Help For Acid Reflux

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04 Dec Help For Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, also known as dyspepsia or gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD) is defined by an irritation to esophageal mucosa caused by refluxing of stomach contents back into the esophagus, aka heartburn.

In the past, acid reflux was solely attributed to hiatal hernias; this is known to be incorrect as there are many asymptomatic hiatal patients and many reflux patients that do not show hiatal hernia on x-ray.

Several factors are involved in acid reflux:

  1. incompetent lower esophageal sphincter
  2. reduced sphincter pressure from alcohol, drugs, smoking, peppermint, etc.
  3. increased volume of the stomach, i.e. after eating
  4. when the stomach contents are situated near to the gastroesophageal junction; from laying down or bending over or from a hiatal hernia
  5. when the gastric pressure is increased; ie. from pregnancy or general obesity
  6. additionally, esophagitis may be caused by infection like herpes or Candida and with mucosal damage from burns or chemicals.

Some common signs and symptoms of acid reflux include the following:

  1. heartburn: may or may not include regurgitation of the stomach contents all or part way back into the mouth
  2. odynophagia
  3. dysphagia: if peptic strictures are present
  4. hemorrhage: with esophageal ulcer or esophagitis
  5. pain similar to peptic or duodenal ulcer but located in the high substernal area or by the xyphoid process may indicate esophageal ulcer
  6. pain may refer to arms and neck, like angina

Usual lab findings include the following:

  1. barium x-ray studies
  2. endoscopy and biopsy
  3. Heidelberg test for esophageal pH
  4. Bernstein test: acid perfusion of the esophagus
  5. Manometry

Here’s a synopsis of the course and prognosis of acid reflux:

  1. untreated gastroesophageal reflux disease can develop into esophagitis as the delicate tissue of the esophagus can no longer recover from injurious effects of the stomach acid, pepsin, and bile
  2. peptic strictures may also develop from fibrosis in the esophageal lumen
  3. an esophageal ulcer may also form
  4. some patients may be asymptomatic for years
  5. conventional treatment consists of antacids and other pharmaceuticals, avoiding certain foods known to exacerbate the problem (fatty foods, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, mint, orange juice), losing weight, sleeping with the head elevated, etc.

Nutritional support for acid reflux includes the following:

  1. Rule out food sensitivities
  2. Eat small meals frequently throughout the day
  3. Increase vitamin A foods: sweet potato, mango, pumpkin, spinach, papaya, apricots, chives, collard greens/kale, broccoli, mustard greens, chicory greens

Some useful home remedies can include the following:

  1. 6 oz. Papaya after meals
  2. 2 oz. Fresh coriander blend with a small amount of sesame oil
  3. almond milk

Be aware of the following acid reflux aggrevators:

  1. food sensitivities
  2. meat, chocolate, tomato
  3. hot sauces, spicy, fried, fatty, rich and/or salty foods
  4. alcohol, coffee, caffeine
  5. sugar and sweet foods

A Naturopathic Physician can work with you in determining whether the following supplements may be of benefit and assist in a comprehensive whole-person approach at treating acid reflux:

  1. Hydrochloric acid: after acute phase
  2. Choline/Lecithin
  3. Digestive enzymes
  4. Botanical Formulas
  5. Homeopathics

 

 

 



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