockers may not stop alkaline (or neutral) types of reflux!

(13) Do not drink ICY COLD DRINKS, and AVOID VERY HOT DRINKS. Use room temperature drinks, or slightly cool, or warm, but not boiling hot. Extremely cold or hot liquids can cause TEMPORARY PARALYSIS of the stomach muscles, which is bad for ulcers and can and does PROMOTE gastric reflux episodes.

Some people are addicted to chewing ice. Compulsive ice chewing/eating is called Pagophagia, and is one type of "pica" (compulsive eating of non-foods, or ice).

Pagophagia can be caused by an iron deficiency anemia, which can be caused by poor diet, mal-absorption due to acid blockers &/or gluten intolerance etc., internal bleeding, pregnancy, various medical conditions, worms, etc. Pagophagia may also be related to eating disorders (like anorexia or bulimia, etc.) &/or OCD (obsessive compulsive disorders). Teeth can crack &/or voice problems in singers may result from this habit. Some foods are naturally rich in iron. Eating these foods can prevent constipation and stomach problems that some iron supplements cause.

(14) If using beta agonists (like Aluterol)& /or steroids (like Prednisone, etc.) for ASTHMA, learn Buteyko breathing methods. If the Buteyko helps, then work with asthma doctor, to hopefully lessen these asthma meds, both of which can worsen reflux. See webpage 5, --asthma & medications sections, for more about this. Also, see Reference 30, on webpage 9, for info about Buteyko.

(15) Ask physical therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, etc. if they know any safe adjustments that might lessen GER/LPR, if you wish.

(16) Read (by Dr. Jamie A. Koufman, M.D.--an experienced VOICE DOCTOR/Laryngologist) PATIENT INFORMATION SHEET ON REFLUX by Center for Voice Disorders of Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Here’s a link (may not work now, since Dr. Koufman is now in NYC): http://www.bgsm.edu/voice/pt_info.html  Dr. Koufman was a pioneer in showing the connection between stomach reflux (can be acid reflux OR alkaline reflux) and breathing problems! Dr. Koufman wrote about "Post Viral Vagal Neuropathy" that is 1 cause of VCD (also called laryngospasms). However, "alkaline water" that Dr. Koufman likes, is similar to taking an acid blocking medication!

(17) Some have found a special (large) GERD pillow helpful for preventing GERD episodes while sleeping and while lying down. Here is a link to the Prop up pillow website:  http://www.propuppillow.com

Or, look for a foam wedge to slighly lift up the head in bed, and cover the foam wedge with a cotton towel, to avoid breathing in any fumes from the wedge. I use this (purchased from a Wal Mart).

(18) Hiatal Hernia might worsen gastric reflux, so check with your gastroenterologist doctor, about possibly trying the following non-surgical treatment for mild to moderate hiatal hernia:

Gastrointestinal - Herbal treatment for ulcers [includes info on hiatal hernia], by Paul Bergner and Sharol Tilgner, N.D., with some additions I made, in [ ] square parentheses.

 From Case Study #1, in this article, having this link:


 "Patient instructed to drink one glass of water [about 8 oz.] and then raise up on toes and drop heavily on heels eleven times each morning, for possible hiatal hernia [using a soft surface, so as not to hurt feet]....In a hiatal hernia, part of the stomach protrudes back up through [the normal hole in] the diaphragm [where, normally, just the esophagus is up above this hole in the diaphragm muscle]. The rationale of the water treatment is to get water weight in the stomach, and then mechanically jar it [the herniated top part of stomach] back into place [back down through the normal hole in the diaphragm, so entire stomach will then be under the diaphragm, where it belongs]. The patient can also jump from a chair onto the ground [after drinking the glass of water, and using a soft surface, so as not to hurt feet, and only if safe for patient]."

(19) Avoid harmful chemical air pollution, which can aggravate gastric reflux. See webpage 5 of this VCD website for more information about this.

(20) Some patients have been greatly helped by holistic NUTRITIONISTS, who work at health food stores, who can give advice about improving the diet, taking nutritional supplements, and avoiding certain irritating or allergenic foods. 

(21) Using the above methods has almost completely freed my husband of needing to use Tums, and seems to be nicely controlling his and my GER/LPR. We have never used acid blockers.

(22) Using the above methods, in addition to the SINUS SURVIVAL tips, has helped us to prevent VCD attacks, and COUGHING problems, in us.

(23) Please check with your doctor, in advance, to be sure that it is OK for you to try these tips, in your particular case. 

a) Please get monitored by your doctor, to be sure that no more damage to the throat, esophagus, stomach, vocal cords, lungs, etc. is happening, from possible SILENT gastric reflux. "Silent" gastric reflux means there's no 'heartburn' (the lower kind of reflux), but "silent" gastric reflux is the higher up type of reflux, also called "regurgitation" (like vomiting, but with no nausea). And This higher up "silent" kind of reflux, is also called LPR (Laryngeal Pharyngeal Reflux), where "laryngeal" means voice box (larynx), right behind the adam's apple, and "pharyngeal" means throat, and "reflux" means stomach liquid backing up the wrong way, heading for the mouth. Stomach liquid should move forward, towards the small intestine, not backwards causing reflux. (July 28, 2020 additional info)

b) Pregnant or nursing ladies should check with their doctors, before trying any of these tip, to be sure these tips are safe for them and their babies' health.

c) Check with your doctor and pharmacist, to be sure that there would be no harmful interactions between any of your medications, diet that you may be on, and any herbs, foods, etc. mentioned in these tips.

d) Check with your doctor, to be sure that these tips would not interact badly with any medical condition(s) you may have.

These tips help my husband and me (adults). Some of these tips may be OK for children, and others may not be OK for children. Check with your doctor! Babies with gastric reflux need DIFFERENT treatments (see Appendix C, below), not these tips (except for raising the head end of the crib, if your doctor says it is OK to do this, etc.). Check with your doctor! 

e) [New: 3/1/2019]: Check with a good acupuncturist for ideas and Chinese herbs, plus helpful acupuncture, for those into holistic health.  




Check these ideas out with the doctor who is seeing and helping your infant or child, before trying the ideas. The sources of these ideas will be listed at the end. And, see a Pediatric GASTROENTEROLOGIST, and a Pediatric ENT/Ear, nose & throat doctor, and a Pediatric ALLERGIST, ETC., to help you find all underlying CAUSES of your child's reflux, etc.

(1) Fresh breast milk from the mother when possible, as long as mother eats VERY HEALTHY FOODS, and eats in comfort, and not in a rush, not when angry or upset, and mother avoids foods that the baby may be SENSITIVE TO. La Leche knows about breastmilk banks, if nursing is not possible.


a) Nursing mothers and infants should avoid drinking cow's milk, which has more casein (milk protein) in it, than goat's milk has. The baby may be sensitive to the milk protein called casein. Nursing mothers should also avoid eating cheese, ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, etc. if these were made from cow's milk. Nursing mothers can (with doctor permission) drink catnip tea, fennel seed tea, etc. which would go into the breast milk, often relieving colic. Babies and nursing mothers should AVOID cow's MILK & cow's milk products (Some say that an autoimmune reaction to cow's milk proteins can cause juvenile onset diabetes. Cow's milk can also cause colic, GERD, etc.)

b) Raw, fresh, organic GOAT MILK (if your doctor says it is OK), from someone you know, who takes very good care of the goats, so the milk is safe, is sometimes better tolerated than cow's milk.

c) Some babies have GLUTEN SENSITIVITY (like CELIAC DISEASE &/or other types of GLUTEN SENSITIVITIES), and must avoid gluten completely, in their food, and in milk from the nursing mother. Nursing mothers can try a gluten-free diet for a few weeks to see if this helps, and make sure the baby is not eating or drinking anything that contains GLUTEN.

Nursing mothers and babies can avoid the following glutenous foods: WHEAT, RYE, OATS, BARLEY, BUCKWHEAT, ETC. See Appendix B, above, for much more about gluten intolerance.

BROWN RICE (organic is best) and CORN are gluten-free, but many are sensitive to corn proteins, so temporarily avoid all corn products, including corn-syrup (a sweetener). READ LABELS CAREFULLY! 

Also, try to avoid cross contamination, where gluten accidentally comes into contact with non-glutenous foods (at a food processing plant, at food stores--like from bulk bins using the same scooper, in the home, etc.)

Millet agrees with some Celiac Disease patients, but is not tolerated by other Celiac Disease patients. Temporarily, avoid millet.

For some Gluten Sensitive/Celiac Disease, etc. patients (babies included) it is best to AVOID ALL GRAINS TEMPORARILY, and then try organic brown rice, later on. Recent data shows that Celiac Disease is found in at least about 1 out of 120 people (not rare at all!). If the baby has ancestors from Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Scandinavian countries, Northern Africa, Northern Europe in general, there is even a higher (genetic) chance of having Gluten Sensitivity/Celiac Disease, etc. And, gluten sensitivity (Celiac Disease &/or other types of gluten sensitivity) may exist in as many as 1 out of 3 people! 

Untreated Celiac Disease or any type of untreated gluten sensitivity can cause or worsen GERD. The treatment for Gluten Sensitivity/Celiac Disease is a gluten-free diet, plus GF (gluten-free) nutritional supplements (vitamins, minerals, etc.) prescribed by the doctor, or found by parents, with the doctor's OK.

d) Discuss with your pediatrician, whether soy &/or corn products are OK or not for the baby. Soy &/or corn may be OK for some babies, but some other babies are sensitive to soy proteins &/or corn proteins, and should avoid soy &/or corn products. If sensitive to corn or soy, eating such foods can cause reflux.

e) To find out some foods your baby may be sensitive to, please see link "AA", at the bottom of http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com/links.html . This "AA", is a link to Dr. Kenneth Fine's (MD) "EnteroLab", which does special stool testing (analysis), recently patented. This is often more accurate (and is non-invasive), than intestinal biopsies (which are invasive). Link "AA" is http://www.finerhealth.com

f) If the baby may be lactose (milk-sugar) intolerant, ask the pediatric doc about possibly pre-treating breast milk or goat milk with lactase enzymes to pre-digest (break down) the lactose (milk-sugar).

g) Avoid all artificial ingredients. Avoid so-called "natural" colors, flavors, sweeteners, etc. Read labels carefully.

(3) If the baby has ever taken antibiotics, the baby may need to have (drink) BENEFICIAL (good) EDIBLE BACTERIA (called PRO-BIOTICS) to replace the good bacteria in the large intestine, that were killed off by the antibiotics. 

The ETHICAL NUTRIENTS  company sells an INFANT/NURSING MOTHER formula of BIFIDUS INFANTUM probiotics, called DAIRY-FREE, MAXI-BIFIDUS, that has only rice maltodextrin (said to be gluten-free, but the label doesn't say gluten-free) mixed with the Bifidus infantum powder. This is a milk-free preparation, and can be very helpful to treat or prevent yeast infections (like Candida albicans/thrush, etc.) in a baby that took anti-biotics. Look in the refrigerated section of good health food stores. Check with your pediatric doc, and follow label directions carefully. The store can order it, if not immediately available. Bifidus is related to Acidophilus. A milk-free probiotic is a good substitute for cow's milk probiotic foods like yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, etc., which may cause GERD, due to sensitivity to milk sugar or milk proteins in cow's milk.

Avoid FOS's (fructo oligo saccharides), which may, in some cases, cause worse reflux, when the FOS's are eaten by bad bacteria in the intestines. See Appendix B, above.

(4) Avoid tight diapers, which can cause a gastric reflux episode. Keep diapers loose.

(5) Avoid any pressure on the abdomen or stomach area of the baby, including the sitting position. Either hold baby upright, after each feeding, or have the crib tilted/slanted at a 30 degree angle, with head end higher (elevated) than feet. Some doctors feel that having the baby in bed with mother can help also, so that the baby feels more secure, and mother can see quickly, if the baby is having any BREATHING problems, DUE TO A GASTRIC REFLUX EPISODE. Quickly recognizing and treating breathing difficulties, can help to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), caused by an infant GERD episode. Ask your baby doctor (pediatrician &/or pediatric pulmonologist/lung doctor &/or pediatric GI/Gastro-intestinal doctor), about this.

(a) Keep head of baby higher than feet, by putting blocks a few inches thick, under the head end of the crib, making the crib tilt/slant, at a 30 degree angle, with head end higher than feet.

(6) Check with your baby doctor about which positions are safest for the baby, when lying down. Some say that sleeping on the left side may reduce reflux. Some people think that lying on the abdomen can put a baby at risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). There is disagreement about what are safe positions.

(7)For reflux &/or colic: Two books (see sources) recommend using tiny amounts of the herb Slippery Elm inner bark powder, which can be mixed with good quality well or spring water (avoid distilled water, because it has no minerals at all in it), or with breastmilk or with goat milk. Slippery Elm is soothing, coating, healing, and nourishing, AS LONG AS THE BABY IS NOT ALLERGIC TO ELM TREES. (Check with the doctor first).

These books also recommend Marshmallow root powder (mixed with water or safe milk), if baby is not allergic to this herb. (Ask doctor first).

These books also recommend making a weak tea out of the SEEDS of FENNEL, or DILL, or CARAWAY, or, a mild CATNIP (herb/leaf) tea. This weak tea can be taken by the baby AND/OR the nursing mother. (Ask doctor first, about trying each of these alone, and then maybe a combination).

(8) One website (see sources) had a father recommend a very TINY amount of the spice ginger, mixed with water or safe milk, for his baby that had GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease).

(9) Keep baby away from any CIGARETTE SMOKE. Second-hand smoke can cause a GERD episode in a baby!

(10) It can be VERY HELPFUL to KEEP IN PHYSICAL CONTACT with the baby, ESPECIALLY WHEN FEEDING (NURSING, ETC.), which is reassuring to the baby, and promotes better digestion.

See the sources below, for more information:

(A) The Wise Woman Herbal Childbearing Year, by Susun S. Weed (1986). Ash Tree Publishing, Woodstock, New York

(B) Back To Eden, by Jethro Kloss (1939), Loma Linda, California

(C) Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James F. Balch, MD and Phyllis A. Balch, CNC (Nutritionist) (1997), Avery Publishing Group, Garden City Park, New York

(D) Reflux Digest-Spring 2000, at http://www.reflux.org/reflux/paghomfa.nsf/Pages/digest4-1.htm

The present name (2002) of this parents' support group is : PAGER (Pediatric/Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association), and their website has a parents forum, at http://www.reflux.org

(E) Conservative Therapy, The Best Way to Deal With A Baby With GERD, by Tatiana Bidikov, MD (But, DO NOT PUT BABY ON ABDOMEN, UNLESS YOUR DOCTOR SAYS IT IS SAFE!! Some doctors think baby lying on the abdomen could cause SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME (SIDS). ASK ABOUT PUTTING BABY ON HIS OR HER SIDE, AND WHICH SIDE IS BETTER, if OK with your pediatrition.)

(F) Go to the forums called Gluten Sensitivity/Celiac Disease forum, & Peripheral Neuropathy forum, both at http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/index.php and write a message to a mom "JCC/Cara" who knows much about Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease. Look for topics/threads by "jcc/Cara" about FOOD SENSITIVITIES CAUSING MALABSORPTION. Read JCC's links to websites of Dr. Fine, who is an EXPERT at diagnosing and treating Celiac Disease, and other food protein sensitivities & food non-protein intolerances that can lead to INFANT GERD. Links to additional good gluten-intolerance forums, are http://www.celiac.com and http://www.forums.delphiforums.com/celiac Also, see (G) below.

(G) "EnteroLab", a laboratory in Houston, Texas, created by an experienced Gastroenterologist, Dr. Kenneth Fine, MD, does special stool tests (you send in a stool sample from your child), to accurately tell you some foods your child may be allergic to, sensitive to, or intolerant of. Then, avoiding these foods can often greatly help to lessen gastric reflux! Check with your child's doctor. Dr. Fine's website is at http://www.finerhealth.com . Also, see (F) above. 

(H) National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC) has an informative website about the risks & dangers of vaccinations, including SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Their website is at http://www.909shot.com


I mention brand names of some things that we have used and like, or that others have recommended to us. However, we get no money and no compensation from the companies mentioned.



Some COMPUTER (and DRIVING) ERGONOMICS (body position) TIPS. These tips can prevent NECK muscle tension (MUSCLE TENSION DYSPHONIA), thereby decreasing VCD:

1) Fold down the plastic flaps that are on underside of keyboard. Put computer keyboard ON LAP, not on desk.  This allows upper arms to relax, hanging down at sides, by gravity. This can prevent (or treat) Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). Some symptoms of TOS can be any of these (at least): neck muscle tension, arms might feel heavy, or painful, or numb, or pins & needles in arms, unusual, unpleasant "alarm" feeling can sometimes wash over upper torso in front &/or over the upper back, etc. 

With keyboard on lap, you won't need wrist rests. 

Most find it helpful to use an office chair that doesn't have arm rests, or, where arm rests can rotate back, out of the way of arms. (I myself keep those arm rests rotated back entirely, and this is very helpful!)

To prevent keyboard from sliding forward, off the lap, brace right part of front edge of keyboard against front of a desk drawer, where desk drawers are located to the right of right knee. Front edge of keyboard is closer to knees than to belly. It also helps, to wear pants or skirt that are not too smoothe in texture. Or, put a non-shiny cloth on lap, for keyboard to sit on top of.

From shoulders down to elbows, should be a vertical line (or close to vertical--just about "plumb"). From elbows to fingers, should be a slightly descending line (elbows a little higher than hands). Wrists should not be noticeably bent. You pivot lower arms from elbows. 

It helps to learn how to "touch type", on your keyboard. Position the keyboard (left/right) so that hands are symmetrical, in "ready" position for typing.

2) Be sure monitor is not too high or too low, to prevent neck strain. Notice where your natural gaze lands, on the monitor. A normal gaze descends (drops) slightly, from eyes, to whatever object the gaze falls on (monitor).

If your natural gaze falls very close to the bottom of the monitor screen, the monitor may be too high, and may need to be lowered.

If your gaze falls very close to the top of the monitor screen, the monitor may be too low, and may need to be raised up higher.

If your gaze falls somewhere in the middle of the monitor screen, your monitor is OK where it is.

3) Use computer glasses (tri-focal length power, no stronger than +1.00, or preferably +0.75), or, buy magnifier clip ons to clip onto your eye-glasses. Power of clip-ons should be at most +1.00, or if possible, +0.75 (I use these "clip ons" on my eyeglasses, myself, and they are fantastic for reducing neck muscle tension!)

Optometrists sell computer glasses, and magnifier clip-ons (some other type businesses also sell magnifying clip-ons). 

If computer glasses (or clip-ons) are not used, when sitting at the computer, neck strain (from craning neck, trying to see monitor better) could cause larynx to move out of normal position, causing stress on vocal cords, pre-disposing one to having VCD.

Avoid contact lenses. Contact lenses might cause a neurological reaction that promotes VCD.

If you don't need glasses, you can buy non-prescription magnifying glasses, having a power of +1.00 or +0.75, to be your computer glasses, or, buy magnifying clip-ons, to put over plain glass eyeglasses, or, have computer glasses made for you by an optometrist.

4) Find a Speech Pathologist who knows how to do and teach MANUAL LARYNGEAL MUSCLE TENSION REDUCTION TECHNIQUES, (like "circum-laryngeal" massage), if needed. Nelson Roy, in Salt Lake City, Utah, teaches this to Speech Pathlogists, and others.

5) Tilt seat of office chair (part you sit on) slightly downward in front (part of seat closer to knees, than to belly), to relieve pressure under thighs, and to preserve the lumbar curve of the back. 

6) See if office chair seat is too low or too high. Your feet should comfortably be flat on floor, somewhat forward of a plumb line down from knees. Don't tuck feet under chair. Avoid crossing legs.

7) See a good OCCUPATIONAL THERAPSIT), preferably one who knows & uses Feldenkrais Method, and other ERGONOMICS tips, to decrease NECK "MUSCLE TENSION DYSPHONIA". (I myself did this years ago, and it was amazingly helpful!)

8) Don't sit still. Move body (with Feldenkrais movements), stretch, etc., while sitting in office chair. Get up often and walk around.

9) When driving, try holding steering wheel lower down, (at 5:00 and 7:00, rather than at 10:00 & 2:00) and try not to hold on too tightly. Some find pillow support for arms to be helpful. See a good Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) forum, for more ergonomic advice, at http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=24



GLUTEN-FREE (g-f) EATING TIPS (including basics first, then milk protein-free, corn protein-free, soy protein-free, gum-free recipes, brands, restaurants, bakeries, etc.) 

1) What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein-like substance, found in wheat, rye, and barley, and, gluten can cross-contaminate oats & buckwheat, (at packaging plants, &/or in “bulk” bins where “scoops” get moved around a lot). Avoid all of these, at least temporarily, like for a month. VCD patients should avoid eating, touching or inhaling gluten (when possible), if sensitive to gluten. BROWN RICE IS GLUTEN-FREE and it is more nutritious than white rice. Use brown rice, as your only grain, at this time (if not allergic to rice, and if not sensitive to rice proteins)
2) Can a gluten sensitivity ever cause VCD &/or asthma?
YES! The stomach can react badly to incoming gluten, causing gastric reflux episodes, (even silent reflux, without heartburn!), called LPR/laryngo pharyngeal reflux. The high up LPR reflux episodes can burn vocal cordscausing or worsening VCD, and can hurt the lungs, causing asthma, etc (See "some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS" above.)
3) How common is gluten sensitivity?
According to Dr. Kenneth Fine (gastroenterologist MD), who has a very helpful website at http://www.finerhealth.com , there may be as many as about 1 out of 3 people (33%), who have a gluten "sensitivity ". This includes both Celiac Disease, and non-Celiac types of gluten sensitivity. This used to be called gluten "intolerance", but now, it is called a gluten "sensitivity". Celiac Disease (gluten causes auto-immune damage to small intestines) may be found in about 1 out of 100 people (about 1% of the population). But, most people who are gluten sensitive have non-Celiac types of gluten sensitivity--maybe as many as 33% of the population!
4) What about sensitivities to milk proteins (casein, whey, etc.), and other food protein sensitivites? Can the stomach react badly, causing reflux, leading to VCD?
YES! Examples: milk proteins (casein, whey, etc.), corn proteins, soy proteins, yeast proteins, egg proteins, etc. Avoid some or all of these, too, for a month.
5) How does Dr. Fine's "EnteroLab" detect gluten, etc. sensitivities?
When "sensitive" to a food protein, the immune system makes IgA & IgG antibodieswhich are different antibodies, compared with antibodies created from protein "allergy" reactions (IgE antibodies). Dr. Fine's non-invasive stool sample tests, deal with detecting elevated numbers of IgA antibodies, which antibodies are made in the large intestine/gut/colon, where stool is also made. See http://www.finerhealth.com
6) What are some health problems sometimes related to having a gluten sensitivity, either Celiac Disease or non-Celiac gluten sensitivities?  milk protein sensitivity, etc.?
The immune system may react badly to incoming food proteins that one is sensitive to, like gluten, milk, soy, egg, corn, yeast proteins, etc. Then, the immune system can cause auto-immune attacks on almost anyplace in the body, such as: thyroid gland (can be over or under active!), pancreas (diabetes), joints (arthritis), nervous system: brain/nerves (seizures, autism, peripheral neuropathy, etc.), small intestine "villi" damage (Celiac Disease), small intestine sub-microscopic damage, (non-Celiac Disease causing indigestion/less than normal digestive enzymes secreted, and less than normal absorption, and there may or may not be diarrhea, constipation, anemia, osteoporosis, etc.), skin (rashes), legs (Restless Legs Syndrome/RLS), etc.

7) What is the difference between "sensitivity" and "intolerance" (to certain parts of foods)?
"Intolerances" to some foods, means that non-protein parts of foods don't agree with someone. (Example: a lactose/milk sugar intolerance---sugar is a carbohydrate, not a protein). Because proteins are not involved, no antibodies are made, with "intolerances"--so there are no auto-immune reactions.

8) Can a person be "allergic" to gluten?

Yes: A few people are actually "allergic" to gluten, but many more are "sensitive" to gluten.
Allergic reactions to proteins, are usually more immediate than sensitivity reactions, and allergic reactions can include a skin rash, hives (swollen bumps/welts that itch), and life-threatening anaphylaxis: swelling up of the trachea (windpipe), collapse of blood circulation (shock), etc.

9) What does it mean, if a person comes out "negative" for gluten sensitivity (or for milk protein sensitivity) on Dr. Fine's "EnteroLab" stool sample testing?

It could mean that the person is not sensitive to gluten. OR:

It could mean that the person IS sensitive to gluten, but happens to be the 1 out of 500 gluten-sensitive people, whose immune system is not producing any or enough of the IgA antibodies that the immune system SHOULD be making, against gluten, milk proteins, etc. This is called having an "IgA deficiency"!

So, here are 2 things to try, if you come out "negative" on Dr. Fine's "EnteroLab" stool sample testing:

a) Get off the suspected protein(s) for 3 months, and see if your bad symptoms go away, and/or:

b) Get a blood test done called "Total Secretory IgA" blood test, that tells whether a person is or is not producing any or enough IgA antibodies to various food proteins. If your immune system is not telling your large intestine to make IgA antibodies, then, you may have an "IgA deficiency", meaning, that you may very well be sensitive to the protein(s) in question. So: Get off (stop eating or drinking or touching) those proteins for 3 months, and see if you get better. Don't lick stamps or envelopes, in case the glue might have gluten in the glue!

10) See below for TASTY recipes, brand names, restaurants, bakeries, for eating gluten-free, milk-free, etc. CHECK the following WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST, to be sure these are safe for you.


Consider trying the following, for a month or so, in case you might have a gluten sensitivity, casein (milk protein) sensitivity, etc. Check with your doctor to be sure these recipes, etc., are safe for you.  If possible, make your home gluten-free for this month. See if this lessens reflux, thereby decreasing VCD attacks.


Read labels, to avoid reflux-causing ingredients and to avoid foods that were produced in a factory that also processes glutenous foods (which can "cross contaminate" non-glutenous foods with gluten.)



11) Look for 1 or more gluten-free bakeries (for g-f pies, cakes, pita bread, bagels, brownies, breads, rolls, buns, crackers, bread crumbs, etc., &/or g-f restaurantsin your area. Ask about ingredients (and read labels).



12) CAKE recipe (Gluten-free, Casein-free, Corn-free, Soy-free, Gum-free):


Use any regular cake recipeand make the following substitutions (use organic ingredients, when you can):


Instead of wheat flour, use brown rice flour (organic). Buy packaged brown rice flour--not from a bulk bin, where the scoop may have previously been in a glutenous flour bin, such as wheat, rye, barley flour, thus causing cross contamination with gluten.


Instead of butter, and instead of "shortening", and instead of margerine, use sesame oil (organic) or olive oil (organic).


Instead of sugar, use raw or cooked honey (in 1/2 the amount of sugar called for, since honey is twice as sweet as sugar). Or, use date powder, instead of sugar. Or, use rice syrup (gluten-free), as a sweetener. It's a little milder than honey.


Cooked honey is safer than raw honey, for sick people or those on steroids, at this time, because if one's immune system is depressed, FROM BEING ON STEROIDS, OR BEING SICK, and if there's any botulism/food poisoning bacteria spores, in the raw honey, a person on steroids could get a very severe, dangerous, possibly life-threatening case of botulism food poisoning.


Instead of regular baking powder, use a baking powder that is aluminum-free, and potato based, instead of corn based. (Featherweight brand is a very good brand of baking powder that is both aluminum-free, and gluten-free, and corn-free. It is potato based.).

(If potatoes bother you, try a baking powder substitute, such as baking soda, &/or cream of tartar etc.)


Use a "food processer": Pulverize some organic carrots, and add a handful of the pulverized carrots to the cake batter--if not allergic to carrots (the pectin--a good type of fiber, gluten-free, -- in the carrots, makes the cake moist, with a wheat-y, springy texture, and prevents a sandy grainy texture).


Use water instead of milk. (Or, you can use home made almond mylk, etc.)


Use organic, free range eggs, if possible, as long as there's no allergy to eggs, and no sensitivity to proteins in eggs (Dr. Fine's "EnteroLab" stool sample testing, can test for egg protein sensitivities, gluten sensitivity, milk protein sensitivity, etc. See his website at http://www.finerhealth.com ). Food sensitivities are different from food allergies.


Use a gluten-free, non-alcohol based vanilla extract, or, you can scrape off some vanilla bean particles, from a vanilla bean, or a non-grain alcohol vanilla extract.


If carob (also known as St. John's "bread"--it's a bean/legume, not bread) agrees with you, try using raw or roasted carob (bean pod) powder, instead of cocoa powder.


Bake the cake in pyrex cake pan(s), or in stainless steel cake pan(s). AVOID ALL ALUMINUM COOKWARE!


You can try to improve on this cake recipe, any way you wish.


See many more gluten-free (g-f) recipes at a Gluten Sensitivity/Celiac Disease forum, at http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/forumdisplay.php?f=13


You can also see whether someone on this forum may be in your area. There are very nice people on this forum!  Some know quite a bit about gluten sensitivity.



13) TINKYADA (Canadian) brand brown rice PASTAS (of all kinds, such as macaroni, spaghetti, shells, lasagna noodles, ziti, penne, spirals, etc.), are made from ONLY brown rice, and these delicious pastas are gluten-free. They are "dedicated" to being gluten-free.


Follow label directions, and boil in water (IN PYREX COOKWARE, or safe stainless steel) for 2 minutes. Then, let sit, covered, for 20 minutes. Drain. They're done, and delicious!


Buy at health food stores, or from good regular grocery stores.   



14) Tasty brown rice  CEREAL  recipe, for breakfast, or at any time. Can double as a Thai style rice pudding dessert (without eggs). A Thai restaurantinspired this recipe

Put the following ingredients in a cup or bowl, and enjoy the tropical flavor. This cereal (can be eaten warm or cold) is filling, delicious, and nutritious, GLUTEN-FREE, and MILK-FREE:


Cooked brown rice (organic--short or long grain), 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup (more or less) of the cooked rice.

To cook brown rice (whole grain rice), put 1 cup of raw brown rice in a cooking pot. Add 2 cups good quality water. (Or, use 2 cups of raw rice, with 4 cups of water.)  Cover pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer, and cook/simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes, until all water is absorbed by rice. If cooked rice still is too hard--not fully cooked--, add a little more water, and continue to simmer, covered, until cooked rice "fluffs" up (softens), and all water is absorbed.


Almonds, small handful, organic, raw, unsalted (IF NOT ALLERGIC)


Raisins, small handful, organic


Honey, raw or cooked (if sick, or on steroids, use cooked honey) --just a little, OR:


Dates, fresh organic (pitted, then soaked in a little water, then blenderized--use dates & water--very sweet). OR, you can use date powder (also called date sugar, which is powdered dried dates). Use to taste. Avoid the dates, if you have any problems with dates, or if trying to avoid too much sugar. OR:


Rice syrup (a little milder than honey), as long as you don’t have any problems with rice. 


Optional: Fruit that agrees with you, like fresh blueberries, banana (avoid banana & avoid kiwi fruit, if allergic to latex/rubber), figs, etc.

Home-made coconut mylk, plus a little home-made almond mylk &/or rice mylk, if desired.


Milk substitutes (home-made almond mylk or rice mylk --GLUTEN-FREE)--see below for how to make these:



15) Home-made COCONUT MYLK milk substitute (home-made avoids additives in store-bought brands):


Blenderize (thoroughly) IN A GLASS BLENDER, or a new plastic blender, a small handful of organic dried coconut (or can use fresh coconut), with 8 oz. good quality water.


Strain 3 times (3x) through fine mesh strainer (or can use cheesecloth). Coconut mylk adds an exotic, delicious flavor to the rice cereal/pudding.

Recently, I've seen and tried drinking several canned coconut mylk brands at health food stores, that have NO ADDITIVES, and they are delicious!





16) Home-made ALMOND 'MYLK' milk substitute (if not allergic to almonds):


Blenderize (thoroughly) IN A GLASS BLENDER, OR NEW PLASTIC ONE a small handful of raw, unsalted, organic almonds, with an 8 oz. glass of good non-chlorinated, non-fluoridated well or spring water (filtered water is OK, if the filter is solid carbon, not silver).


Strain 3x through a fine mesh strainer (or can use cheesecloth). Delicious! Keeps a few days in refrigerator, if not used right away. Doesn't need any sweetener. 



17) Home-made RICE 'MYLK' milk substitute (if no health problems with eating rice):


Blenderize (thoroughly) a small handful of cooked brown rice, with 8 oz. of good quality water, plus one or two drops safflower oil (if safflower oil agrees with you), plus one or two drops of raw honey (or cooked honey, if ever taking steroids, or if sick), or rice syrup, if sweetener is needed.


Strain 3x through fine mesh strainer, or with cheese-cloth. Keeps in refrigerator for a few days.



18) Home-made GLUTEN-FREE BREAD recipe: can be used for making sandwiches, toast (buy a new toaster & dedicate it to gluten-free breads), garlic bread, garlic toast, french toast, croutons, in meat-loaf, g-f crumbs for "breading" some meat dishes, etc.


Gluten-free BREAD (rice/potato/tapioca) recipe: Makes two 5"x9" bread loaves. This recipe is a variation of Cara's (burger) "best buns" recipe, on a Gluten Sensitivity/Celiac Disease forum, at http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/forumdisplay.php?f=13


This recipe is gluten-free, milk-free, corn-free, soy-free, "gum"-free.


Ingredients: (try to buy organic ones, when possible, from a health food store, etc.):


3 cups brown rice grains (short grain works the best)


3 cups well water, spring water, or other good quality non-chlorinated, non-fluoridated water (for soaking rice in—you will be using all the water that the rice grains were soaking in, and you probably will have to add some more water, too, to help with the "blenderizing", described below)


2 Tbs. (Tablespoons) or less, of raw or cooked honey OR, can use up to 2 Tbs. of Brown Rice Syrup (gluten-free) 


4 large eggs (from free range hens, organic), if not allergic to proteins in eggs, and if not sensitive to proteins in eggs


1 1/2 tsp. (teaspoons) apple cider vinegar, or rice vinegar (these are gluten-free vinegars). Avoid "white" vinegar (made from a glutenous grain), in case of possible traces of gluten in the white vinegar.


3 Tbs. sesame oil or olive oil 


1/4 to 1 tsp. of blackstrap molasses (optional)


1 3/4 cups potato flakes ("instant" mashed potato flakes--but not from a "bulk bin", where food scoops could cross contaminate the potatoes, with gluten, etc.) . If potatoes bother you (intolerance), substitute for the potato flakes, by using more rice flour &/or tapioca flour.  


3/4 cup tapioca flour


3/4 tsp. sea salt (non-iodized, no additives)--optional (can omit if have high blood pressure) 


3 level tsp. Featherweight brand baking powder (aluminum-free, and it is based on potato, not corn) . If potatoes bother you, instead of baking powder, use 1 & 1/2 level tsp. baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and/or 1 & 1/2 level tsp. of cream of tartar. 


2 large mixing bowls (not aluminum)


1 glass blender


Electronic mixer/egg beater, (having 2 egg beaters)


Two 5"x9" pyrex (or stainless steel) bread loaf baking dishes/pans


1 large metal spoon, for hand mixing (or new wooden spoon/keep gluten-free)

sesame oil (or olive oil) to coat the 2 bread baking dishes




In a large mixing bowl, soak brown rice grains in the water, for at least 6 hours, covered.


If the rice/water sits for more than 6 hours, wild yeasts will enter the bowl, and the bread will have more of a yeast-bread flavor. If any of your family might have a yeast problem, limit soaking time to 6 hours. (For yeast infection, there are "Dairy-Free probiotics (Acidophilus, Bifidus, etc.) that should be without FOS's (fructo-oligo-saccharides). FOS's can upset the stomach (by feeding bad bacteria, in addition to feeding the good bacteria/probiotics), leading to reflux, leading to VCD attacks.

After the soaking time is up (at least 6 hours, up to about 24 hours, or longer, to get a more yeast-y, even sourdough flavor), pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Blenderize (in batches) all the rice/water mixture, for 1-2 minutes, on high speed, until rice grains become about the size of salt grains. If necessary, keep adding a little more water, as needed, into the blender, in order to thoroughly blenderize all the rice/water—to make a "batter". If motor slows down, or if you smell a burning smell, add water to thin the batter in blender, to save blender motor from overworking and failing.


Pour this (rice/water) "batter" into a large mixing bowl (not aluminum).


Coat (oil) the insides of 2 bread loaf pans, with a little sesame or olive oil.


Add the following liquid ingredients to the rice/water batter, using spoon or egg beaters, to thoroughly mix the following into the batter: honey (or brown rice syrup), eggs, gluten-free vinegar, oil, optional molasses.


In another (dry) mixing bowl, use spoon to mix together the following dry ingredients: potato flakes, tapioca flour, salt (optional), baking powder (or substitute).


Add the dry ingredients, that is, the potato flakes/tapioca flour/(salt)/baking powder mixture to the batter, and quickly use egg beaters to completely mix these dry ingredients into the liquid batter, to form a bread dough.


The dough becomes a little thicker, as the  dry ingredients absorb the liquid. The dough should not be too stiff. Add a little water, if necessary, so the dough/batter is liquid-y (but not too thin), but also, not too thick.


Pour bread dough/batter into the two 5"x9" (oiled) pyrex bread loaf pans, filling each bread loaf pan about 3/4 full.


Put the 2 bread loaf pans into pre-heated oven (375 degrees), and bake the 2 loaves for about an hour, at 375 degrees. Test for done-ness with knife or straw. If done, these will come out clean (or almost clean), and the crust will be nicely browned. If not yet done, keep baking a little more, testing for done-ness, until breads are done, but not overbaked. I usually need to keep baking for about another half hour, at least!


Remove breads from baking dishes. They smell delicious! They come out very easily. When cool, you can store bread loaves in refrigerator.


Experiment, to improve on this recipe. You can try adding caraway seeds & a little molasses, &/or just a very little bit of cocoa (or carob bean pod) powder, for a "rye" flavored bread, if these agree with youAdding fresh dill, etc., to batter, makes an herb bread.



19) In Colorado, we can buy "Outside the Breadbox" gluten-free breads (Company located in Colorado Springs, CO), which are sold at Vitamin Cottage health food stores.

If your area doesn't sell "Outside the Breadbox" gluten-free breads, try buying, at health food stores, the brand of gluten-free bread called "Food for Life":

Food for Life (bread company brand) makes/sells frozen brown rice breads that are almost as tasty as above recipe (contains potato).  And, this company also makes good tasting frozen brown rice tortillas. See frozen breads (freezer) section of good health food stores.



20) Pamela's Products (bread company) makes/sells gluten-free flour mixes, for making "...waffles, cookies, cakes, pie crust, crepes, scones, and more!" See flour section of good health food stores. They are a little on the sweet side, so use only if SUGAR isn't a problem for you. Read labels. 



21) A wild grass plant called Indian Rice Grass (Achnatherum Hymenoides) has seeds that are ground into a gluten-free flour, and is now being grown in Montana, USA. This flour's brand name is "Montina". It has a somewhat strong flavor, so only a small amount (like a cup) should be mixed with other gluten-free grains such as brown rice flour, to give a more hearty bread flavor. Also, it still has some scratchy fiber in it, that wasn't removed, so avoid for very young children (can scratch the delicate tissues of mouth or throat).

Tef (an Ethiopian tiny gluten-free grain) and Sorghum (gluten-free grain) are nice substitutes for Montina, when desired, to give a pumperknickel look and richer flavor, to a gluten-free bread.



22) P.F. Chang's is a chain of American Chinese restaurants that has a gluten-free menu available to customers. If sensitive to soy protein, avoid soy sauces, including gluten-free soy sauces. If sensitive to corn protein, avoid corn products, including corn starch. Ask for stir fry meals, without sauces.


See if any other restaurants in your area might also offer a gluten-free choice of meals on their menus.



Some TOTAL DIARY TIPS (Do a "total diary" for at least a week)--to discover previously hidden causes & effects! A "diary" is a written record/journal, that you write in, every day, and include all of the following:

FOODS you eat, etc.,
including all foods, beverages (drinks), snacks, ingredients (read labels), herbs, spices, MEDICATIONS (prescribed, over the counter, herbs, nutritional supplements, body building supplements, etc.) that you take (bad side effects of meds/medications can cause VCD in some cases), anything chewed (tobacco, gum, etc.), throat lozenges, cough drops (temporarily avoid all mints, chocolate), drugs, anything that can get partly swallowed, like toothpaste, mouthwash (Temporarily avoid toothpastes & mouthwashes. Instead, use baking soda --sodium bicarbonate--, or, if you have high blood pressure, use just water, plus unflavored dental floss), icy cold drinks, ice cubes (avoid eating ice cubes, or, if addicted to chewing & swallowing ice, please see webpage 5, about how this can worsen reflux, & how to cure the ice chewing habit, depending on the causes).
GLUTENOUS COMMUNION WAFERS (WHEAT), can cause severe reflux, if gluten-sensitive (Celiac and non-Celiac). This can cause VCD attacks. Ask to avoid the wheat communion wafers, and use only the wine, when taking communion. Include
TIMES of day or night, that you eat, drink, or use, any of the above items,

LOCATIONS of where you are, including homes (which rooms), day care, schools (where, within the school), work/job locations (offices, stores, etc.), hobby & sport locations, outdoors, yards, gardens, farms, boats, malls, stores, parks. This sometimes shows "sick building syndrome" or "building related illness", etc. Include TIMES of day or night, that you are at each location.

ACTIVITIES you do (work, sports, exercise, etc.), including working at a computer, bending over (in sports, or to clean, or to take blood pressures if a nurse, etc.), sitting, lying down, driving a particular vehicle, eating, swimming in a chlorinated pool, working out, WEIGHT LIFTING, lifting heavy items, picking up or carrying children, picking up patients (if a nurse, etc.), going to a gym (students, etc.), exercise, sports (RUNNING, JUMPING, BASKETBALL, SOCCER, BICYCLE RIDING, etc.), CHEERLEADING, playing WIND INSTRUMENTS in a band, orchestra, etc., sleeping, excessive voice use, singing, laughing, straining, MILITARY physical drills, bootcamp, work, etc. Include TIMES of day or night, that you do each activity.

AIR QUALITY, wherever you are, at home, school, work/job (even some doctors' offices & hospitals may have bad air quality!), possible allergy to rubber gloves (latex allergy), hobby locations, outdoors, etc. Is the air very dry? Is there central air (heating &/or air conditioning), with unclean (dirty) air-ducts? Are airducts ever cleaned? (See webpage 5 for many examples of bad air quality). Notice where source of outside air is located--(maybe near car exhaust fumes from a parking lot?). Look for possible MOLD, new or old carpet, remodeling, excess dust, use of SPRAYS of any kind, nearby industry, indoor or outdoor air pollution, toxic synthetic fragrances (avoid air fresheners, both plug-in & sprays), chemical fumes, toxic or irritating dusts, cigarette smoke, cigar smoke, any other types of smoke, pesticide use (to kill mosquitoes, to kill "noxious" weeds, etc.), pest control chemicals, tree sprays (to repel pine beetles, etc.), perfumes, scented products, pet shampoos, pet chemical collars, strong cleansers, anti-bacterial cleansers, copy toner, ozone from laser printers, and anything else you suspect that may cause bad air quality. Include TIMES of day or night, that you are exposed to possibly bad air quality.

SYMPTOMS, of any kind that you experience, including breathing, voice, digestive, joint, neurological, thyroid (or other endocrine glands), cardiac (heart), circulation (blood, lymph), allergic, etc. Include TIMES of day or night, that you have any unusual or abnormal symptoms.

Keeping a written TOTAL DIARY, for at least a week, will help you to see some possible CAUSES & EFFECTS, regarding your situation. Then, you can suggest that your doctors investigate further, and ask your doctors to refer you to more experts/specialists (doctors, speech pathologists, etc.*)!

ALSO very helpful, for doing your "total diary", is to DO A "SCAVENGER HUNT", using webpage 5, at http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com/page5.html . This will give you more ideas about things to include in your total diary. The "scavenger hunt" plus "total diary", will help you to look for and find some hidden VCD triggers in your life, plus hidden reflux triggers in your diet & activities.  When you can, involve family and friends, and if the patient is a child old enough to participate, include child that has VCD too, in doing the scavenger hunt.

Keeping a total diary, for a week (or longer) can be tedious, but will be very helpful, for finding clues and answers, to help you conquer the VCD & other conditions! Try this! You'll see!

*More experts/specialists, you may need to see, to help FULLY & ACCURATELY DIAGNOSE YOU, and who can suggest TREATMENT CHOICES, include these doctors/physicians, etc.:

(ENT/ear, nose & throat specialist doc, who specializes even further, in throat, vocal cords, neck)--a must!--who knows about VCD

*Pulmonologist (lung specialist doc), to see if you do or don't have asthma, &/or ??

*Endocrinologist (endocrine gland/ductless gland specialist doc), who knows about thyroid gland, parathyroid glands (4 or more, usually near thyroid), adrenal glands (both outer & inner parts called adrenal cortex & adrenal medulla), pancreas, pituitary gland (both front & back parts), testes (male) and ovaries (female), etc., to find out if you have any kind of thyroid problem, etc., and if yes, is it possibly due to gluten sensitivity auto immune reactions, &/or ??

*Gastroenterologist (digestive system doc, including tongue, throat, esophagus, stomach, small & large intestines, gall bladder, pancreas, etc.). This specialist can help figure out possible HIDDEN causes of possible GASTRIC REFLUX. Get a second opinion, if possible, before having any surgery.  There are non-surgical treatment options for hiatal hernia, most reflux, etc.

*Allergist, who knows about allergies, food protein "sensitivities", food (non-protein) "intolerances, etc., and how the food protein sensitivities & food non-protein intolerances can cause or worsen gastric reflux, leading to VCD attcks.

*Neurologist &/or Orthopedic MD's or DO's (medical doctors or osteopathic doctors), if and when needed,

*Occupational/Environmental Health MD,
to help discover hidden toxic MOLDS, other air quality issues, etc.

*Gynecologist (female problems doc) or Urologist (male problems doc),

*Other specialty docs,

*SLP/Speech & Language Pathologist, who can teach patients,  family, & friends, how to immediately or quickly stop VCD attacks. Some are aware of other conditions that may "mimic" VCD, or, which can co-exist with VCD. Some can suggest names of MD's, who know about VCD, VCD "mimics", etc.

*Respiratory Therapists,

*Chiropracters (gentle only)


*Physical Therapists (gentle only),

*Feldenkrais Method practitioners
(Feldenkrais is a type of neuro-muscular physical therapy, helpful to lessen neck muscle tension, depending on causes),

*Aston-Patterning practitioners
( " ),

*Psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, etc.,
to give support, lessen stress, while all patient's causes of VCD are looked for,

*Acupuncturists, Reiki practitioners, Hypnotherapists, Biofeedback specialists, Buteyko practitioners (to try to lessen asthma, drug-free--but work with asthma doc before changing or lessening drugs) and other holistic practitioners,

(health practitioners and allied health professionals, etc.)

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