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Gastroesophageal reflux is a rather common condition that we all experience from time to time. It refers to the upward flow of digestive juices or acids that escape from the stomach to travel up to the esophagus. This is quite common after eating meals, but it may be problematic and indicative of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, when this becomes a common occurrence. Home remedies for GERD or acid reflux can help to relieve the symptoms, but you need to seek medical attention, as it treatment could vary depending on the underlying cause.
What is GERD?
Under normal circumstances the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a muscle band, acts like a one way valve, preventing the upward flow of undigested food and digestive juices, while allowing food or fluids to pass into the stomach. If there is a problem with the functioning of the sphincter or if there is damage to it, the contents of the stomach tend to escape and rise up into the esophagus. Because of the acid content of these digestive juices, the condition is also referred to as acid reflux.
For most of us acid reflux is mainly a problem because of the annoyance and discomfort experienced, as food or fluid can be tasted towards the back of the mouth. This can be a rather distasteful and unpleasant experience to say the least. For some individuals however it may be more than just unpleasant as the acid content of the digestive fluid can cause irritation to the lining of the esophagus. This results in a burning sensation that is described as heartburn and is one of the main symptoms of GERD. While occasional episodes of acid reflux and heartburn may not warrant any concern, frequent episodes, such as more than twice week, can be described as GERD. Although GERD is not a very serious health condition, it can pose some serious health risks if neglected.
GERD can affect people of any age group or sex, but it is more prevalent among older individuals. Treatment for GERD is usually quite effective and to a large extent, the condition can also be controlled with lifestyle and diet changes and natural GERD remedies. The effectiveness of natural treatment will however depend on the severity of the problem and the underlying cause.
Symptoms of GERD will cause some of these symptoms, The condition is most likely present if you experience any of these symptoms on a frequent basis, such as at least twice in a week.
The most common sign of GERD is persistent or recurrent heartburn:
The causes for GERD are not completely clear, because of the combination of factors and circumstances that can lead to the development of the condition. In most people who suffer from GERD the functioning of the sphincter is impaired, as it relaxes even while the rest of the esophageal apparatus is functioning. In some cases the problem may be attributed to physical abnormalities lie the presence of a hiatal hernia. This is a condition in which part of the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter rise above the diaphragm; whereas normally the diaphragm would help the sphincter contain the stomach acids. Acid reflux is a common problem for patients afflicted with hiatal hernia, and may result in GERD. Hiatal hernia can afflict anyone, but is more prevalent among adults past the age of fifty.
There are other factors too that could contribute to the development of GERD and these include:
Remedies for GERDGERD natural remedies can help to control the condition by providing relief from the symptoms or by lessening their severity. Lifestyle changes can also help to control the condition to a large extent. There are no natural cures for GERD however, as no home remedy for GERD can reverse damage to the esophagus or correct structural abnormalities. The use of natural treatments in combination with conventional treatment can help greatly however.
Diet for GERDAlthough your diet is unlikely to be responsible for the condition of GERD, following GERD diet can be a lot more beneficial than trying out any gastroesophageal reflux disease home remedy. This is because the food you eat and your eating habits have a direct bearing on the severity of symptoms and frequency with which they occur.
Suggestion for GERDLifestyle modifications are an essential aspect of treatment and self care to manage and cope with the symptoms of heartburn. They can have as significant an effect on the condition as does your diet: