GERD/Acid Reflux

What is it?

Acid reflux happens when contents from your stomach move up into your esophagus. This can happen worse at night when you lay down to go to sleep. Acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest, which can radiate up toward your neck. This feeling is often known as heartburn. It’s also called acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux. If you have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, you might have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a circular band of muscle at the end of your esophagus. When it’s working properly, it relaxes and opens when you swallow. Then it tightens and closes again afterwards. Acid reflux happens when your LES doesn’t tighten or close properly. Acid reflux is associated with genetic weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter combined with lifestyle habits that chronically stress the lower esophageal sphincter function. There are some individuals who secrete excessive stomach acid or too little acid which provides insufficient signal to close the sphincter. 

Causes

  • Decreased lower esophageal sphincter tone

  • Delayed gastric emptying

  • Increased nocturnal reflux

  • Overeating and gastric distension

  • Smoking

  • Dehydration

  • Sympathetic dominance

  • Lack of chewing

  • Hiatal hernia

  • Increased intra-abdominal pressure

  • "CRAP" C: coffee, cigarettes, chocolate R: refined carbs A: acidic foods, alcohol, allergic foods P: pop, packaged foods, pizza

  • NSAIDS

Beneficial Tests

  • Full bloodwork panel that evaluates infections, organ function, inflammation, and vitamins

  • Nutrient deficiency testing

  • Digestive function testing

  • Food intolerance and allergy testing

  • Hormone testing

Allopathic Treatment Options

  • Antacids which should be limited to very specific situations and not be taken chronically. 

  • H2 receptor antagonists.

  • Proton pump inhibitors which should be used for max 10 days. They decrease necessary enzymes to break down our food, decreases blood flow, and increase bacterial overgrowth. 

  • Medications that decrease lower esophageal pressure: anticholinergic drugs theophylline, cholestyramine, progesterone, calcium channel blockers, diazepam, beta-adrenergic agonsits, alopa adrenergic antagonists, nicotine. If you are taking any of these medications, they could be increasing your symptoms.

Naturopathic Treatment Options

  1. Discover the root cause to why your body is creating reflux in the first place. Nutrient deficiencies? Mineral deficiencies? Infections? Inflammation? Stress? Trauma? LES dysfunction?

  2. Natural, non invasive solutions to support and stimulate the body to heal itself with botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, supplementation, nutrition, manual therapy, and lifestyle adjustments. 

  3. Nutritional counseling for proper digestion. Teach how to chew thoroughly and slow down eating. 

  4. Cut out "CRAP" C: coffee, cigarettes, chocolate, citrus fruits. R: refined and processed carbs. A: acidic foods (tomato sauce), alcohol, allergic foods, dairy. P: pop, packaged foods, pizza.

  5. Remove food allergies, food intolerances, and environmental toxins.

  6. Increase foods that are alkaline into the diet such as dark leafy greens and vegetables. Dr. Felty can help support you as you slowly change your diet and lifestyle.

  7. Correct hypochlorhydria or hiatal hernia. Dr. Felty can assess your symptoms and let you know if this might be the root cause to what you are dealing with.

  8. Weight loss, if needed. Dr. Felty is a weight loss specialist. Many clients who come to her experience long term weight loss that is sustainable.

  9. Educate on herbs, vitamins, and minerals that coat and heal the esophagus.

  10. Homeopathic remedies. Homeopathy is known to reduce symptoms without side effects.

  11. Lifestyle adjustments unique to your lifestyle and schedule. Dr. Felty looks at more than your symptoms of GERD/reflux. She provides care for your whole health. Many different factors impact your symptoms. Dr. Felty will take time to educate you and work with you to feel better.

  12. Hydrotherapy to activate self healing and train the blood vessels to work more efficiently.

  13. Referral to other healers or practitioners relevant to your health and healing.

Everyone is unique and has different reasons why they develop GERD/reflux. Good news is that everyone can improve their condition and activate their natural ability to heal. Dr. Felty can educate you on what your body, mind, or spirit needs to improve and heal from this. Call her office 773-472-0560 or fill out this form here to request a virtual appointment.

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