lower esophageal sphincter

Macomb County Chiropractor Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which may be also referred to as Acid Reflux, is now more common in the United States. It used to be that this problem only affected adults, however during the last few years, GERD has been found in kids and infants as well. The amount of GERD cases being diagnosed and treated are more than ever before. Symptoms of GERD might be totally different from one person 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 some diagnosed cases of GERD, this means 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 typical cause of GERD is a malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a small circular area of muscle in between the stomach and esophagus which behaves as a valve. A normally functioning LES allows food and liquid to move down the esophagus and inside the stomach, while preventing any stomach acid or food from moving 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 following a meal
  • Overweight/obese
  • Snacking around bedtime
  • Consuming certain foods which are known to aggravate the stomach (ie: citrus, chocolate, tomatos, mint or fatty foods)
  • Consuming carbonated beverages, coffee, tea or alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications which include aspirin, ibuprofen as well as some muscle relaxers and blood pressure medicines

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

When these assessments have been performed and a diagnosis has been made, treatment can begin. There is a number of treatment options, ranging from 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. However, these medications can have side effects which include constipation or diarrhea and using the medications for an extended period of time can result in the stomach ceasing all production of stomach acid leading to more complications down the road.

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

If not treated, the acid deterioration of the esophagus may lead to cell mutations which may develop into esophageal cancer. The cause of dysfunction of the LES needs to be identified in order to avoid this.

A normally functioning esophagus and LES interact to advance the food from the point of swallow to the stomach. Peristalsis, which is a wave like motion 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 command the wave like motion 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 cause a “false signal” to be sent to the LES, making it open when it should not be. This irritation or compression of the vertebrae and nerves may also cause weakening of the LES, enabling a leakage into the esophagus. A Macomb County chiropractor can help with the adjustment of the spine to correct this irritation or compression.

Locating the source 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 mentioned before, GERD in children and infants is becoming more and more typical and they are not “out-growing” the problem as was once believed they would. While medicines can offer relief for a time from the symptoms, identifying the reason for the problem can help to 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.

Macomb County Chiropractor Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

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

Macomb County Chiropractor Discusses Acid Reflux