Acid Reflux Treated Naturopathically
Many suffer from the symptoms associated with acid reflux or GERD. Symptoms vary and include nausea, burning pain, sore throat or a sensation of a lump, chest pain, and trouble swallowing. There is a sphincter located between the esophagus and stomach which controls what goes down and keeps acid from coming back up. If this sphincter is weak or in spasm, acid leaks back into the esophagus which inflames the esophageal lining.
In addition, a diet that lacks living enzymes can over tax the digestive system causing the production of acids from undigested proteins and carbohydrates. Over a long period of time, the cells of the esophagus change due to chronic exposure to the stomach acid. This dysphagia is a precancerous condition. Conventional medical treatments attribute most reflux to h.pylori which is a normal flora that may become pathogenic in the right environment. An antibiotic and acid blocker are the common medications used to treat GERD. The problem with this treatment is that nothing is done to heal the injured tissue. Also, acid blockers block the digestive juices so food does not get broken down completely. This may result in fermentation of carbohydrates and putrefaction of proteins.
Naturopathic medicine believes that reflux is caused by maldigestion due to eating foods that are difficult to break down. Processed foods do not contain any living enzymes or the needed minerals to assist in digestion. Eating a mostly cooked, processed diet high in animal protein burdens the digestive system resulting in undigested food that goes into the small intestine. The acids from the undigested food cause the symptoms of GERD and damage gastric tissue. When an acid blocker is prescribed to suppress the acid, this further compromises the digestive ability. Hydrochloric acid production is necessary in order to break down protein.
To treat the cause is to remove the foods from the diet that are difficult to digest, and add living foods that are easy to break down. These foods are rich in minerals and enzymes so that the food does not ferment, but is easily broken down. There are also supplements which facilitate natural digestion and heal the injured tissue. Broad spectrum anti-microbial herbs may be used if H.pylori is suspected.
There are home remedies that may help with the symptoms of GERD while assisting digestion. These remedies would be better to use than the acid blockers. Raw apple cider vinegar in a little water can sooth the burning symptom of GERD and lemon in water can help with digestion. It is also beneficial to not drink water 30 minutes before your meal in order to keep the digestive acids from being diluted. This also helps with bloating that can occur after meals.
Dr. Hendricks is a naturopathic gastroenterologist and treats GERD, IBS, and IBD.
For more information, call 480-535-7868 or go to naturopathicdoctorforyou.com