Specific Health Concern >> Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses the underlying cause of Reflux and why it will never go away if you take suppressive medications. These will only make your body have bigger problems over time.
Conditions like osteoporosis, immune suppression, hormone issues, allergies, auto-immune concerns.
When you grow tired of the medication merry-go-round, Dr. Huntoon is here to help. We look forward to serving you.
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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious form of gastroesophageal reflux (GER), which is far too common.
GER occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens spontaneously, for varying periods of time, or does not close properly and stomach contents rise up into the esophagus. GER is also called acid reflux or acid regurgitation, because digestive juices—called acids—rise up with the food. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach.
When acid reflux occurs, food or fluid can be tasted in the back of the mouth. When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus it may cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn or acid indigestion. Occasional GER is common and does not necessarily mean one has GERD. Persistent reflux that occurs more than twice a week is considered GERD, and it can eventually lead to more serious health problems. People of all ages can have GERD. Having it is very common in our society, but you should not accept having it and should find the right practitioner to help you get rid of it once and for all.
The main symptom of GERD in adults is frequent heartburn, also called acid indigestion.
A burning-type pain in the lower part of the mid-chest, behind the breastbone, and in the mid-abdomen.
Most children under 12 years with GERD, and some adults, have GERD without heartburn.
Instead, they may experience a dry cough, asthma symptoms, or trouble swallowing.
These usually indicate a Hiatal Hernia, a condition that results from having GERD.
The reason some people develop GERD is still unclear, from a medical perspective. That is why they offer suppressive medicines with no other real form of care. However, research shows that in people with GERD, the LES relaxes while the rest of the esophagus is working. Anatomical abnormalities such as a hiatal hernia may also contribute to GERD.
A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach and the LES move above the diaphragm, the muscle wall that separates the stomach from the chest. Normally, the diaphragm helps the LES keep acid from rising up into the esophagus. When a hiatal hernia is present, acid reflux can occur more easily. A hiatal hernia can occur in people of any age and is most often a common finding in otherwise healthy people over age 50. Most of the time, a hiatal hernia produces no symptoms. Other factors that may contribute to GERD include:
Common foods that can worsen reflux symptoms include:
What is GERD in Children?
Distinguishing between normal, physiologic reflux and GERD in children is important.
Most infants with GER are happy and healthy even if they frequently spit up or vomit. This is usually due to food sensitivities or allergies to mother’s breast milk or formula.
Babies usually outgrow GER by their first birthday. Reflux that continues past 1 year of age may be GERD. Studies show GERD is common and may be overlooked in infants and children. For example, GERD can present as
These are classic allergy symptoms associated with what they are eating. Infants and young children may demonstrate irritability or arching of the back, often during or immediately after feedings. Infants with GERD may refuse to feed and experience poor growth.
Talk with your child’s healthcare provider if reflux-related symptoms occur regularly and cause your child discomfort. Checking your child for food allergies or sensitivities with a Holistic Chiropractor is the best place to start. Your healthcare provider may recommend simple strategies for avoiding reflux, such as burping the infant several times during feeding or keeping the infant in an upright position for greater than 30 minutes after feeding. If your child is older, your healthcare provider may recommend that your child eat small, frequent meals and avoid the following foods:
Avoiding food 3 to 4 hours before bed may also help. Your healthcare provider may recommend raising the head of your child's bed with wood blocks secured under the bedposts. Just using extra pillows will not help. If these changes do not work, your medical doctor may prescribe medicine for your child. In rare cases, a child may need surgery. For information about GER in infants, children, and adolescents, see the Gastroesophageal Reflux in Infants and Gastroesophageal Reflux in Children and Adolescents fact sheets from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
Your medical health care provider may recommend over-the-counter antacids or medications that stop acid production or help the muscles that empty your stomach. You can buy many of these medications without a prescription. However, see your healthcare provider before starting or adding a medication, as these medication will lead to bigger health concerns down the road.
Because drugs work in different ways, combinations of medications may help control symptoms. People who get heartburn after eating may take both antacids and H2 blockers. The antacids work first to neutralize the acid in the stomach, and then the H2 blockers act on acid production. By the time the antacid stops working, the H2 blocker will have stopped acid production. Your pharmacist is the best source of information about how to use medications for GERD. Many Pharmacists are a wealth of information, especially when taking multiple medications. Most important to consider is when stopping acid production in your stomach, this stops your ability to absorb calcium which will lead to many other conditions such as osteoporosis, muscle weakness and weakened immunity. Consider this before taking any medication for GERD.
As with all medication, certain side-effects are known and others are not known. It is important to consider the side-effects and to do some research into the medication being prescribed to determine if the side-effects are worse than the symptoms associated with your GERD. Talking with your medical doctor or pharmacist is advised. Considering Alternative treatments before starting stronger medication is best.
Dr. Huntoon has quite a history helping people eliminate this painful condition from their lives. Having a consultation and examination so he can give you the insights you need to help remedy this concern is the best place to start. Making this condition go away once and for all by using the 7 Pillars of Health is always appreciated by the many he has helped over the years.
Many Alternative Healthcare Practitioners such as a Holistic Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Homeopath or Naturopath have had great success in treating GERD and other related conditions.
Treatment of the most common cause of GERD, the Hiatal Hernia, takes 30 to 45 seconds to remedy and then getting advice on how to prevent it from returning is ideal for this condition. Consulting with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you develop a well-rounded approach to restoring balance to your digestive system is a good place to begin.
Eliminating the CAUSES of GERD and other stomach upset is ideal.
By working with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you address the underlying cause of your GERD and removing the basis for the symptoms will go a long way to fully resolving your GERD and its associated symptoms.
See your healthcare provider if you have had symptoms of GERD and have been using antacids or other over-the-counter reflux medications for more than 2 weeks. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who treats diseases of the stomach and intestines.
What if GERD Symptoms Persist?
If your symptoms do not improve with lifestyle changes or medications, you may need additional tests.
Barium swallow radiograph uses x rays to help spot abnormalities such as a hiatal hernia and other structural or anatomical problems of the esophagus. With this test, you drink a solution and then x rays are taken. The test will not detect mild irritation, although strictures—narrowing of the esophagus—and ulcers can be observed.
Upper endoscopy is more accurate than a barium swallow radiograph and may be performed in a hospital or a doctor’s office. The doctor may spray your throat to numb it and then, after lightly sedating you, will slide a thin, flexible plastic tube with a light and lens on the end, called an endoscope, down your throat. Acting as a tiny camera, the endoscope allows the doctor to see the surface of the esophagus and search for abnormalities. If you have had moderate to severe symptoms and this procedure reveals injury to the esophagus, usually no other tests are needed to confirm GERD.
The doctor also may perform a biopsy. Tiny tweezers, called forceps, are passed through the endoscope and allow the doctor to remove small pieces of tissue from your esophagus. The tissue is then viewed with a microscope to look for damage caused by acid reflux and to rule out other problems if infection or abnormal growths are not found. pH monitoring examination involves the doctor either inserting a small tube into the esophagus or clipping a tiny device to the esophagus that will stay there for 24 to 48 hours. While you go about your normal activities, the device measures when and how much acid comes up into your esophagus. This test can be useful if combined with a carefully completed diary— recording when, what, and amounts the person eats—which allows the doctor to see correlations between symptoms and reflux episodes. The procedure is sometimes helpful in detecting whether respiratory symptoms, including wheezing and coughing, are triggered by reflux.
A completely accurate diagnostic test for GERD does not exist, and tests have not consistently shown that acid exposure to the lower esophagus directly correlates with damage to the lining.
Surgery is an option when medicine and lifestyle changes do not help to manage GERD symptoms. Surgery may also be a reasonable alternative to a lifetime of drugs and discomfort.
Medicines Two Choices for You
Alternative treatments and Hope
Developing a healthy life-style with proper guidance from your Holistic Chiropractor is the best prevention when considering how to approach your health. Calling Dr. Huntoon so he can help you remedy your condition once and for all is the BEST advice we can offer.
What are the Long-term Complications of GERD?
Chronic GERD that is untreated can cause serious complications.
Persons with GERD and its complications should be monitored closely by a physician. Studies have shown that GERD may worsen or contribute to asthma, chronic cough, and pulmonary fibrosis.
Points to Remember
Hope through Research
The reasons certain people develop GERD and others do not remain unknown. Several factors may be involved, and research is under way to explore risk factors for developing GERD and the role of GERD in other conditions such as asthma and laryngitis.
Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. For information about current studies, visit www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
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Advanced Alternative Medicine Center
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Dr. Richard A. Huntoon