If you are looking for natural treatment for GERD you want to know that I am the biggest fan of natural and herbal treatments. I am a pharmacist that first recommends natural ways, life-style modifications, homeopathic supplements and acupuncture before medications.
What Is GERD?
Most patients have occasional heartburn. But when the heartburn occurs two or more days a week, they are called symptoms of GERD. Acid reflux disease can lead to more serious health problems. But it is considered treatable.
You are looking for natural treatment for GERD, but do you know what happens inside of you when reflux occurs? To take better control of your health, you need to know how your body works.
Once the stomach senses food, it produces gastrin.
Gastrin is responsible for secretion of HCL(hydrochloric acid) and for contraction of muscles in the stomach to move food.
The functions of HCL include converting proteins to certain enzymes for proper digestion as well as prevention of bacterial or fungal overgrowth in the small intestine and more.
GERD, or gastro esophageal reflux disease, is a chronic condition that is more commonly known as acid reflux disease.
GERD Symptoms: When the gastric acid level in the stomach is low, food will not digest properly. That causes fermentation of the undigested food which leads to gassy, bloated feeling. Fermentation acids are the ones that can be corrosive to the digestive organs like the esophagus. Our stomachs have a protective lining against these acids but the esophagus does not. Sometimes the sphincter muscles become week and don’t close the stomach properly and that causes the acid to flow back up to the esophagus. This causes the symptoms of heartburn or symptoms of GERD.
Causes of GERD can be numerous. It can be your lifestyle, sleeping habits, dietary choices, etc. That’s why I would suggest some life-style modifications, exercise, healthy GERD diets as first steps in natural treatment for GERD.
Causes of GERD can also be more serious GI conditions like Crohns disease, Celiac disease, IBS, Ulcerative colitis, etc. Natural treatment for GERD would be considered here if the underlying condition is under control.
Traditional GERD Treatment :
Truly diagnosed GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease) requires conventional GERD treatment with GERD medicatine and follow ups with a physician. The problem is that many patients get misdiagnosed with it. True Gastro esophageal reflux disease is a serious condition that needs to be diagnosed with certain tests and labs, etc. Some Crohns disease symptoms may present themselves to resemble acid reflux symptoms. Natural treatment for GERD may not be your choice here.
Occasional heartburn is not a serious condition. If it’s not clinically serious, natural treatment for GERD should be considered here. But a lot of patients with heartburn will see the doctor hoping for relief. Most of the time, they will come out of the office happy with a prescription for Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Aciphex, etc. because doctors understand that patients came for help and want their prescription, they give it to them. These prescriptions are usually for proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H-2 blockers. PPIs are indicated for truly diagnosed acid reflux disease, not occasional heartburn. Most of the patients getting these medications do not have true gastro esophageal reflux disease.
But these drugs work as GERD treatment. And they work great. Patients feel relief and, initially, they are happy. What happens later when they try to stop the medication? Without going into the mechanism of action of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), when this medication is stopped the stomach starts to hurt. It really hurts, sometimes even more than before. The patient will think that they need to continue with the medicine because they are not better yet.
The best way to discontinue proton pump inhibitors is to slowly decrease the dose and temporarily add on H2 blocker, such as Zantac or Pepcid for a week or two to suppress the acid. This may be a more successful way to stop Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, etc. Remember, ask for your doctor’s advice if you want to discontinue any medication. But most importantly the natural and holistic approach should be considered to heal the body so the digestive system will function properly.
Heartburn is a symptom of GERD and is commonly believed to be a problem with too much acid (HCL-hydrochloric acid). Very often it is the complete opposite. Having too little hydrochloric acid in your stomach may cause the food to be poorly digested. That could cause the fermentation acid to flow into the esophagus.