Informally known as reflux, heart burn or acid indigestion.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux (reflux) occurs when gastric acid, duodenal bile and enzymes reflux into the oesophagus causing inflammation of sensitive oesophageal tissue. Chronic reflux leads to inflammation and ulceration of oesophageal mucosa, with possible fibrosis and stricture of the oesophagus.
Reflux = back and fluxux meaning flow.
About 25% of population experience heartburn at least monthly
What factors contribute to GERD?
- Eating large meals
- Eating foods that irritate the stomach
- Constipation or poor elimination
- Excess belly fat
- Excess intake of acidic foods
- Too much stomach acid or too little stomach acid
- A high fat diet
- Weakened oesophageal
- Avoid heavy meals
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks, such as caffeinated drinks (tea and coffee), decaffeinated coffee, and orange juice
- Avoid alcohol (ESPECIALLY WINE)
- Avoid chocolate, spearmint, and peppermint. They can relax the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Avoid carbonated beverages- they are very acid forming. Switch to filtered water with lemon
- Avoid Cigarettes
- Avoid Garlic and Onions
- Avoid eating fatty foods, including full fat milk, which also may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Avoid foods that irritate the mucosa such as citrus, tomatoes, pepper, spices – very hot or very cold foods
- Cutch back on gluten grains: Wheat, rye, barley, and some processed oats all contain gluten, which is a protein that is very hard for the digestive system to process. Instead, switch to healthy, non-GMO grains like millet and quinoa. These not only add beneficial fiber to your diet, but they are much easier on digestion.
- Liquids between meals- NOT WITH MEALS.
- Smaller meals – avoid eating until you are stuffed. I always say eat until 80% full.
- Eat slowly and chew your food
- Don’t eat 2-3 hours before bed
- Include fiber in your diet – wholegrain, fruit, veg, legumes and seeds
- Chamomile tea- soothes and neutralizes stomach acid
- Tsp. of apple cider vinegar a day to lower the pH of the stomach
- Increase protein in diet for healthy collage production – amino acids can help to strengthen the connective tissue of the sphincter (which is loosened during reflux).
- Supplements that could alleviate symptoms: 1. Slippery elm- soothes irritated and inflamed tissues 1. Digestive enzymes – assist digestive function 3. Aloe Vera juice- soothes inflamed tissues.
- Elevate the head of the bed by about 15-20 centimeters
- Avoid tight clothing, particularly after eating
- Avoid lying down or bending over after eating
- Rest and digest- wait an hour after eating before you lie down or become active
- Lose weight – If you are overweight, lose weight: Belly fat can contribute to GERD, so losing weight can ease the pressure on the LES
- Stop smoking
- Reduce stress- stress will worsen symptoms
- Consider body work such as kinesiology to strengthen the oesophageal sphincter
- Avoid Antacids- they neutralise stomach acid, inhibit correct digestion of foods and hinder nutrient absorption. Antacids are given to most people who suffer from reflux but they offer a short-term quick fix and do not solve the underlying problem. Long term they may increase reflux as they inhibit stomach acid.