Heartburn and GERD

Heartburn and GERD

In case you have missed the multitude of commercials on television, GERD stands for Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease. Although the term GERD has become very popular lately, it certainly is not a new condition. Simply put GERD is heartburn which is caused by backflow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. This reflux of acid can cause heartburn, an acidy or sour taste in the mouth, painful swallowing and even chest pain.

 

GERD is becoming an increasingly more common problem. Recent statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services indicate that about 60% of the US population will suffer from GERD at some point in their lives. If the disease has been around for such a long time, why are we seeing it more frequently? There are likely several factors which contribute to this increased frequency. There are obvious dietary factors such as high sugar and trans fatty meals. Overuse of antacids and antibiotics can lead to disruption of normal GI tract flora or bacterial overgrowth. Even food allergies or sensitivities could be causing irregular or improper digestion and leading to heartburn. What may not be so obvious is that the treatments now readily available are not controlling the problem. It may seem obvious that if acid from the stomach is flowing back into the esophagus, there must be too much acid in the stomach. This is somewhat true, but that acid is not necessarily “normal stomach acid”, but abnormal acids in the stomach from improper digestion and putrefaction and acidification of stomach contents.

 

In other words, when normal stomach acid is inadequate food is not properly digested and undigested food remains in the stomach. The undigested food begins to break down and produces acids. It is often these acids that cause heartburn and GERD. We can help you find a permanent solution to your heartburn without taking daily medications.