GERD ACID REFLUX

Did you know that GERD acid reflux affects 1 in 4 adults in North America!  That’s 25% of all adults.

Wondering if you have GERD acid reflux?
Looking for a list of gastric reflux symptoms?
Want more information about PPI drugs (Proton Pump Inhibitors), or how to avoid them?
Looking for the best treatment for acid reflux or natural treatment for acid reflux?
Hoping to find out the foods that cause acid reflux, or which foods to avoid with acid reflux?
Wondering which heartburn home remedy actually works?
Want to learn how to prevent acid reflux?

Look no further! I’ve got answers 🙂

DO YOU HAVE GERD ACID REFLUX SYMPTOMS?

Common Symptoms of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

First of all, let’s explore the common symptoms assoicated with GERD acid reflux:

  • heartburn – burning sensation, rising up from ribs towards chest or throat
  • feeling of pressure/discomfort in upper abdomen or chest
  • regurgitation of stomach contents into the pharynx or mouth
  • frequent belching, worse after meals or drinking fluid on an empty stomach
  • halitosis
  • above symptoms worse after eating or lying down, and/or relieved by antacids

YOU MAY HAVE ANOTHER TYPE OF ACID REFLUX

Common Symptoms of LPR (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux)

Next, let’s look at the symptoms associated with LPR:

  • chronic irritating cough, worse at night
  • frequent belching, worse after meals or drinking fluid on an empty stomach
  • halitosis
  • chronic laryngitis (hoarseness)
  • chronic unexplained sore throat
  • dental erosions
  • chronic sinusitis, post-nasal drip, frequent need/desire to clear throat
  • sensation of lump in throat, difficulty swallowing
  • above symptoms may occur any time of day & may or may not be relieved by antacids

Do you have GERD or LPR?

If you answered YES to several symptoms from the first list, you may be suffering from GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease).  Alternatively, if you are missing the “classic GERD symptoms, but have some of the symptoms from the second list,  you may have LPR (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux).   These two conditions are both caused by acid reflux. A seemingly benign condition, chronic acid reflux can lead to serious complications. Seeking treatment for reflux is a good idea.

If you think you may be suffering from LPR – learn more about “Silent” or Airway Reflux here.

What Is GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

Let’s start by explaining what GERD acid reflux is. First of all, what is acid reflux? What’s the difference between “normal” reflux and GERD acid reflux?

Read on for a great overview of GERD – what causes it and how to effectively treat it.

Everyone has acid reflux.
OK. I’m not trying to be sensationalist! It’s true.
We all experience some degree of material “coming back up” from the stomach into the esophagus. This is called GER – Gastro-esophageal Reflux. Notice it’s missing the “D” – for “Disease”! While we all have some amount of GER, we also have some pretty neat-o built in “anti-reflux mechanisms”. That is to say, our body has a system for how to deal with reflux. Stuff like saliva, swallowing, sphincters (valves in the esophagus) and secretions (alkaline or acid-neutralizing juices) in the mouth and esophagus, typically normalize things (make the esophagus alkaline – or no longer acidic) within about 5 minutes. COOL – aren’t our bodies intelligently designed?!

When GER occurs more frequently, and overcomes our body’s natural defence mechanisms, symptoms typically arise: heartburn pain or discomfort, burping, regurgitation of food, etc. If you have these symptoms persistently, you will likely be diagnosed with GERD.

The discomfort associated with GERD is due to the regurgitation of food that’s been in the acidic environment of the stomach. When acid touches the lining of the esophagus it can cause an uncomfortable or burning sensation. And over time, you can develop chronic irritation and inflammation in the lining of the esophagus. A seemingly benign condition, chronic GERD acid reflux can more seriously lead to esophageal erosions/ulcers and even esophageal cancer, if left untreated.

What Causes GERD Acid Reflux?

The cause of GERD acid reflux is more complex, and stems from poor function of the body’s natural anti-reflux mechanisms. In particular, poor function of the LES – lower esophageal sphincter is a major contributor. The LES normally shuts tightly to prevent the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus and beyond. There are a number of reasons why the LES and other anti-reflux mechanisms fail.

A comprehensive and natural approach to treat acid reflux should include dietary and lifestyle measures along with any recommended medications or supplements. The goal is not just to treat symptoms of acid reflux, but to attempt to resolve the CAUSE of GERD, address the inflammation and tissue damage caused by chronic GERD, and to prevent GERD from progressing into a more serious condition – like Barrett’s Esophagitis or Esophageal Cancer.

Learn more about how to treat acid reflux below.

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What are the foods to avoid with GERD acid reflux?

I am frequently asked:  “What foods cause GERD acid reflux?

Most people have heard the conventional wisdom that acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can trigger heartburn or acid reflux symptoms.  But there is a more comprehensive list of foods to avoid with acid reflux or heartburn, and each one has a specific reason.  Learn more!

Download a FREE Cheat Sheet: Top Foods To Avoid For Acid Reflux, Heartburn & GERD
gerd acid reflux food triggers infographic

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All disease begins in the gut.
- Hippocrates

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GERD Acid Reflux Treatment

The treatment for GERD acid reflux can be broken down into three main categories:

  • Conventional Treatment
  • Natural Cures For GERD & LPR
  • Home Remedies For Acid Reflux

Conventional Treatment: PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) & Antacids

Antacids are the third most commonly purchased OTC (over the counter) medication – after pain medications and relief from colds/coughs/allergies. They offer temporary relief by coating the esophagus with a buffer to the acid, or by neutralizing stomach acid.

A word about PPI drugs – Proton Pump Inhibitors.

Prescription antacids, like PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), take this a step further – because they BLOCK production of stomach acid. As a result, PPIs fail to address the cause of GERD, and may be associated with:

  • acute adverse effects (diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, headaches)
  • long-term risks (increased risk of gastroenteritis, stomach or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, pneumonia, osteoporosis and/or spinal fracture, vitamin & mineral malabsorption)

In fact, this is something I now see more and more often in my practice – a patient starts off with GERD acid reflux, gets prescribed a PPI, and comes in to see me with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or some form of Dysbiosis (bacterial overgrowth in the gut). Therefore,  we now have two digestive conditions to treat.

There certainly are people who benefit from PPIs and other medications, and in severe or unrelenting cases of acid reflux, it makes sense to try to prevent damage to the esophagus and pharynx/larynx. Since these drugs can be avoided in MANY cases, this is desirable wherever possible.

What is the BEST treatment for GERD acid reflux & LPR?

Naturopathic Approach

OK. Admittedly I’m a bit biased! But this stems from many years of experience and seeing the amazing results my patients are able to achieve.

A holistic approach to treatment sees the inextricable interconnectedness of the entire digestive system (and all body systems). A conventional medical approach zeroes in on treating symptoms through suppression (“Got heartburn? Let’s block acid production!”).  In contrast, a holistic or naturopathic approach says: “Got heartburn? What’s causing it?” – and, consequently, seeks to return the organ system to normal function. As a result, the symptoms resolve. It also upholds the precept: “First, do no harm”. In this case, suppressing acid production is seen as harm. Stomach acid, or HCl, serves MANY important functions in the body – and isn’t the CAUSE of acid reflux. Most of all, dysfunction of the LES and failure of the body’s anti-reflux mechanisms are to blame. So why not target these areas? That is exactly what a naturopathic approach does.

Now, just to be clear, I understand why antacids and acid blockers are prescribed for GERD acid reflux. They are the only tools in the kit as far as conventional medical interventions go; and if the goal is to prevent cancer, there’s a pretty compelling case for them. Still, in so many cases, they can be avoided. And that’s where I LOVE to offer strategic support and guidance.

So instead of relying on antacids, I strongly encourage sufferers to seek naturopathic care – which has highly effective options for treatment that address all of the contributing factors:

  • reducing inflammation
  • healing the esophageal mucosa/lining
  • preventing progression to esophageal ulcers or cancer

Is there a natural cure for GERD acid reflux?

And what about home remedies for GERD acid reflux? What helps acid reflux?

Effective GERD acid reflux & LPR treatment IS possible, without the use of antacids and PPIs. Can I guarantee that a natural cure will work for everyone? No. But most people have very significant improvements in their digestive function and dramatic reduction or elimination of their symptoms, largely as a result of lifestyle and dietary modifications. Additionally, naturopathic medicine offers options for preventing complications of GERD & LPR or progression to esophageal (or laryngeal) cancer.

Effective GERD acid reflux treatment will typically additionally employ targeted recommendations of strain specific probiotics, specially formulated multi-nutrient supplements that support normal function and healing of the stomach and esophagus’ lining, support for the nervous system component associated with GERD, and herbs that can effectively manage symptoms while you work towards normalizing function.

As for acid reflux home remedies or what is good for heartburn, people often ask about things like apple cider vinegar and baking soda.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has long been touted as a cure for just about everything. It has been recommended for GERD sufferers by those who say that GERD acid reflux is caused by low stomach acid. This is actually FALSE – a long held belief of mythic proportions amongst NDs, holistic practitioners of all stripes and perpetuated by the big bad blogosphere. GERD and acid reflux is NOT associated with low stomach acid (in my course I break down this myth and others in more detail). While ACV may have some health benefits, it is unlikely to cure GERD – and may make LPR worse.

Baking Soda

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), being alkaline, can neutralize acid. You may find that drinking 1/2 tsp of baking soda dissolved in 4-8oz of water provides quick (but temporary) relief from heartburn. Warning: drink it slowly to avoid side effects like gas, bloating and diarrhea. Never use in children. Also, please take note that baking soda should NOT be used regularly or in multiple doses.

Too much baking soda can make the body TOO alkaline, which can have side effects like stomach cramps, dehydration, impaired absorption of medications or nutrients and more. Less common, but more serious side effects are possible: blood in urine or stool, muscle spasms, difficulty breathing, seizures, severe headaches, edema (swelling), etc. There are a number of conditions and medications with which baking soda should be avoided. I urge you to avoid its use or check with your MD before considering it. The bottom line: baking soda may pose greater health risks, and is NOT a long term solution.

What are the foods to avoid with GERD acid reflux?

When asked how to treat heartburn or GERD, one of the most common questions I get asked is:  “What foods cause acid reflux?

Most people have heard the conventional wisdom that acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can trigger heartburn or acid reflux symptoms.  But there is a more comprehensive list of foods to avoid, and each one has a specific reason.  The reasons are associated with the effects they have in the body as they pertain to normal esophageal and stomach function.

For those with GERD and especially LPR, there are other factors that I consider when it comes to diet – I cover these and much more in great detail in my online program found here: End Acid Reflux

End Acid Reflux Program

In my program I include a detailed acid reflux diet plan, complete with acid reflux menu plan, 3-week acid reflux meal plan, and over 50 customized acid reflux diet recipes!! You will learn what foods cause acid reflux, how to prevent acid reflux, and discover the best diet for acid reflux sufferers.

Avoiding some of the KEY food triggers of acid reflux won’t cover it all, but it is a great starting point! Receive a FREE Cheatsheet & get started!

Download a FREE Cheat Sheet:
Top Foods To Avoid For GERD & Acid Reflux
gerd acid reflux food triggers infographic
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