Clinton Township Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

Clinton Township Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which may be also known as Acid Reflux, is getting more and more common in the United States. It used to be that this problem only affected adults, but within the past few decades, GERD has been found in children and infants as well. The number of GERD cases being diagnosed and treated is higher than it has ever been. Symptoms of GERD can be totally different from one individual to the next and there are lots of variables to the progression of acid reflux.

Possible indicators of GERD:

  • Burning pain in the stomach, chest, and/or throat
  • Wheezing
  • Dry cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Sour/bitter acid in the mouth
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Feeling of food or a lump stuck in back of the throat
  • Chest and upper back pain
  • Bloody/black stools or bloody vomiting

A hiatal hernia can be a cause for several diagnosed cases of GERD, this is where a part of the stomach moves higher than the diaphragm and permits acid to move through the lower esophageal sphincter and up in the esophagus. Having said that, the most frequently found cause of GERD is a dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is a little circular area of muscle tissue in the middle of the stomach and esophagus which behaves as a valve. A regularly working LES will allow food and liquid to go down the esophagus and inside the stomach, while protecting against any stomach acid or food from heading back up into the esophagus. When something starts to dysfunction with the LES, GERD is a common condition found.

Additional typical risk factors:

  • Eating big meals
  • Laying down following a meal
  • Overweight/obese
  • Snacking around bedtime
  • Consuming food items that are known to upset the stomach (ie: citrus, chocolate, tomatos, mint or fatty foods)
  • Consuming carbonated beverages, coffee, tea or alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications including aspirin, ibuprofen as well as some muscle relaxers and blood pressure medicines

Before implementing a treatment plan, accurate diagnosis has to be attained. The most frequent tests conducted for the diagnosis of GERD are barium swallow, esophageal manometry, endoscopy and biopsy. All of these assessments provide a look at the esophagus to determine if there are any anomalies or dysfunction.

Once these assessments have been conducted and a diagnosis has been made, treatment can start. There are a great deal of treatment options, ranging from over-the-counter medications like Tums, Mylanta and Alka-Seltzer to prescription medications like Zantac, Prevacid and Priolosec. If the stomach has issues emptying or the LES is weakened, there are also medications that can help. These medicines might have side effects which include constipation or diarrhea and using the medications for a long period of time can lead to the stomach ceasing all manufacture of stomach acid leading to more issues to arise in the future.

In some severe cases, where the acid reflux cannot be managed by medicines and/or diet modifications, surgery may be a possibility. The surgery creates an artificial valve using the upper portion of the stomach. This treatment helps strengthen the LES, helping to prevent additional acid reflux and repairing hiatal hernias.

If not treated, the acid break down of the esophagus can lead to cell mutations which may become esophageal cancer. The cause of dysfunction of the LES should be determined in order to prevent this.

A normally functioning esophagus and LES work together to advance the food from the point of swallow to the stomach. Peristalsis, which is a wave like movement of the muscle tissue in the esophagus, moves the food down the esophagus and into the stomach. The peristalsis triggers the LES and tells it to open. The muscles that control the wave like motion is controlled through nerve impulses which have roots in the thoracic vertebrae. A small irritation or compression of these vertebrae can obstruct the signal transmission in the nerves and cause a “false signal” to be sent to the LES, making it open when it shouldn’t be. This irritation or compression of the vertebrae and nerves can also lead to weakening of the LES, enabling a leakage into the esophagus. A chiropractor can help with the adjustment of the spine to mend this irritation or compression.

Locating the source of the dysfunction and the reason for GERD is very important to the quality and longevity of the lives of our children and ourselves. As previously mentioned, GERD in children and infants has become increasingly widespread and they are not “out-growing” the condition as was once believed they would. While medicines can provide relief for a time from the symptoms, determining the reason for the problem will help prevent a life-long condition.

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If you are looking for a healthcare facility that is interested in treating “you”, and not a disease or condition, Total Health Systems of Macomb County is the perfect fit for all your healthcare needs.

Clinton Township Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

If you or your child suffers from acid reflux/GERD, we urge you to contact Total Health Systems of Clinton Township today and schedule a chiropractic evaluation and/or nutritional evaluation and get started on correcting the cause of this disease.

Clinton Township Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)