Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
The majority of people has suffered, on occasion, burning and heartburn. However, only when this acid goes up through the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat and stomach, is gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) that occurs.
This situation is caused by the malfunction of the muscular valve located at the bottom of the esophagus (called the lower esophageal sphincter).
This is intended to keep food and liquids in the stomach, but when does not close completely, causes these together with responsible for digestive acids rise into the esophagus.
It is important to note that some people with reflux have hiatal hernia.
With this condition, the upper portion of the stomach moves up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm, the muscle band that separates the chest and stomach. A hiatal hernia affects the functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing acid and other stomach contents rise into the esophagus, causing reflux.
Some common symptoms of reflux (GERD) are:
• Acidity, strong feeling in your chest and abdomen and later was transferred to eat, lie down or bending.
• Severe pain in the chest that may think you have a heart attack.
• Burning in throat, tightness, pain or hoarseness (especially when you wake up).
Natural Remedies for GERD
- Pour 1 tablespoon of Chamomile in 1 cup of boiling water, cover and let cool. Take 3 times a day preferably 1 before each meal. This remedy soothes inflamed or irritated mucous membranes in the digestive tract and promotes normal digestion.
- Boil 1 tsp fresh ginger or 1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder in a cup of water for 5 minutes. Cover, let cool down and have a cup before each meal.
- Chewing tablets from root of liquorice (does not raise blood pressure or cause water retention as liquorice) sold in some pharmacies botanical. This herb protects the esophagus by increasing the production of mucin, a substance that forms a protective barrier against the stomach acid. However, it should not be taken in case of high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease, requiring the use of Digitalis. Any use of the liquorice must be accompanied by a low-salt diet and should not last more than four to six weeks.
- Boil a handful of leaves of cabbage in a liter of water for 10 minutes. After that time, remove from heat, strain and let cool. Take this preparation throughout the day.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water at room temperature and take at the first sign of burning pain. Since sodium bicarbonate contains a lot of salt, not recommended for use in case of hypertension or fluid retention. Similarly, prolonged and excessive use can cause constipation or kidney stones.
- Chewing sugarless gum. According to research, 70% of participants who chewed gum had such relief from heartburn and reflux due to increased saliva and its benefit in the stomach.
- Add digestive plants such as rosemary, sage and bay leaf and thyme in the daily meals.
- Eating a daily slice of papaya especially in the morning. Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that aids digestion of proteins.
- Boil 3 tablespoons of bark of Elm in 1 cup water for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and add a pinch of cinnamon. Take 1 cup before each meal.
Eat less, but more frequently (five times daily).
Chew food without haste and in a relaxed way to avoid stomach inflammation and pressure.
Eat lightly (not abundant or oily) at least 3 hours before going to bed and not eating snacks at bedtime.
Avoid trigger foods Some foods and drinks trigger favoring gastroesophageal reflux of stomach acid secretion or by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. Thus, avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, caffeinated beverages, carbonated drinks, fatty and fried foods (French fries, hamburgers, eggs, whole milk, donuts), peppermint or spearmint (or even breath mints and toothpaste with mint flavor), spicy foods, garlic, onions, peppers, tomatoes or tomato-based foods (tomato juice, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, chili, and pizza).
Do not begin the meal by eating starches when you sit down to eat, do not start with a piece of bread or potatoes (can cause a painful sensation of being “full” and start the hiccups). It is recommended better to eat a few bites of vegetables or meat.
Lose weight if you have extra weight according to studies, the overweight made it difficult for the lower esophageal sphincter remain closed, which contributes to acid reflux. If this is the case, it is advisable to start a proper diet and exercise program to lose those extra kilos.
Do not drink alcohol, since they are very irritating, so hinder digestion and favor the emergence of heartburn and reflux.
No smoking Nicotine stimulates stomach acid production and relaxes the muscles between the esophagus.
Being upright especially after eating If you lie on your back after eating you run a higher risk of reflux, as this position favors the rise of acids. For that reason, it is best to stay seated 45 minutes after eating. If it happens at night, it is recommended to elevate head of the bed 20 cm.
Avoid exercising immediately after eating. If you exercise with a full stomach, it is likely to increase the likelihood of heartburn and reflux.
Review the medications taken There are some medications, including acetylsalicylic acid, anti-inflammatory, hormonal or drug treatments for insomnia that can irritate the digestive tract and cause reflux. If in doubt, consult the doctor.
Do not use tight clothes especially when it’s time to eat. Belts, pantyhose, panties and tight trousers are pushing the stomach and make the stomach acid rise. For this reason, it is recommended if using a belt, do not tighten to maximum and leave an inch of slack.
Avoid Stress Reducing stress helps some people with reflux. Therefore, it is recommended to practice meditation, yoga or deep breathing, and exercise regularly, such as walking fast, swimming or biking.
Go to the doctor
If, in spite of the natural remedies and recommendations above, has not been able to solve the problem of reflux, and this is maintained as a persistent and prolonged, or if it is repeated frequently, since you can develop an ulcer or even a cancer of the esophagus.
It is also possible the emergence of pneumonia or bronchitis when the stomach acid has a reflux and gets into the lungs through the trachea, almost always while you sleep. The reflux also destroys the enamel of the teeth when the stomach acid reaches the mouth.