Heartburn vs GERD
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GERD, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, is reversable. GERD is a problem with the esophageal sphincter; intra-abdominal pressure may prevent the full closure of this sphinctre allowing stomach contents to flow backwards into the esophagus. This backflow causes problems you know as heartburn, burning in the esophagus, belly pain, excess gas, chest pain, poor sleep, elimination of you favorite foods and more. GERD can be reversed! Reducing overall inflammation will improve health and can even heal GERD.
Heartburn is a leaky gut; once you learn the cause of your heartburn, it can be treated and healed. A healed, healthy gut is a gift, one you will appreciate forever. You will find healing your leaky gut will significantly improve, even eliminate your GERD.
Patients tell me: My sleep has improved. I wake refreshed. My poop no longer stinks. I don’t have to stay home all morning to poop. I can eat my favorite foods and feel good. Nausea and stomach pain is gone. My joints no longer ache. I no longer need the purple pill! I have so much more energy.
Common Symptoms include:
- Burning pain in the chest that usually occurs after eating and worsens when lying down, may be worse at night.
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
- Sensation of a lump in your throat
- Bitter taste
- Discomfort in upper abdomen
- Dry cough
How it’s Diagnosed
- Generally GERD is diagnosed by your symptoms. If your symptoms include difficulty swallowing, vomiting of blood or significant weight loss, you will need both an upper and lower endoscopy. I will refer your appropriately.
- I will have you complete a stool test and a food sensitivity test. This will help me see what is going on in your gut: balance of microorganisms, presense of infections, inflammation markers etc. Food sensitivity will help me see what foods may be interacting and playing a role in your distress.
- Upper endoscopy. The specialist inserts a thin, flexible tube equipped with a light and camera (endoscope) down your throat, to examine the inside of your esophagus and stomach.
- A colonoscopy is an exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon.
- Ambulatory acid (pH) probe test(done by specialist)
- Esophageal Manometry-This test involves placing a thin, pressure-sensitive tube through your nose into your esophagus to measure pressure as you swallow.
- Xray of the upper digestive system, if needed.
Treat GERD with Lifestyle Modifications That Work
- Dietary modifications-
- Eat your last meal of the day at least 3 hours before you lie down, preferably before 7pm
- Evening meal should be light and easy to digest (not meat, dairy or uncooked greens)
- Avoid processed foods, sugar, saturated fat
- Decrease or eliminate alcohol
- These modifications are a solid start. For some, this is all you’ll need to do.
- Many others will also need–to heal the leaky gut. If you don’t heal the gut, the issue may get better but it will not go away completely.
- Elevate head of bed
- May help regurgitation, you won’t be burping up all night, but will not fix the problem
- Weight loss
- Will alleviate the pressure on the esophageal sphincter, but it may not fix the problem completely. A leaky gut is at the root of the issue.
Medication and why these do not fix the problem
- Anti-acids (counteracts effects of acid in stomach)
- Your stomach is supposed to have acid. The stomach pH should be 2-3. If it’s higher than that, you will not be able to properly digest food. (Anti-acids increase the pH.) Improper digestion causes increased intra-abdominal pressure. Because your diet has not been optimal, or your stress is out of control, your stomach pH is elevated, prohibiting proper balance of microorganisms that support your digestion, immune system and overall well-being.
- Proton pump inhibitors (ex. prilosec, decreases acid release in stomach)
- Acid in the stomach is NOT a PROBLEM. The issue is a leaky gut and an inability to properly digest your food. You are lacking enzymes, acid, and the microorganisms that digest your food, provide immune support, metabolize hormones, neurotransmitters and so much more.Taking proton pump inhibitors will only band-aid the problem.
- Anti-diarrhoeal (decrease frequency of bowel movements)
- You are unable to digest your food, absorb it and or utilize the nutrients you have consumed. Thus your body is “dumping” out what it cannot use. Keeping toxic foods in your gut, is making your sicker. The problem is a leaky gut. Your gut needs to be healed.
There are many reasons why you have GERD. The best way to find out what is going on is to have a full evaulation, comprehensive stool analysis, food sensitivity test and serum labs if needed. An upper endoscopy to make sure there is no cancer or tearing in the esophagus etc. If you have an ulcer or damage to the lining of stomach or esophagus, cancer or Barretts esophagus…those can be healed too.
How I Treat Heartburn and GERD
Get tested: Physical Exam and review of your history. Upper Endoscopy if needed. Digestive Stool Analysis. Food Sensitivity Test. Serum labs if needed.
Once I get the test results back, I treat according to what I find. I use herbs, digestive enzymes, specific nutrients, pre and probiotics, and diet changes as needed to get you well. If you have cancer, I will send you to an oncologist.
How long does it take? It all depends on YOU! and what is going on. It can be 2 months, 6 months, a year. Usually, it’s a month to feel pretty good. You will need to complete the full round of treatment though to completely heal things. You are an individual and each person is different. There is no magic time frame. I cannot tell until I know what is going on in your gut. You may take longer or be faster than another person. Your underlying health also plays a part in your healing. And of course the more compliant you are with treatment, lifestyle changes, the faster things will happen. Your attitude matters and then there is your willingness to be uncomfortable as change happens.
Will it be painful? No, but you may be emotionally uncomfortable when you cannot have your comfort foods, alcohol, etc. I will teach you how to handle the emotions…this is done through life and health coaching.
How much does it cost? I will create a package for you that includes medical visits I think you’ll need, coaching, stool test, food sensitivity test with interpretation and medical-grade supplements. You are an individual and your plan will be specific to you.