Use Natural Remedy for Reflux Reduction

Courtesy kimberlysnyder.com    The above diagram shows the difference between a healthy stomach and one afflicted with chronic heartburn, or GERD. Dr. Born recommends making lifestyle and diet modifications to help prevent the condition.

 

Many of my patients are familiar with reflux even if they don’t know it by its official name. It’s that feeling of burning in the chest and sometimes throat, which can even get as bad as to cause burning in the sinuses. Antacids and proton pump inhibitors (PPI) like Prevacid are the typical remedies. Histamine H2 blockers like Pepcid can help, but they can also leave one feeling groggy. PPIs, when used long term, can lead to hypomagnesia — or low magnesium levels — malabsorption, malnutrition, osteoporosis and gastrointestinal infections.

There are many causes and risk factors that make reflux worse, such as: smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity. Ramifications of uncontrolled gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or chronic heartburn, include erosive esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

In 2005 the journal Gut published a systematic review of 15 studies which showed that GERD was found to be prevalent in 10 to 20 percent of westernerners but less than 5 percent in Asia. In a subsequent population-based U.S. survey in 2005, 22 percent of respondents reported that they had heartburn or regurgitation within the last month. Heartburn or regurgitation was “clinically significant” (meaning it occurred at least twice weekly) in 6 and 3 percent of those polled, respectively.

When experiencing any of these symptoms or occasional laryngitis (which could be caused by a condition known as silent reflux), see a physician. In the meantime, here are some steps to take to help treat the problem at the source, instead of the aforementioned Band-Aids.  

Foods to avoid
Certain foods can worsen symptoms related to GERD and should be avoided. These include: fried, fatty or spicy foods, mint tea, gluten, dairy, citrus, soy, alcohol, chocolate and coffee.

Lifestyle modifications
• Avoid eating in a hurry.
• Avoid eating when stressed.
• Chew food thoroughly.
• Avoid eating after 7 p.m.
• Sleep with two pillows under head, neck and part of upper chest.

The above are just some basics. There are many more non-drug, natural and integrative approaches, including taking vitamins, minerals and herbs. Make an appointment today to discuss other strategies and options.

 

 

Todd A. Born is a naturopathic doctor, certified nutrition specialist and co-owner and medical director of Born Naturopathic Associates, Inc. in Alameda. Dr. Born’s clinical focus utilizes integrative medicine to treat chronic disease. Make an appointment to find out more at 550-4023, or visit www.bornnaturopathic.com.