Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease

(GERD)

Overview:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease involves periodic reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus. The common term for this condition is heart burn, due to the warm, burning sensation felt in the chest area. The cause can be from both too little stomach acid, and too much stomach acid. 


Aetiology:

GERD arises when the esophageal sphincter becomes incompitant, and loses tone. This sphincter is what seals off the stomach from the esophagus when food is not passing through.


Causes Of GERD:

  • Short esophagus
  • Overweight
  • Alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • Fatty foods
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Medications

Special Considerations:

Prolonged GERD can lead to a variety of other conditions long term. The main ones to consider are metastatic changes, and Barette's esophagus. 

Menthol has been shown to lower esophageal sphincter tone, which can exacrbate or even cause GERD. [SOURCE]. 


Therapeutic Aims:

1. Reduce Inflammation And Sooth Gastric Mucosa

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2. Tonify And Heal Mucosa

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3. Reduce The Effects Of Stress

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  • Adaptogens
  • Nervines

4. Normalise Upper GIT Function

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5. Avoid Triggers

This includes food intolerances and factors that increase intra-abdominal pressure.

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Herbs For GERD:


Dietary Considerations:

  • Avoid eating at bed time
  • Lose weight if currently overweight
  • Avoid alcohol intake
  • Remove any food with potential intolerance
  • Regular meal times
  • Avoid eating on the run
  • Avoid foods that reduce lower esophageal sphincter tone:
    • chocolate
    • carminatives
      • peppermint and spearmint
    • Fatty foods
    • Coffee
    • Tomatoe concentrates
    • Onions
    • Spicy food

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: May 2017


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References:

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