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Laura’s Story: Regain Your Confidence - Get Relief From Acid Reflux

As a marketing professional and mom to a busy toddler, Laura of Avon doesn't have time to not feel her best. So when she started experiencing pain in her upper stomach region last summer, she tried to manage it on her own. Laura had experienced ulcers in the past, and she thought that was the problem. Surely, she thought to herself, it will heal on its own. Yet, after a couple of months of trying over-the-counter medicines, the pain was still there. She had also begun experiencing trouble sleeping, and was constantly waking up with a sore throat.


When Enough Was Enough

The tipping point came when Laura was playing with her baby daughter, Charlotte. This active little girl loves to play on the floor with her parents, having fun and being silly together. However, an accidental kick to Laura's stomach from Charlotte caused so much pain that Laura knew she had to act. The pain was interfering with the things she loved—like playing with Charlotte and enjoying their family time.

Finding a Partner in Her Health

Dr. Jamie Ulbrich | Avon Family Health

Laura went to see family practice physician Dr. Jamie Ulbrich of Avon Family Health, located at Hendricks Regional Health YMCA. Dr. Ulbrich had been recommended to Laura from a friend and colleague. From the start, they were a great fit. "We could talk for hours," Laura said, describing her relationship with her doctor. "She is the kind of doctor that also shares stories about her own life, and it makes it really easy to relate to her. It feels like chatting with a girlfriend. We always talk and catch up, and then get down to business."

For Laura, getting down to business meant figuring out the cause of her pain. The prime suspect was Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which is also known as heartburn, or acid reflux. Laura and Dr. Ulbrich talked through some options, and decided to try a medication regimen. While this brought Laura some relief, it wasn't enough to get her back to her active and healthy lifestyle.

Taking the Next Step

Next up in Laura's journey was a referral to gastroenterologist Dr. Thomas Gross, who performed an upper endoscopy procedure on Laura at Hendricks Regional Health in Danville. In conjunction with the procedure, Laura had a Bravo pH Study. This is a new technology that allows the care team to measure suspected acid reflux for 48 hours. While the patient is under sedation in the Endoscopy Suite, the physician can get a close look at the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, as well as determine the best place for placing the tiny Bravo capsule.

After the procedure, patients can go about their regular activities while the device monitors the pH levels in their esophagus. The information is wirelessly transmitted to a small recorder worn on a shoulder strap or waistband. The capsule doesn't have to be removed; it is made to fall out on its own and safely go through the body's digestive system.

Getting Answers


Fortunately, Laura's results were very good. The diagnostic steps she took ruled out any major concerns, and also proved that while she did have acid reflux, the level was not severe.

"The testing brought me a lot of peace of mind," Laura said. Her husband, Mark, was also relieved. "He was worried that it could be something else going on, like cancer of the esophagus. He really encouraged me to keep investigating. I am glad I did."

Creating a Plan

Armed with this knowledge, Laura and Dr. Ulbrich sat down to come up with a plan. "I really didn't want to have to take medication if I could avoid it," Laura said. Her results showed that she could safely try lifestyle changes to keep her acid reflux under control.

Laura's diet was the most major change she had to make. As most that have tried it would agree, this isn't always an easy task. Laura's family had a strong farming heritage, and she was raised eating meat and potatoes style meals. Plus, growing up in a busy, single-parent household often met grab-and-go dinners.

Changing Her Life

Dr. Ulbrich and Laura's family supported her newfound clean eating. She focused on cutting out caffeine and greasy, fatty foods, choosing healthier options. Laura's grocery trips got a makeover, too. Now she fills her cart with fresh, whole foods and tries to cook more healthfully for her family, too. She even started packing her lunch to make sure she avoided any midday drive-thru runs.

Laura loved that Dr. Ulbrich supported her taking a holistic approach, and truly partnered with her to come up with a treatment approach. "From the beginning, she always gave me options, and then talked me through them," Laura said.

Laura's Aha! Moment


Many busy moms and dads can relate to Laura's story. Her child's nutrition was her top priority, and she didn't spend much time thinking about her own. "I've always tried to buy only organic fruits and vegetables for Charlotte when I can, and made her own baby food," Laura said. She realized she wasn't taking the same level of care for her own health and nutrition. Now, she's making sure everyone in the family is eating better, and setting a great example for Charlotte along the way.

Laura's journey brought her to a healthier lifestyle, and she is still managing her digestive health issues without medications. With the support of her family and Dr. Ulbrich, she is a happy, healthy (and busy) mom.

Are you experiencing symptoms of acid reflux? View physician locations and availability here, or take our free self-test.