Acid reflux, also known as GORD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition that is commonly seen in naturopathic practice. GORD occurs when stomach contents reflux upwards into the oesophagus, and cause symptoms such as a burning sensation, irritation and discomfort. There are a number of reasons why GORD might be occurring.
Quite often, patients will present with symptoms indicating that their digestion isn’t working optimally. When this happens, symptoms such as low appetite, feeling full very soon after beginning to eat, or even experiencing moderate to high amounts of stress will generally indicate that the issue may be low levels of stomach acid. Alongside this, the lower oesophageal sphincter tone is generally decreased, therefore increasing the occurrence of acid reflux. As a result of the acid reflux occurring, the oesophagus will become inflamed, further increasing the movement within the muscles of the oesophagus, and again further contributing to the problem – so the cycle continues.
In addition to the above, when digestive processes are under functioning, delayed gastric emptying may be another factor. This means that due to a lack of gastric secretions in the stomach, food will be present in the stomach a lot longer than it should be. This can lead to bloating as well. Food intolerances are another issue which may also be a contributing factor to the occurrence of reflux. Certain foods and drinks, such as coffee, alcohol, tomatoes, peppermint tea and spicy foods may contribute to the worsening of symptoms as well.
So what are some things that we can do in our daily life to help reduce the occurrence of reflux?
- Stress reduction to improve digestive processes
- Reduce alcohol consumption and quit smoking
- Drink fluids away from meals by at least 15 minutes, in order to ensure that digestive secretions are not diluted
- Manage body mass to within a health range
In some instances, acid reflux may also occur as a result of a parasitic infection or bacterial infection such as Helicobacter pylori. In these instances, a stool test may be performed in order to assess whether or not this may be the case. In the case of a positive test result, many types of infections can be treated through the use of a protocol where herbal antimicrobials are used in order to eradicate the pathogen, and other types of products are prescribed in order to aid with restoring balance within the microbiome.
In addition to the above suggestions, naturopathic treatment can help to further look into the causes of reflux. Naturopathic treatment aims to reduce inflammation, promote optimal digestion, restore the microbiome, and support nervous system function. If acid reflux is something you are experiencing and you have not received any answers through mainstream medicine, naturopathy can help to delve more deeply into why this issue may be happening for you.
To book a consultation with one of our naturopaths, call Shift Clinic on 07 3367 0337.