Sterling Heights Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

Sterling Heights Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which is also referred to as Acid Reflux, has grown a lot more common in the United States. It used to be that the problem only affected adults, however during the last few years, GERD has been found in kids and infants also. The total number of GERD cases being diagnosed and treated is more than it ever was. Symptoms of GERD may be totally different from one individual to the next and there are a number of 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 in the esophagus. Nonetheless, the most commonly seen cause of GERD is a malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is a small spherical area of muscle tissue in between the stomach and esophagus which behaves as a valve. A regularly functioning LES will allow food and liquid to go down the esophagus and into 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.

Some other typical risk factors:

  • Eating big meals
  • Laying down right after 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 including aspirin, ibuprofen and some muscle relaxers and blood pressure medicines

Before implementing a treatment plan, accurate diagnosis must be attained. The most frequent tests performed for the diagnosis of GERD are barium swallow, esophageal manometry, endoscopy and biopsy. Each of these assessments provides a look at the esophagus to find out if there are any anomalies or dysfunction.

Once these assessments have been conducted and a diagnosis has been given, treatment can begin. There is a number of treatment options, including over-the-counter medicines 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 may result in the stomach ceasing all production of stomach acid leading to more problems to arise in the future.

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

If left untreated, the acid erosion of the esophagus may result in cell mutations which can change 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 move the food from the point of swallow to the stomach. Peristalsis, which is a wave like movement 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 control the wave like action is controlled by nerve impulses which have roots in the thoracic vertebrae. A tiny irritation or compression of these vertebrae can impede 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 fix this irritation or compression.

Finding the source of the dysfunction and the cause of GERD is essential to the quality and longevity of the lives of our children and ourselves. As previously mentioned, GERD in children and infants is becoming more and more widespread and they are not “out-growing” the problem as was once believed they would. While medications can provide some relief from the symptoms, determining the reason for the problem will help protect against a life-long condition.

Do you need a chiropractor in Utica, 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.

Sterling Heights Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

If you or your child is experiencing acid reflux/GERD, we urge you to contact Total Health Systems of Sterling Heights today and schedule a chiropractic evaluation and/or nutritional assessment and get started on correcting the cause of this disease.

Sterling Heights Nutritionist Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)