I have seen a vast number of clients with GERD over the years.
By the time people would come to see me, they were sick of taking proton pump inhibitors, but they were being driven crazy by the reflux.
Your stomach is like a cement mixer. You chew food; it goes down the esophagus, through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and into the stomach. The LES is designed to stop food from going back up the esophagus.
Once the food is in the stomach, it is mixed up with gastric acid and digestive enzymes. The resulting substance is called chyme. Chyme consists of the results of mechanical and chemical breakdown of food, water, hydrochloric acid, and digestive enzymes. Chyme moves into the small intestine for further processing.
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It’s essential that the stomach thoroughly churn up the food and break it down using the digestive enzymes. However, many people eat quickly and without chewing their food enough.
If you eat small meals and take your time eating and chewing, your digestion will be much more efficient. You’ll also be satisfied more readily.
There are common causes of GERD that can explain about 90% of cases.
Firstly, overeating food can contribute to GERD. It’s a particular problem if you eat a big meal and then lie on your back. Eating too quickly and eating the wrong kinds of food also increases the risk of GERD. Spicy, fatty foods and alcohol can all increase GERD as can smoking. So can garlic, onion, and tomatoes.
It’s easy to eat too much if you are sitting in front of an 80-inch television.
Another factor associated with GERD is being overweight. Abdominal fat can constrict your stomach and contribute to reflux. The same thing happens in the later stages of pregnancy.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can trigger GERD. There are other medications such as blood pressure drugs that can do the same thing.
If you want to reduce your symptoms of GERD, avoid snacking close to bedtime. Take a look at your lifestyle and make healthy changes.
The problem with GERD isn’t only the primary symptoms but the impact it can have on the small and large bowel.
As tempting as it is, I highly recommend that you don’t take anti-reflux medications. Instead, focus on eating smaller meals, avoid trigger foods, increase your activity, and reduce your stress. In many cases, making those changes will significantly reduce your GERD.