What is Acid Reflux (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux or GERD occurs when the content in your stomach moves back to the oesophagus. It is common to have GERD once in a while; it mostly happens without severe signs, though. But in some cases, GERD is a condition to be worried about if it occurs more than twice a week. Over time, it can cause acid indigestion or heartburn or burning pain in the lower chest area.
Although, acid reflux or GERD may have different signs and intensities in different people.
How does food cause acid reflux?
At the entrance of the stomach is a valve, which is a ring of muscles called the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES). Normally, when you eat anything, the LES closes as soon as food passes through it. But if this does not happen and LES does not close properly, the acid produced in the stomach can move up to the oesophagus.
This can cause signs such as chest discomfort, burning sensation, and heartburn. If the periods of acid reflux happen more than twice a week, it is named gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is more severe than acid reflux, which may come up with mild to moderate symptoms of indigestion, such as bloating, heartburn, chest pain, etc.
Many conditions that can elevate your risk of GERD include:
- Projection of the top of the stomach up into the diaphragm
- Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
- Delayed stomach emptying
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Prolonged use of certain medicines can aggravate acid reflux, such as:
- sedatives that make you sleepy
- calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure
- asthma medicines
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- tricyclic antidepressants
Factors that can raise the risk of acid reflux include:
- Eating large meals
- Late-night eating
- Certain foods that trigger acid reflux include fatty or fried, or spicy fo,ods
- Certain beverages, such as alcohol or coffe
Acid reflux in infants
Commonly, acid reflux also affects infants. Babies spitting up food and retching indicates signs of acid reflux. But, if this happens for a long time, you shall visit a doctor.
Other potential signs and symptoms of GERD in infants include:
- Refusal to eat
- Irritability during or after a feed
- Difficulty swallowing
- Gagging or choking
- Chronic cough or pneumonia
- Arching of the back during or after feeding
- Weight loss
- Delayed growth
- Wet belch
- Difficulty sleeping
GERD or acid reflux come along with various signs and symptoms, including:
- A burning sensation in your chest after eating that usually gets worse at night
- Pain in the chest
- Difficulty swallowing food
- Regurgitation of food
- A sensation of a lump in the throat
- Loss of appetite
- Persistent vomiting
- Vomit that contains blood
- Signs of bleeding in the digestive tract, such as stool that contains blood or looks black and tarry
- Unexplained weight loss
Nighttime acid reflux may come with little different signs, such as:
- New or worsening asthma
- Chronic cough
- Disrupted sleep
Measures to avoid acid reflux
- Eat smaller meals.
- Eat only when you feel hunger.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid late-night eating.
- For daytime naps, you can take a chair.
- Don't wear tight clothes.
- Reduce your weight.
- Do not drink ice water.
- Exercise or practice yoga to boost your digestion power.
- Treat constipation using home remedies.
- Stack a couple of pillows and lift your head while you sleep.
Ayurvedic treatment for acid reflux
In the Ayurvedic context, Acid reflux is defined as Amlapitta. Acid reflux is a condition of vitiated Pitta dosha. Pitta is life energy or dosha of the body which is related to heat or fire. It is acid, pungent, sharp, and intense, and found in the stomach. Aggravated Pitta leads to acidic content in the stomach, which refluxes back to the oesophagus.
In such patients, it is important that a diet that can help calm this aggravation of Pitta is suggested. A Satvik diet for a couple of days helps to calm the signs that persist while herbal medications work on building your core strength and improving digestive fire.
The personalized treatment based on the holistic approach is far better than any other approach meant for acid reflux and heartburn.
Along with this, we at AyuKarma, also suggests patients procedures to detoxify the body of the waste called Ama. As the Ama tend to be regulated, the aggravated doshas also come to their natural balance.
If you or anyone in your family has signs of acid reflux, let us provide you with a natural treatment.