I, too, had to take nexium for a couple of years due to GERD. As Isabel noted, GERD can be potentially serious, triggering esophageal cancer from what I believe is called Barretts Syndrome. At my initial endoscopy the doctors thought I was in pre Barretts syndrome, so my GERD was definitely due to too much acid in my stomach which was going up into my esophagous so I took nexium for a year; the next year my esophagous had not only not suffered any more deterioration, but the polyps I had had were repaired, and that is one of the "pluses" of nexium. I tried going off nexium for a while but the GERD came back. Fortunately for me, I found out that really my GERD was triggered by emotional trauma I had suffered, and once I got that all worked out, my GERD pretty much went away. In the meantime, I had read an article about "alternative" approaches to GERD and acid reflux, and one of the things they recommended was Slippery Elm, and I buy it at Whole Foods. Now when my tummy is feeling upset, I take this and it really seems to do the trick. The article stated that this herb can interfere with prescription meds so its best to take it two hours after taking any meds, which I do. Good luck.
I've suffered from reflux my whole life and take omeprazole (an older version of nexium). I have to say, I've tried everything: slippery elm, licorice, aloe vera, probiotics, acupuncture, nutritional therapy... honestly, I don't think there is a single natural remedy out there that I haven't given a go. Sometimes, medication is necessary. It definitely helps to elevate the head of your bed and to avoic cafffeine as much as possible. Coffee is a serious no no, as it promotes stomach acid and irritates the lining of the stomach. Stress can trigger it or worsen it. Raw vegetables-- especially broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. They produce a lot of gas and pressure in the stomach, causing food to back up into the esophagus. Fatty foods, fried foods, citrus, spicey foods, eating too much at a time, eating or drinking before going to bed for the night...
The important thing is to know what causes your reflux. It can be from something like a hiatel hernia, or your sphincter muscle (where your stomach meets your esophagus) may be slack. It can also be caused by a motility disorder. If it's one of these issues, there is either surgery or medication. Otherwise, diet and stress reduction can make a huge difference!
Also, I know from experience that if you've been on the ppis (proton pump inhibitors) for awhile, you will get heartburn when weaning yourself off of them. I've managed a few times, and eventually got down to a maintenance dose. You have to get through that awful period first, before it settles down again. Also, make sure you take supplements as reduced stomach acid affects your absorption of certain minerals-- especially iron!
Thanks for the info ya'll ... I've been on Nexium for years literally tried several times to wean off but like RJ said kept getting the heartburn during that process so I kept popping that lil' purple pill. I have been told I'm anemic & take a iron supplements daily prescribed by my dr, i had no idea this could be tied into my GERD. A few weeks ago I had a severe case of heartburn when I called my Dr about it they told me due to the location of the pain I should go to the ER. Turns out it was my gallbladder causing the more than normal pain I did not have stones but sludge my dr said that once its removed there is a chance that it would help relieve me of GERD. Last week they removed my gallbladder it has taken a few days to start feeling a difference but I do feel one. My nexium script is for 2 40mg pills a day I've been able to get by with one and a few days none at all. I did order some aloe vera juice - whole leaf, started it yesterday to see if it helps get it to where I dont need the pills anymore but I was wondering what the difference is with the whole leaf and some other one out there. I've read that the whole leaf is what you should use then other articles state the whole leaf includes some parts that actually irritate the stomach and cause more acid.