Acid reflux (also called heartburn) is one of the prevailing disorders of our modern day society. This post will tell you why this disorder can occur and what you can do to eliminate it.
Burn, Baby, Burn…
Acid reflux, heartburn, reflux esophagitis and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) are all terms that are used to describe a condition where stomach acid refluxes or ‘backs-up’ into the esophagus causing any number of symptoms, including chest pain (many people even describe it like they are having a heart attack), pressure in the chest, burning in the chest and/or throat, sore throat or an acid taste in the mouth. Most times this occurs after eating and/or anytime they lie down in a horizontal position.
Ironically enough, these conditions may be caused by two very different scenarios; one involves hypoacidity (or impaired production of acid in the stomach) and one involves hyperacidity and/or bacterial infection. Let’s take a look at each.
Interestingly enough, many of the people that have symptoms commonly described as acid reflux or heartburn actually experience these conditions because they are not producing enough stomach acid to properly digest food. This causes the food to sit too long in the stomach, creating irritation leading to the sensation of acid reflux.
Symptoms commonly associated with hypoacidity including excessive burping, fullness for extended periods of time after meals, bloating, poor appetite, an easily upset stomach, a history of constipation and/or known food allergies.
In these cases, increasing the acid production in the stomach will provide relief.
Hyperacidity and/or Bacterial Infection
Your digestive system produces strong acids and juices that are designed to help break down the food you eat so that it can be used to nourish the body. The lining of the healthy stomach is marvelously resistant to these juices and is not affected by their caustic nature. In persons with ulcers, this defense system of the stomach’s lining against stomach acids has broken down somehow, so that even when the ulcer clients’ stomach is empty of food, the digestive juices pour forth and work away at the stomach lining as though it were food. The continued irritation of this now delicate area soon produces a sore, which is called an ulcer.
Symptoms of hyperacidity and/or ulcers vary from headaches to choking sensations to low back pain to itching. When pain does occur in the stomach, a person often charges off to some dietary indiscretion (i.e., comfort foods). The pain finally becomes so intense as to be clearly recognizable as an ulcer.
Symptoms include: stomach pain just before and/or after meals; dependency on antacids; chronic abdominal pain; butterfly stomach; difficulty belching; stomach pain when emotionally upset; sudden, acute indigestion; relief of symptoms by drinking carbonated beverages, cream or milk; history of ulcer or gastritis (irritation of the stomach); and black stools when not taking iron supplements.
The key here is to isolate the reason the irritation and/or hyperacidity is occurring and to correct it. Stress, poor diet, food sensitivities and food allergies can all play a role. In some cases, a bacterium called helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the offending agent.
Saying Good-Bye to Heart Burn
There are many things that you can do to help relieve the pain and discomfort of acid reflux by addressing the underlying root causes of the disorder. Contact us for more information about what you can do naturally to eliminate the burn and start enjoying eating again!