Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus (food-pipe) and stomach. When the muscles of the LES relax when not required, it results in acid reflux. GERD can adversely affect the quality of life of many people.
Acid reflux is the regurgitation of food and stomach acid into the esophagus which causes belching, heartburn and, in some severe cases, chest pains. Just imagine you are about to kiss your loved one and you burp! That will be the worst scenario ever. If you frequently suffer from acid reflux, the acids will irritate the esophagus, which may advance to scarring, ulceration, swelling, or bleeding. The burning, pressure, or pain of heartburn can last as long as 2 hours and is often worse after eating. In the long run, acid reflux may precipitate into esophageal cancer, too. Dietary and lifestyle choices may contribute to GERD.
Treatment aims at decreasing the amount of reflux or reducing damage to the lining of the esophagus from refluxed materials. Lifestyle changes may be the route you want to take to provide relief from GERD naturally.
- Cut down on CERTAIN foods
Certain foods and beverages including chocolate, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, coffee, or alcoholic beverages, may trigger reflux and heartburn. Avoid such triggers. Instead, opt for a healthy diet comprising of boiled and cooked vegetables and whole grains. Also, avoid foods and beverages that can irritate a damaged esophageal lining, such as citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, and pepper, if they cause symptoms.
- Adopting a healthy habit
Eating meals at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime may reduce reflux of acid into the esophagus. In addition, elevating the head of the bed on 6-inch blocks or sleeping on a specially designed wedge reduces heartburn by allowing gravity to minimize reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. Do not use pillows to prop yourself up; that only increases pressure on the stomach.
- Weight control
In addition, being overweight often worsens GERD symptoms. Perform regular exercise and eat a balanced diet to avoid weight gain.
- Quit smoking and drinking
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. As per a study, cigarette smoking relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter muscles resulting in backflow of stomach acid and food material into the esophagus.
- Try herbal supplement
An ayurvedic medicine for acidity, ALSAREX is a safe and effective option. It is a single comprehensive remedy and first choice in the management of acid reflux. ALSAREX not only reduces the acid secretion but also strengthens the mucosal defense.
- Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) reduces the excessive secretion of stomach acid
- Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) increases mucosal defense
- Yastimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has anti-H.pylori activity
- Usheer (Andropogan muricatus) prevents the unwanted relaxation of the LES muscles
- Oudumbar (Ficus glomerata) is gastroprotective.