Lately , I've been having an increased amount of patients with Acid Reflux. Sadly, lots of children are suffering from this condition as well. One of the youngest patient in my practice is a two and a half year old girl , who has been diagnosed with Acid Reflux and prescribed heavy medications.
Lets take a look at the causes of Acid Reflux and some natural ways to relieve it.
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux disease) is a chronic inflammation of the esophagus caused by abnormal back up of stomach liquid.
Since this liquid contains acid, it's contact with the sensitive lining of the esophagus causes a burning sensation in your chest or throat.
What causes it?
There is a special muscular valve at the lower part of esophagus that prevents stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. rb>
If it doesn't work properly (opens spontaneously, or doesn't close tightly) the contents of the stomach goes up into the esophagus, causing acid reflux.
What can trigger GERD
The majority of heartburn symptoms are food and stress related.
Below are just a few examples of things that might relax the esophogeal valve or prevent it from closing tightly:
- Coffee, tea, sodas and chocolate
- Eating large meals
- Tomato-Based Foods - Pizza, spaghetti with tomato sauce, ketchup on your fries and cheeseburger, and V8 juices, will increase stomach acid.
- Citrus Fruits (Clementines, Grapefruits, Lemons, Oranges, Tangerines)
- Fatty and Fried Foods
- Peppermint tea or Candy
- Spicy Foods
Symptoms Of GERD
- One of the main symptom of acid reflux is painful, persistent heartburn -a burning sensation felt in the lower part of the mid-chest, behind your breastbone or in the throat.
- difficulty swallowing and nausea
- a persistent cough or choking
- morning hoarseness or needing to clear your throat frequently
- sometimes it irritates the voice box and/or the vocal cords, but does not cause heartburn symptoms – called Silent acid reflux.
- chronic ear aches or sinusitis
How can parents recognize Acid Reflex in children
Sometimes it's difficult to realize what's wrong with a young child.
Please pay attention if your child is having:
- persistent vomiting
- regurgitation or excessive spitting up of the food
- child may also become cranky and irritable
- in extreme cases – a child might stop gaining weight
Please consult a family doctor or pediatric doctor right away.
Ten Top Tips
1. Have smaller meals but more frequent meals . Don't skip breakfast, start your day with a wholesome breakfast, like a bowl of warm oatmeal with bran. Instead of coffee in the morning, try soothing slippery elm herbal tea. During the day have several healthy snacks of walnuts, almonds and fruits, like apples.
2. Don't eat at least 3 hours before bedtime. This will help emptying of the stomach before you go into the reclined position and will prevent the reflux.
3. Try to drink enough water each day to dilute the acid and normalize the pH balance in your stomach.
4.Avoid heartburn foods for example chocolate, greasy foods, fried foods, peppermint, spearmint, coffee, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and soda pops.
5. Reduce foods with a high level of acid that could irritate your esophagus like citrus fruits, orange juice and tomato juice.
6.Take time to eat! Paying attention on what you have on your plate and participating mindfully while eating helps to enjoy your food! Chew slowly. Digestion process starts in your mouth by producing saliva rich with digestive enzyme Amylase that breaks starch down into sugar
7. Stop smoking, because it slows down the production of saliva, stimulates the formation of stomach acid, weakens and relaxes the esophageal valve
8. Avoid taking over-the-counter painkillers or other medications until they are prescribed by your doctor as these might worsen your complaints.
9. Reduce your stress because it slows down the emptying of your stomach, which may increase heartburn. Exercise, meditate, dance, laugh!
10.Homeopathic treatment greatly relieves unpleasant painful heartburn, nicely heals
the linings of your esophagus and releases stress. The holistic, individual approach of homeopathy helps to restore your emotional and physical balance harmoniously.