G.E.R.D (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder )
- Gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus.
- In normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus.
Causes Symptoms Manage Approaches Investigation Testimonials
- Hiatus Hernia – it occurs when the upper part of the stomach moves up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm. This condition leads to heartburn and reflux a lot of times.
- Faulty and untimely eating habits with deficient sleep
- Certain food items like chocolate, peppermint, fried and fatty food, coffee, alcohol etc.
- Cigarette smoking as it relaxes the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter.
- Burning chest pain beginning behind the breastbone and moving upward to the neck and throat.
- Feels like food is coming back into the mouth leaving an acid or bitter taste.
- Heartburn can last as long as 2 hours and is often worse after eating.
- Nausea and vomiting are commonly associated
- Eat slowly and chew properly so that most of the food is digested in the mouth itself
- Avoid beverages like tea, coffee and alcohol
- Eat and sleep on time.
- Eat something or the other every 3-4 hours
- Avoid over-eating
- Walk and do deep breathing exercises regularly
30-35 years ago, Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease was unheard of. It is majorly a disease of the modern lifestyle that we all lead today; a lifestyle which is too faulty to be called healthy. Work pressure, family stresses and extreme lack of physical activity have led to the emergence of many such Lifestyle Disorders like G.E.R.D. Untimely and erratic eating patterns and habits have made this a household disease. Our stomach produces Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) every 3-4 hours. HCl is needed for proper digestion of the carbohydrates along with the help of enzyme Pepsin. When the food pattern is erratic and untimely, this Hydrochloric Acid starts accumulating inside the stomach wall and starts escaping through the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter giving rise to a severe chest pain and burning. As this pain mimics the pain of a heart attack, it is called Heartburn. As mentioned earlier, food materials like chocolates and beverages like coffee and alcohol and even excessive tea, all can result in the Gastro-oesophageal reflux. The pain and burning is usually associated with loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. The sphincter is a muscle which becomes dysfunctional due to all these factors stated and discussed above. So, one must follow a healthy routine to be free off this disease. Antacids and painkillers is not the solution! In fact, such medicines make the sphincter loosen its elasticity and grip even more and as result after a while even these medicines become ineffective. Until and unless the life style is corrected, G.E.R.D will come to haunt again and again. In such a scenario, patient needs a medication which actually helps in making his own system and sphincter ready for the big fight! And thus comes the role of Homoeopathy. The homoeopathic medicines based on the symptomatic presentation, try to not only reduce the complaint but also it strengthens the basic musculature and make it more viable to sustain such pressure situations for a longer periods of time. But here also, I must emphasize that the problem will return though, may not be with the same intensity, if the patient‟s lifestyle is not corrected. Regular physical activity; eating food at shorter intervals without actually over eating; sleeping for at least 6-7hours and on time with avoidance of dangerous beverages and food items, are the ways to correct the faulty lifestyle. Some of the useful Homoeopathic medicines in such cases are Arsenic Album, Acetic Acid, Anacardium, Asafoetida, Carbo Veg., Nux Vomica, etc.
The diagnosis is usually made on the presentation and clinical history itself. But at times to rule out other causes, these investigations may need to be carried out:-
- Barium X-ray
- Ultrasound of the whole abdomen