What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
The most affected site of digestive tract is the lower esophageal sphincter; it is a muscular ring (sphincter) connecting the esophagus with stomach. The main function of the sphincter is to prevent food from moving out of the stomach and back into esophagus.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease ([GERD]/ heartburn) is very often used word to describe many digestive problems. Stomach acids reflux (or back up) from stomach into esophagus causes harsh, burning sensation in the area in between ribs or just below neck and may radiate through the chest and into neck and throat.
Reflux often occurs if the muscle where the esophagus meets the stomach doesn't close tight enough. A hiatal hernia aggravates GERD symptoms worse. It occurs when the stomach bulges through this opening into the chest.
Causes of GERD
GERD is caused by frequent acid reflux. The anatomy of esophagus sphincter is there is a muscle forming a circular band of around the bottom of esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow into the stomach after swallowing. Then the sphincter closes again. When the sphincter relaxes abnormally or loses its tightness, stomach acid can flow back up into the esophagus. Reflux often occurs if the muscle where the esophagus meets the stomach doesn't close tight enough causing constant back wash of acid and irritating the lining of esophagus and leading it to inflame it.
Conditions that can increase the risk of GERD include:
2)Moderate type of AcneBulging of the top of the stomach up into the diaphragm (hiatal hernia)
3)Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
4)Delayed stomach emptying
Factors that can aggravate acid reflux include:
2)Eating large meals or eating late at night)
3)Eating certain foods (triggers) such as fatty or fried foods
4)Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol or coffee
5)Taking certain medications, such as aspirin
Symptoms of GERD
Common signs and symptoms of GERD include:
1)Heart burn or a burning sensation in chest ,mainly after eating, which might be worse at night
3)Chest discomfort or pain
4)Regurgitation of food or sour (acidic) liquid
5)Sensation of a lump in throat or heavy sensation in chest
In case of nighttime acid reflux, the patient might also experience:
2)New or worsening asthma
Over time, chronic inflammation in the esophagus can cause:
1)Narrowing of the esophagus (esophageal stricture) due to damage to the lower esophagus and stomach because of acid reflux causes scar tissue to form. The scar tissue narrows the food pathway, leading to problems with swallowing.
2)An open sore in the esophagus (esophageal ulcer). Stomach acid inflames tissue in the esophagus, causing an open sore to form. The ulceration formed into esophagus lead to bleeding severe pain and make swallowing difficult.
3)Precancerous changes to the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus). Damage from acid can cause changes in the tissue lining the lower esophagus. These changes are associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
The symptoms alone are the indicator for typical GERD. However, sometimes the symptoms may be prolonged and persistent and would require a visualization of the inner part of the esophagus and stomach through an endoscope to check ulceration or structure change. Endoscopy (fiber optic tube is passed into the stomach) is indicated usually when the patients do not respond to the medical line of treatment and develop alarming symptoms like swallowing difficultly, blood in stools, anemia, wheezing or persistent sore throat or hoarseness of voice in long standing cases. Biopsy may be performed to rule out the possibility of cancer.
Homeopathy Treatment For GERD
Drugs that either neutralize acid (antacid) or suppress the acid production (H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors) or stimulate motility of stomach are given. Few lifestyle modifications that help to reduce the symptoms are enumerated below
1)Not lying down 3 hours after eating
2)Raising the head of bed at night
3)Eating small frequent meals
4)Wearing loose clothes
5)Avoiding consumption of alcohol
Homeopathic Medicine For GERD
Homoeopathic medicine treats the person as a whole taking into account the stress, nature and individual gastric presentation. The symptoms or presentation may differ from person to person as each individual is different .There is no medicine dependency but over a period of time it will reduce the intensity of burning, regurgitation and frequency and the patient will be symptom free.Nux Vomica
It is considered as one of the best remedy for digestive complaints. Patient always complaints of stomach discomfort with sensations of burning, bloating aching, constipation, belching, and nausea with feeling of acid going back up into the throat. Patient gets angry easily. Patient craves for spicy food, fatty food and other stimulants. The patient has a history of sedentary lifestyle, stress, and over-exertion.Arsenicum Album
Patient may complain of burning pain that is felt in the stomach with food backing up in lower part of esophagus causing burning pain in throat. Patient feels better by hot drink. There is marked thirst for small sips of water at frequent intervals. Mentally, patient is very anxious nervous and restless personality.Phosphorus
Patient feels bloated with fullness accompanied by great thirst for icy cold drinks, which patient vomits out after it gets warm in stomach. Vomiting and belching of undigested food y. Mentally the patient is mild and always seeks company and affection.Pulsatilla
The patient needing pulsatilla complains of stuffed feeling after food and needs to loosen the clothes. Sensation of a hole being burned in their stomach accompanied by flatulence. Patient is sweet gentle and tearful by nature. Pulsatilla patient is afraid of being alone in room and desire lots of sympathy and has weeping tendency. Craving for rich pastries, fatty food such as ice cream which aggravates reflux.Carbo Veg
The person requiring carbo veg medicine shows symptoms like distension of abdomen due to bloating, heartburns, belching or regurgitation and heaviness in the stomach and chest with distress after eating simple and plain food. Person has dislike or aversion to meats, milk and fats. Person has great desire for fresh air or for being fanned during attack. Patient is temporarily relieved during belching.Natrum Phos
is indicated for indigestion with sour belching, sour tasting vomit and yellow discoloration of the tongue. It is also a remedy useful in people who get digestive symptoms after eating fats.
At H4ALL we treat cases with acidity at all levels - physical, mental, emotional and diet. We give medicines for acidity, advice on what to eat and timings, what are the stress zones that are giving rise to acidity and how you can learn to de-stress so that acidity is reduced. Prevention -or preventing too much of acid secretion is also vital.
Due to this multi dimentional treatment the effects are long lasting and almost all our acidity cases respond well.