What is GERD or Acid Reflux & its Cause?
The full form of GERD is Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. It is also called acid reflux.
Our stomach has acid which helps in the digestion of food. You will not believe this,but it is the same acid which is used in the batteries.
Our stomach lining is made in such a way that it can easily handle this acid but our esophagus which is also known as food pipe is unable to handle this acid.
So, when the stomach acid regurgitates into the food pipe then there is burning sensation which is known as heartburn.
Everybody can sometimes feel this burning in the chest after eating rich spicy food but that is okay.
If this burning (heartburn) becomes a regular feature of your life, then it means you are suffering from GERD.
Acid reflux usually happens because of incomplete closure of lower esophageal sphincter; as a result acid leaks into the food pipe and esophagus becomes inflamed.
Lower esophageal sphincter is also known as LES and is present between your food pipe and stomach.
I have seen in my clinical practice, which I have been doing since 1997, that GERD is a common problem, but it can be treated permanently with homeopathy without any side effects.
Risk Factors of GERD
Many factors lead to GERD like Overeating, Stress, Obesity, Pregnancy, Hiatus hernia, Coffee, Alcohol, Smoking, Cold drinks, Peppermint, Vitamin C supplements, Calcium carbonatebased antacids, Antibiotics, Aspirin, Rich spicy food, Chocolate, Oranges, Tomatoes, Onions, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Spinach, Milk.
Symptoms of GERD
- Food comes back in the throat which causes burning in the throat. Maximum patients experience this symptom at night.
- Burning in the chest after eating food.
- Bitter or sour taste in the mouth.
- Difficulty in swallowing food, sensation of lump in throat, choking, feeling of pressure in the chest. There can be many reasons for difficulty in swallowing, for example ulcers in esophagus, cancer. A good physician knows how to diagnose and differentiate these conditions from GERD.
- Chronic cough: Acid reflux constantly irritates the throat due to which there is persistent cough.
- Some patients also experience wheezing, asthma like symptoms.
- Pharyngitis: There is pain and irritation in throat which leads to sore throat.
- Laryngitis: Due to this voice becomes hoarse.
- Foul odor from mouth which remains even after brushing the teeth.
- Sour eructation and sour water coming back in the throat.
Complications of GERD
It is important to treat GERD because it can cause dangerous complications:
- Esophageal Stricture: In this food pipe becomes narrower and there is difficulty in swallowing. Basically, scar tissue develops due to acid reflux and this scar tissue narrows the path.
- Esophageal Ulcer: Due to acid reflux the inner lining of foodpipe peels off and ulcers develop. This can cause pain, bleeding, and difficulty in swallowing.
- Barrett’s Esophagus: This is a precancerous situation. Due to acid reflux tissue changes develop in the lining of the food pipe.
GERD in Children
These days in my practice I regularly consult children suffering from GERD. Infact, infants also suffer from this disease. The symptoms in children are:
- Repeated vomiting
- Not gaining weight
- Lack of appetite
- Bad breath
I have seen that homeopathy also works amazingly on children.