The Comprehensive Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Treatment Protocol That You Didn’t Know About.
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Extinguishing the feeling of perpetual fire burning in your stomach.
What is covered: Know everything about GERD or heartburn, understand the mechanism of GERD condition, the GERD diet, foods to avoid to improve GERD, and comprehensive treatment for GERD.
In simple terms, GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease is defined as reflux of stomach contents back into the food pipe (oesophagus). Commonly known as acid reflux or heartburn.
It is one of the most common issues that I see in the clinic. It is estimated that 20% of people in the US will experience these kinds of symptoms weekly. And the worse is that the prevalence of GERD is increasing steadily.
The typical symptoms of this condition are burning in the stomach, burning in the chest, burning in the throat, stomach fullness, and nausea. Although one of the hidden symptoms which many people don’t realize is a constant sore throat.
A lot of people complain they’ve had a sore throat for a long time and they kept on thinking it is related to their sinuses or allergies but in reality, it was because of GERD.
Classically it is understood that GERD happens because of excessive acid. But now we know the symptoms happen because of stomach contents refluxing back in the oesophagus (the food pipe), and may or may not be related to excessive acid.
The lower oesophagus sphincter prevents the stomach contents to spill back into the food pipe but in people with GERD symptoms, this sphincter relaxes more often or at the wrong times which causes the symptoms.
The symptoms typically happen because of these contents irritating the food pipe. And the long term sequel if left untreated can lead to erosion and ultimately to Barrett’s oesophagus.
Most of my patients have been started on antacid medications, especially proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec. These medications are supposed to be used only on a short term basis and only in severe condition. But in the present situation, these medications are being used excessively and for a long amount of times.
Patients have been taking these medications for years and are finding it very difficult to get off these medications. The reason being nobody has actually looked at the root cause of GERD and help them to get off these medications.
In Functional Medicine, we address the root cause of any problem, and so it is with GERD. Hence with Functional Medicine treatment of GERD you don’t have to take medications for life long.
Here are all the suggestions that can be useful to treat GERD according to Functional Medicine protocal.
In my clinic, the approach is always geared towards working on lifestyle first and combining it with supplements.
So people go on our GERD diet, which restrict foods which are listed above and gut healing foods. If people are overweight or obese we work with them with a comprehensive plan to lose weight.
I am a big believer of meditation so recommend them to Heartfulness Meditation, a simple 5-6 minute daily guided relaxation technique.
I start them on a blend of supplement which has DGL, Aloe vera, Slippery Elm to be taken 15 minutes before meals. If they do feel distension I tell them to do ginger tea with their meals, and also ask them to walk for 5-10 minutes after their lunch and dinner if possible that helps with this distension also.
One more thing that has helped is fennel seeds, you can eat them raw or makes teas out of them.
Majority of my patients will get better with this intervention but if they dont, then we start looking for other reasons and some other potential therapies listed above to help.
To summarize in this post we covered the definition of GERD or acid reflux, what are the symptoms of heartburn, the various causes of GERD, and what are some of the natural ways or Functional Medicine ways of tackling GERD.
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Dr. Anshul Gupta MD is Board-Certified Family Medicine Physician, with advanced certification in Functional Medicine, Peptide therapy and also Fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine.Continue Reading…
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