Acid reflux is a painful burning sensation in the chest and/or throat. This takes place when acid from your stomach move up into the esophagus.
If you experience acid reflux more than a couple of times a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a more chronic and severe form of acid reflux.
Statistics show that 1 in 4 of us suffer with GERD!
The most common symptoms of GERD, include:
✔️ Burning pain in the throat or chest
✔️ Difficulty swallowing
✔️ Sour or bad taste in the mouth
✔️ Dental erosion
✔️ Chronic coughing or wheezing
Read on as we discuss the most common triggers for GERD and what can be done about it!
Causes & Triggers for GERD ✨💙
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a circular band of muscle, where your esophagus meets your stomachs When it’s working properly, it relaxes and opens when you swallow. Then it tightens and closes again afterwards.
Acid reflux can happen when your LES doesn’t tighten or close properly. This allows digestive juices and other contents from your stomach to rise up into your esophagus.
Age may be a factor for the development of GERD since the LES loosens as one ages. Also, less stomach acid is secreted as one ages. Though it seems paradoxical, sometimes people with GERD have LOW stomach acid, not high.
There are a number of foods that can aggravate GERD. Some foods like alcohol and peppermint transiently relax the LES. Whereas other foods like alcohol and coffee increase stomach acid secretion. Tomato, citrus, soft drinks and spicy foods further irritate an already inflamed esophagus.
There is a long list of variables that might make one more susceptible to developing GERD, including:
✔️ family history
✔️ poor diet
✔️ food allergens
✔️ being overweight
✔️ hiatal hernia
✔️ tight clothing at the mid-section
✔️ environmental toxins
✔️ gender (men are more likely than women to develop GERD)
The Naturopathic Approach to GERD ✨💙
There are several lifestyle changes and home remedies that may help relieve GERD symptoms.
For example, it might help to:
✔️ quit smoking
✔️ lose any excess weight
✔️ eat smaller meals, and eat slowly
✔️ avoid foods and drinks that trigger your symptoms
✔️ avoid lying down after eating
✔️ avoid wearing tight clothing
✔️ practice relaxation techniques
✔️ investigate whether SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth) might be an underlying factor
Some herbal remedies might also provide relief, by soothing and coating the inflamed tissues. Our favourites are:
✔️ deglycerated licorice (DGL)
✔️ marshmallow root
✔️ slippery elm
Another target of treatment is to help tonify the Lower Esophageal Sphincter, so the digestive juices don’t spill back up into the esophagus.
Speak to your naturopathic doctor about getting to the bottom of your GERD, and whether any of these approaches might be helpful for you!
If you need more personalized help managing GERD, please feel free to book a naturopathic appointment today! We’re always happy to help.