Healing Acid Reflux Naturally
You’ve just enjoyed a southwest burrito at your favorite restaurant. Now, you’re feeling as if someone has lit a fire in your upper abdomen and the flames are reaching up your throat. That’s acid reflux. It’s triggered when stomach acid backs up into your food pipe (the esophagus). Acid reflux (commonly called heartburn) is a painful and aggravating condition that affects about 60% of the adult population in a given year. A more persistent and serious condition, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) afflicts as many as seven million Americans.
A variety of symptoms accompany reflux – not everyone has them all. People with GERD typically experience symptoms from intense irritation to burning pain in the lower mid-chest or behind the breastbone. Other common symptoms are stomach ache, nighttime cough, and inflammation. Persistent reflux can erode tooth enamel, damage the lining of the esophagus, cause sore throat/laryngitis, interfere with swallowing, and increase risk for diseases of the esophagus.
You may be familiar with prescription and over-the-counter medications for reflux disease, such as proton-pump inhibitors and antacids. At best, these drugs only mask symptoms, providing short-term relief rather than getting to the root cause. From a holistic medicine perspective, possible underlying causes of GERD range from the food you eat to factors such as imbalances in stomach acid, food sensitivities, hiatal hernia, overuse of antibiotics and stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine.
To get to the root cause of GERD, a naturopathic doctor may test for food sensitivities, evaluate your diet and lifestyle habits, and consider a number of other possible causes. Once the underlying cause has been determined, your doctor may recommend diet changes, herbal and homeopathic remedies, as well as nutritional supplements and physical therapies such as abdominal massage and stress management techniques. Your doctor will use therapies and help you make changes that will restore balance and health to your gut.
Below are a few of the supplements and lifestyle changes that can help you maintain a healthy gut and reduce your risk for heartburn and GERD.
Remember, supplements alone do not address underlying lifestyle habits and health conditions that cause GERD. It’s important to work closely with a Naturopathic Doctor to understand the root cause and your best individualized treatment. We’ve helped many patients decrease their dependence on medications by helping decrease inflammation in the GI tract and controlling acid reflux.
Mayo Clinic Online. GERD. Accessed October 10, 2016: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gerd/basics/definition/con-20025201
University of Maryland Complementary and Alternative Medicine Database. GERD. Accessed October 10 2016: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease
Ginger. (2012, April). Retrieved October 10, 2016 from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ginger
Kandil T. S., Mousa, A. A., et al., “The potential therapeutic effect of melatonin in gastro-esophageal reflux disease [Abstract].” BMC Gastroenterology (2010 January 18): 10(7). Retrieved October 7, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20082715
Lukic, M., Segec, A., et a.l., “The impact of vitamins A, C, and E in the prevention of gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal adenocarcinoma [Abstract].” Collegium Anthropologicum, (2012) 36(3), 867-872. Retrieved October 7, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23213946
Patrick, L., “Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): A review of conventional and alternative treatments.” Alternative Medicine Review, 16(2), 116-133. (2011). Retrieved from http://altmedrev.com/publications/16/2/116.pdf
Dr. Jaspreet Mundeir, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor practicing in the East Bay Area. She is the owner of East Bay Natural Medicine where she focuses on helping patients achieve their optimal health state using homeopathy, hydrotherapy, nutritional supplements, botanical medicine and bio-identical hormones.
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