GERD : Millions of people across the world are suffering from the prevalent chronic digestive ailment known as gastroesophageal reflux disease only due to ignorance of their lifestyle and bad food habits.
Reverse flow of food consumed by our stomach, into the oesophagus, resulting in a number of gastroesophageal reflux disease painful symptoms makes uneasy even to sleep.
- What is GERD?
- Causes of GERD
- Symptoms of GERD
- Diagnosing GERD
- Treatment Options for GERD
- Lifestyle Tips for Managing GERD
- Holistic Treatment of GERD in Ayurveda
In this article aayurved.in will give you a healthy knowledge about the causes, signs, symptoms, diagnosis of GERD. Not only this we are also give you a hint of available treatments in allopathy as well as herbal and Ayurvedic medications. You have to change your lifestyle to get rid of gastroesophageal reflux disease .
What is GERD?
GERD, commonly known as acid reflux, and regurgitation of stomach acid and other digestive fluids into the esophagus is the firstmost signs of this disease. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus, becomes weakened or relaxed, allowing the stomach contents to flow backward.
Causes of GERD
Several factors can contribute to the development of GERD, including:
- Hiatal Hernia: A condition where the upper part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity.
- Weak Lower Esophageal Sphincter: The LES may not function properly, allowing stomach acid to flow into the esophagus.
- Abnormal Esophageal Contractions: In some cases, the esophagus may have abnormal contractions, leading to acid reflux.
- Obesity: Excess weight can put pressure on the abdomen, pushing the stomach contents upward.
- Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and increased pressure on the abdomen during pregnancy can contribute to it.
- Smoking: Smoking weakens the LES and increases acid production in the stomach.
- Certain Foods and Beverages: Spicy, fatty, and acidic foods, as well as caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages, can trigger GERD symptoms.
Symptoms of GERD
It can manifest through various symptoms, which may include:
- Heartburn: A burning sensation in the chest, often after eating or at night.
- Regurgitation: Sour-tasting acid backing up into the throat or mouth.
- Dysphagia: Difficulty swallowing or the sensation of food getting stuck in the throat.
- Chest Pain: Discomfort or pain in the chest, sometimes confused with a heart attack.
- Chronic Cough: A persistent, dry cough that may worsen at night.
- Hoarseness or Sore Throat: Irritation and inflammation of the throat due to acid exposure.
If you experience persistent symptoms of GERD, it is essential to seek medical evaluation for an accurate diagnosis. A healthcare professional may employ the following methods:
- Medical History: The doctor will inquire about your symptoms, their frequency, and any triggers.
- Physical Examination: A thorough examination to check for signs of GERD and other related conditions.
- Upper Endoscopy: A procedure where a flexible tube with a camera is inserted through the throat to examine the esophagus and stomach.
- Esophageal pH Monitoring: Measures the acidity levels in the esophagus to determine the frequency and severity of acid reflux episodes.
Treatment Options for GERD
Effective management of GERD involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medications, and, in some cases, surgical interventions. The following treatment options may be recommended:
- Dietary Changes: Avoid trigger foods and beverages, such as spicy foods, fatty meals, caffeine, and alcohol. Opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
- Weight Management: Losing excess weight can alleviate pressure on the abdomen and reduce GERD symptoms.
- Elevate the Head of the Bed: Raising the head of the bed by 6 to 8 inches can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus during sleep.
- Quit Smoking: If you smoke, quitting is essential to improve gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms and overall health.
- Meal Planning: Eat smaller, more frequent meals to avoid overfilling the stomach and triggering reflux.
- Antacids: Over-the-counter antacids can provide temporary relief by neutralizing stomach acid.
- H2 Receptor Blockers: These medications reduce acid production and provide longer-lasting relief than antacids.
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs): PPIs are highly effective in reducing stomach acid production and promoting healing of the esophagus.
- Fundoplication: A surgical procedure where the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the LES to strengthen its function and prevent acid reflux.
- LINX Device: This is a small magnetic ring that is surgically implanted around the LES, helping to strengthen the sphincter and prevent acid reflux.
Lifestyle Tips for Managing GERD
In addition to the aforementioned treatment options, the following lifestyle tips can further help manage GERD symptoms:
- Avoid Eating Before Bed: Allow at least two to three hours for digestion before lying down.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Regular exercise and a balanced diet can contribute to weight management and reduce GERD symptoms.
- Stress Management: Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to minimize stress, as stress can exacerbate gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms.
- Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing: Tight clothing can put pressure on the abdomen, leading to increased acid reflux.
Holistic Treatment of GERD in Ayurveda
Various herbal and natural treatments are available in Ayurveda, an ancient medical system with its roots in India, that may help manage GERD symptoms. Keep in mind, ayurvedic medicines have unique formulas and dosages, administered under the supervision of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner.
List of Ayurvedic drugs and herbs frequently prescribed for gastroesophageal reflux disease :
Amla also known as Indian gooseberry: Amla is popular for its cooling effects and for calming the digestive tract. Variety of forms, such as juice, powder, or supplements available in it.
In the past, people have taken licorice to support gastrointestinal health and lessen inflammation. Powder, herbal tea, or dietary supplement. But use it with caution, because over a long period of time can increase blood pressure.
Therefore use it under medical supervision of a licensed Ayurvedic Medical Practitioner.
Triphala made out of three fruits (amla, bibhitaki, and haritaki), aids digestion. It is available in powder form as well as capsules also.
In Ayurveda, this herb is utilised to promote healthy digestion and lessen acidity. One can consume it as a powder or as a component of a herbal remedy.
Indian sarsaparilla (Anantmool):
Anantmool, Indian sarsaparilla has antacid characteristics and can help lessen the symptoms of acid reflux. It is frequently eaten in the form of a decoction or as powder.
Kutajarishta is a herbal remedy used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat digestive issues, including GERD. Typically, it is consumed in liquid form.
It’s crucial to stress that Ayurvedic pharmaceuticals should only be administered under the supervision of a licensed Ayurvedic practitioner who can take into account your unique condition, doses, and any drug interactions.
GERD is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. By implementing lifestyle modifications, following a healthy diet, and seeking appropriate medical treatment, individuals with GERD can effectively control their symptoms. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Stay proactive in managing your GERD, and you can lead a fulfilling life with minimal discomfort.