Acid reflux - most people have heard of it but do you actually understand what it is? And that you can actually get some relief?
Reflux occurs when the sphincter at the top of the stomach which should close after food enters and remain closed does not close all the way. After food enters the stomach proton pumps which are located all around the stomach lining, release gastric juices which are needed to breakdown food. If the sphincter doesn’t close then acid from the stomach rises up into the oesophagus and can cause damage.
When it only happens on occasions it is usually just a bit of reflux and that’s ok, however when it happens continuously and impacting on your life it could be Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or could potentially end up as oesophageal cancer which often doesn’t have any symptoms and it is because of this that diagnostic investigations are important.
There can be a number of symptoms that indicate reflux such as heartburn, indigestion, food coming up the oesophagus or as one of my patients calls it a ‘verp’ (vomit/burp). You can have bad breath, nausea, the thought of food makes you sick, breathing problems, and even excessive burping as well as erosion of teeth, bloating or a long term cough.
So you’ve noticed that you have some of these symptoms and you end up at the Drs to find out what is going on. What happens next? For the majority of people your symptoms are listened to and you are given a prescription for a proton pump inhibitor and you are sent on your way. Some people may get further investigations such as an endoscopy to see what the extent of damage is. Majority of times these come back with no findings or maybe just a bit of inflammation however, on some occasions which is the reason to get this investigation, it may show that there is in fact oesophageal cancer present.
If the investigations show no findings then you may be told to make some lifestyle changes or go on a FODMAPs diet and that is it.
After maybe 1 year or 10 years or even 30 years later with little to no relief, you have finally had enough and end up in my clinic.
Here I explain to you what is actually going on.
Contrary to popular belief and what you may be told by Drs and TV advertisements and Pharmaceutical companies, the symptoms that come from acid reflux are actually not from too much acid in the stomach but the opposite, not enough acid. It’s called hypochlorhydria. Taking tablets for reflux actually does decrease the acid levels in the stomach BUT altering the ability of the upper digestive system to do its job can have a great impact on the lower digestive system leading to long term effects like IBS. Your acid levels in your stomach are your first line of defence against things like viruses, bacteria and parasites.
Why do you think we use vinegar to clean around the house? It gets rid of bacteria and viruses because its pH is very close to that of stomach acid.
It is important to understand that as you age your acid levels in your stomach naturally decrease and then when you add in proton pump inhibitors you have little to no defence left.
In these unprecedented times there are many investigations happening all over the world to give us the best defence against viruses and over the years there have been many investigations into other areas.
Every day I help people repair their digestive system and make huge changes in symptoms and I can help you get some relief too. I get to the bottom of what is going on with you in the first place as well as what nasties have been let into your body and are wreacking havoc because of the low levels of stomach acid.
I use my own compounded powders and herbal tinctures to help you on your health journey. I have had so much success working with reflux over many years and would love to help you too.
Who am I?
I am a Bachelor qualified Naturopath who specialises in improving metabolic processes in the body and reducing metabolic inflammation. Major areas for improvement include gut health, thyroid, kidney, liver, weight loss and mental health. Conditions such as fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, irritable bowel conditions, depression & anxiety. I help my patients by giving them symptomatic relief while working on repairing the underlying causes of metabolic stress and waste accumulation.
Melissa Callaghan ND, BHSc, BTeach
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