Often, people who complain of acid indigestion and heartburn do not realize that these are not separate diseases, but are symptoms of a reflux disorder. The most common symptoms of gastric reflux disease are heartburn and indigestion.
While some people might dismiss heartburn as being a source of pain, it is important to remember that over three-quarters of people who suffer from night-time heartburn have attacks of such severity that the pain can rank equal to those who suffer from angina and heart attack. Other symptoms of GERD include:
- Dyspepsia, which can present as an unbearable feeling of fullness and/or nausea after eating.
- Regurgitation, which is a back-up of acid in the throat, and can be sudden.
- Chest Pains, that present as food trapped within the upper chest. Chest pain is one top symptom of a reflux disorder. If ever in doubt as to whether chest pain is caused by GERD or by a heart attack, please seek emergency help immediately.
Some sufferers of GERD also find themselves also suffering from asthma. This is because re-fluxed acid can stimulate the nerves that lead to the lungs. These nerves then restrict and narrow, producing an asthma attack.
Causes of Gastric Reflux Disease
There are many different causes of gastric reflux disease. GERD is mainly caused by the inability of the sphincter located in the lower esophagus to close properly. When you eat or drink, there is a flap at the end of the esophagus that opens to allow food and drink to pass from the esophagus into the stomach.
If this flap weakens or does not close properly, then acid and food can back up into the esophagus. There are several different reasons why this lower esophageal flap may not close properly:
- Abnormal stomach function
can cause a slow digestion of food, which allows the pressure of undigested food within the stomach to push the flap open
can both cause reflux problems as well as aggravate the condition in people who already suffer from GERD. OTC medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin can cause reflux problems as well as prescription medications such as antibiotics, beta blockers, which are used for high blood pressure, iron pills, and Dopamine, which is used to treat Parkinson's disease. Medications taken to treat osteoporosis can also lead to GERD.
- Pregnancy and hormones
can cause a relaxation of the esophageal flap. Many pregnant women suffer from GERD during their pregnancy.
- Hiatal hernias
can cause reflux issues. A hiatal hernia causes a portion of the stomach to protrude upwards into the esophagus, opening the esophageal flap.
GERD and Diet
If you suffer from GERD, you may feel as if there is nothing you can eat that will not cause you pain. This is far from the truth. While some foods, such as those that contain a high acidity, like citrus fruits and tomatoes, may cause pain, you may be pleased to learn that a healthy diet is a good diet for those who suffer from GERD.
As a leading NYC Integrated Nutritionist
, I will help you discover the perfect natural GERD remedy for your body. There is no "One Diet Fits All" solution when it comes to the personalized treatment of GERD and chronic acid reflux. Don't try to solve your health problem with over the counter medications that, at the very best, will only temporarily mask your symptoms. We need to get to the cause of the problem and address what works best for you.