What is acid reflux disease?
Acid reflux disease, also known as
gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs due
to the coexistence of two physiological conditions.
The first condition is a retrograde flow of stomach
contents into the oesophagus. However, the reflux itself
does not necessarily lead to gastro-oesophageal
reflux disease symptoms or histological changes,
and can occur among healthy individuals also. In this
case, the process is referred to as "physiologic
The second condition is lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) malfunction. The LES is a 3-cm to 4-cm ring of muscle, which acts as a valve between the stomach and the oesophagus. In case of acid reflux disease, the LES does not close properly and stomach acid splashes up to the oesophagus. When pathologic symptoms follow this process, the whole condition is called acid reflux disease.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is usually experienced as a persistent (at least twice a week) heartburn - the distressing burning sensation in the chest or throat, caused by refluxed stomach contents touching the lining of the oesophagus. Since healthy individuals may also experience light reflux - occasional heartburn may occur normally, and doesn't necessarily serve as an evidence of GERD.
Some GERD sufferers may also experience pain in the chest, cough, morning hoarseness, voice changes, difficulty in swallowing (especially lumpy foods), chronic earache, burning chest pains, sinusitis or nausea. Many patients report a sensation that reminds them of food being stuck, tightness or choking of throat, and even sore throat . This happens due to continuous flow of stomach contents and acid that comes in contact with the oesophagus and causes inflammation of the oesophagus, resulting in scars from tissue damage.
Untreated acid reflux disease can lead to serious health complications. Those include stricture formation, bleeding, ulcers and oesophageal spasms. When the stomach acid reaches the upper oesophagus and trachea, the process can result in a variety of severe conditions, such as asthma, sinusitis and pneumonia. Finally, some people may develop Barrett's oesophagus, a condition that manifests itself through abnormality in shape and colouration of cells along the oesophageal lining. This condition is a precursor to oesophageal cancer, especially in adults who are 60 or more years old.
Treatment of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease
The treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease takes three forms: medical therapy, surgery, and the all-natural holistic therapy, including dietary and lifestyle changes and the intake of specific herbal supplements. Undergoing a surgery should be considered very carefully, since it can compound some of the underlying conditions, such as stricture and motility disorders. Medical treatment of GERD includes H2 blockers and PPIs. While acid reflux can be treated by taking prescription medication or acid blockers such as the above, bear in mind that the results may be temporary and that some conventional medication can have considerable side-effects.
From the holistic point of
view, acid reflux disease is considered
to be the warning sign of some major internal imbalances
that need to be addressed properly. Holistic treatment
is perfectly safe as it comes with no side-effects and
it also works naturally in harmony with your physical
system and ensures a long-lasting