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GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISEASE

By: Dr. Sushma Shah - Naturopathic Doctor

Gastroesophageal reflux disease

INTRODUCTION

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when material from the stomach or small intestine repeatedly enters the oesophagus creating feelings of discomfort and burning and acid reflux in the throat and oesophagus. Some individuals have GERD for many years. Complications, such as serious damage to the oesophagus, respiratory diseases, and ear, nose, and throat conditions can occur, but are more likely with older people. However, these days with the amount of stress people endure and the types of fast food diets individuals follow, even the younger population, as young as seven years old can to suffer from the classic symptoms of acid reflux or GERD

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF GERD / ACID REFLUX

Heartburn - a burning sensation in the chest, throat, neck, or back - is the primary symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Other symptoms include:

  • Regurgitation (with or without acid)
  • Difficulty or pain with swallowing
  • A full sensation in the neck
  • Belching
  • Chest pain (similar to angina)
  • Laryngitis
  • Chronic cough and
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath

WHAT CAUSES IT?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease has many possible causes:

  • Spicy hot foods, tomato-based foods, citrus fruits, red meat fatty foods, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and certain medications

  • Overeating or undereating and going without food for several hours of the day, burping intentionally, wearing tight-fitting clothes, bending over frequently, lying down soon after eating, and smoking

  • Physical condition (particularly being overweight), high stress levels

  • Defect in the effectiveness of the valve at the bottom of your oesophagus in preventing material from your stomach from entering the oesophagus

  • Certain medical conditions

WHAT TO EXPECT AT OUR NATUROPATHIC CLINIC?

At the Nature's Intentions Naturopathic Clinic in Toronto, during your initial 1 hour one on one consult with our Naturopathic Doctor, Sushma Shah, you will undergo a comprehensive symptom intake in detail, along with your diet and lifestyle factors, and at the end of the visit, you will be required to do some blood and urine testing. She may recommend additional laboratory tests depending on your health symptoms. Her assessment is oriented toward determining what is impeding your body's ability to function normally as well, determine the root cause of the problem. She will determine what assessment tools are most helpful in establishing a treatment strategy specific to your health needs. She might also recommend some dietary changes and some naturopathic treatments at the end of the visit sa well.

Following the initial visit, you will be coming in for your second visit, in which, Toronto naturopath Sushma Shah will be doing a full physical check up, including a breast exam (for women), a traditional Chinese medicine tongue and pulse diagnosis, a body fat analysis and blood glucose testing. After going through your complete intake, she will be giving you an INDIVIDUAL TREATMENT PLAN that is specific to the symptoms you have. Your individual treatment plan may include diet and lifestyle changes, a nutrition plan, and certain naturopathic supplements and treatments.

GENERAL TREATMENT OPTIONS

  • Avoiding food, drinks, and medications that can cause or worsen gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Modifying your lifestyle as needed
  • Raising the head of your bed about six inches
  • Taking antacids and other medication to relieve symptoms as needed
  • In rare instances, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery
  • Changes in your diet can help decrease the irritation of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Herbs may be very effective at healing esophagitis
  • Digestive enzymes may help if you have heartburn
  • Avoid sweets, oils, fats, alcohol, hot spicy foods and caffeine

Anyone, including infants, children, and pregnant women, can have gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Please ask your doctor or naturopath before starting on any supplements. Its is better to first identify the cause and then treat it with the right remedies, even though those mentioned above have minimal side effects.

The information on this article is the property of SUSHMA SHAH, naturopathic doctor, and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease. For any questions, or concerns, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 416 913 4325 (HEAL) or email me at info@naturesintentionsnaturopathy.com


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