Which alcoholic drinks would you recommend for someone who has GERDs?
September 23, 2010 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Which alcoholic drinks would you recommend to someone who has GERDs? I would like to have a few drinks to get a little buzz going this weekend with friends without damaging my stomach. Also, what food and/or OTC would be good to take before and after drinking?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
By the fact that you are asking this question, you know that the right answer is, "Don't drink alcohol." You are also aware that the issue with GERDs is not the stomach, but reflux into the esophagus. Alcohol exacerbates this because it makes the muscles of the esophagus relax and, while you sleep, the acids can flow back into your throat. It is the acid burning the throat that characterizes the disease. I suppose staying awake until the "buzz" has left is one solution.

At the risk of being told, "You're not my father." I've got to say a buzz is not worth the damage you are doing to this disease that will only get worse with the passage of time.
posted by Old Geezer at 12:00 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Zantac (ranitidine) or Pepcid AC (famotidine) will not only help with the stomach acid, but they will help you get more drunk on less booze. Seriously.

Prilosec (omeprazole) will also be helpful. Not with the getting more drunk, but with the acid.

Make sure you follow the instructions on the package. I believe you have to take all of the above several hours before the potential acid attack. They act by inhibiting the acid producing cells in your stomach.

It's a little late to ask a doctor about this before the weekend rolls around, but next time you see a physician, ASK HIM OR HER!
posted by swellingitchingbrain at 12:10 PM on September 23, 2010

You could try popping a few Gaviscons before and after indulgence. I have (usually) mild acidity and this seems to help for me (and, like you I suspect, I'm not about to give up the life-affirming joy of booze just because it's giving me occasional indigestion). I'd also recommend laying off the hard stuff if you're looking for pre-eating drinks. That intense hit of concentrated alcohol can be problematic so take it more dilute; maybe try a few of the longer cocktails. Go for non-fizzy beers, like Brit-style bitters if you like them. Fizziness tends to make you belch, which exacerbates the problems.

Of course you know alcohol + reflux is a bad combination. Of course you want to drink anyway. Experiment, and enjoy!
posted by Decani at 12:19 PM on September 23, 2010

I agree with Old Geezer that 'Don't drink alcohol' is probably your best option.... But being a chronic sufferer of GERD and a chronic beer lover, I have to say that 40mg of omeprazole a few hours before hand will pretty much eliminate the problem.

Other than that, go for alkaline food / drinks before, during and after.... Gavison, ice cream, White Russians... hey have I just invented a cocktail?
posted by ruperto at 12:34 PM on September 23, 2010

If you know you have GERD then I assume you already know about Pepcid, Prilosec OTC, etc. If those don't provide enough relief to allow you you to enjoy a drink then you are probably already past the point of needing medical intervention. Been there, done that. You don't need a drink recipe, you need a gastroenterologist, and maybe an Upper Endoscopy.
posted by COD at 12:36 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seeing as one of the "foods" on the avoid list is alcohol you would simply follow the same mitigating rules. Avoid mixes/drinks with high acid contents - fruit/vegetable juices, wines... On the one hand you may fare better with straight shots. The initial burn would be worse, but longer term might be better?

Or, go the other route by trying to dilute stomach acids with lots of liquid at the same time, as in light beer?

You're really asking a question that's akin to: How do I go swimming without getting wet? Alcohol isn't recommended. Try some mary-jane instead?
posted by thatguyjeff at 1:16 PM on September 23, 2010

I've found drinking vodka with soda water to result in less issues with reflux.

Maybe it's the sodium bicarbonate. I'm probably fooling myself, but if they use it in Alka-Seltzer...
posted by banwa at 1:42 PM on September 23, 2010

Take a generic H2 blocker (i.e. Zantac, Tagamet or Pepcid AC) a few hours prior, and after that I'd recommend a thick beer, like a stout (Murphy's or Guinness) or one of the thicker, more bitter ales (Smithwicke's and Fuller's Mister Harry are my current favorites, but Bombardier or the venerable Newcastle Brown are also solid choices). For what it's worth, I have fairly severe GERD that is thankfully under control due to prescription proton-pump inhibitors, and I drink regularly with few problems (unless I miss a dose or drink whiskey right before bed).
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:14 PM on September 23, 2010

I'm also on a prescription proton-pump inhibitor that I love with my whole heart. I know that's not an answer to your question, but it's definitely something to ask about at your next visit to the doctor.

For me, low-alcohol/high-quantity booze (like cheap beer) is the worst, I think because of the volume required to feel a buzz. A big volume of acidic liquid + GERD = puking. To be kindest to my esophagus I like mixed drinks with something like vodka or rum and a non-soda mixer (the bubbles can cause indigestion, at least in my experience).
posted by kate blank at 2:51 PM on September 23, 2010

Wine is out, beer is out, whiskey and water on the rocks is your friend. Take a prilosec and be very sure that you are sipping, not shooting.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:14 PM on September 23, 2010

I have GERD and the answer is do not have any alcohol. The only effective method I can find to have good and not-painful night out is to drink a quart of buttermilk two hours before leaving the house and then drinking slowly through not more than two glasses of clear alcohol. Otherwise, don't bother with the medications as they are not long-term solutions.
posted by parmanparman at 6:49 PM on September 23, 2010

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