Shelby Township Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

Shelby Township Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which might be commonly called Acid Reflux, has become more and more common in the United States. It used to be that the condition only affected adults, however during the last few decades, GERD has been seen in kids and infants also. The number of GERD cases being identified and treated is higher than it ever was. Symptoms of GERD may be different from one individual to the next and there are several different variables to the development of acid reflux.

Possible signs and symptoms 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 has been a cause for several diagnosed cases of GERD, this is when a section of the stomach moves higher than the diaphragm and permits acid to go through the lower esophageal sphincter and up inside the esophagus. However, the most commonly seen cause of GERD is a dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is a small circular section of muscle tissue in the middle of the stomach and esophagus which acts as a valve. A normally working LES allows 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 begins to dysfunction with the LES, GERD is a condition found.

Additional typical risk factors:

  • Eating sizeable meals
  • Laying down following a meal
  • Overweight/obese
  • Snacking around bedtime
  • Consuming certain foods that are known to aggravate the stomach (ie: citrus, chocolate, tomatos, mint or fatty foods)
  • Consuming carbonated beverages, coffee, tea or alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications which include aspirin, ibuprofen and some muscle relaxers and blood pressure medications

Before implementing a treatment method, accurate diagnosis must be attained. Typical assessments conducted for the diagnosis of GERD are barium swallow, esophageal manometry, endoscopy and biopsy. Each of these tests provides 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 is a great deal of treatment plans, including over-the-counter medications like Tums, Mylanta and Alka-Seltzer to prescribed medicine like Zantac, Prevacid and Priolosec. In the event the stomach is having issues emptying or the LES is weakened, there are also medications to help. These medications can have side effects which include constipation or diarrhea and using the medications for a long period of time can result in the stomach ceasing all manufacture of stomach acid leading to more problems to arise down the road.

In some severe cases, where the acid reflux cannot be controlled by medicines and/or diet modifications, surgery may be an option. The surgery creates an artificial valve with the upper portion of the stomach. This procedure helps strengthen the LES, helping to prevent further acid reflux and repairing hiatal hernias.

If not treated, the acid deterioration of the esophagus can lead to cell mutations which could turn into 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 motion of the muscles in the esophagus, moves the food through the esophagus and into the stomach. The peristalsis triggers the LES and tells it to open. The muscles that command the wave like motion is controlled through nerve impulses which have roots in the thoracic vertebrae. A tiny irritation or compression of these vertebrae can obstruct the signal transmission in the nerves and result in 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 may also cause 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 cause of the dysfunction and the cause of GERD is very important to the quality and longevity of the lives of our kids and ourselves. As previously mentioned, GERD in kids and infants has become ever more typical and they are not “out-growing” the problem as was previously believed they would. While medicines can provide some relief from the symptoms, pinpointing the cause of the problem can help to protect against a life-long condition.

In need of a nutritionist in Sterling Heights, Michigan

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.

Shelby Township Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

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

Shelby Township Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)