What is GERD?
GERD is short for GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease. GERD is not a disease at all, it is a symptom for a dysfunction of the GastroIntestinal tract. Basically, GERD is a sign that there is something wrong that must be addressed.
Here is a summary.
Food is first chewed in the mouth where it is mixed with saliva which has digestive enzymes within it. Food contents, when we swallow, passes down the esophagus and then enters the stomach for the second stage of digestion.
Between the esophagus and the stomach is a one-way valve called a sphincter muscle. This valve opens to make sure to let food into the stomach and then closes to make sure that food stays in the stomach.
Knowing the steps to digestion is important to the understanding of what can cause GERD.
Pressure can build up within the stomach to push against this valve and force stomach contents into the esophagus. This will cause pain and a burning sensation. People will report that it feels as though my food is coming back up and burning my throat. This often occurs at night when we’re lying down.
Incidentally, this pressure can cause a bulging of the stomach through the diaphragm muscle creating a condition called a hiatal hernia.
Sometimes this esophageal pain can be mistaken for a heart attack and can lead to unnecessary trips to the Emergency Room.
Medications used to treat GERD can be dangerous and were designed and approved by the FDA for short term use only.
What can these drugs cause long term?
- Mineral deficiencies
- Further GI inflammation and dysfunction
- Gut infections. Remember that stomach acid is also supposed to kill invading bacteria and other organisms that may be in our food.
- Heart rhythm issues.
- Immune system dysfunction.
What is the Functional Medicine approach to GERD?
The approach of a good Functional Medicine practitioner, like any ‘CSI” agent, is to uncover the causes of this dysfunction known as GERD and then develop a plan to address them, naturally.
Most of the time, this burning or GERD is mistakenly blamed on the overproduction of stomach acid. This has been a costly mistake both in terms of money spent and time lost finding the real causes.
The symptoms for too much stomach acid and too little acid are almost the same. Too little stomach acid, which is much more common, can allow food to ferment within the stomach (because the contents stays there too long). This fermentation produces gas which causes pressure within the stomach.
All the while, the real question you should be asking yourself as well as your doctor is, “Why am I suffering from this GERD and what is really going on?
Possible causes of GERD include:
- Low stomach acid (many reasons for this)
- Poor eating habits
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Faulty functioning valves from other dysfunctions within the system
- Hiatal Hernia – upper part of the stomach pushes past the diaphragm muscle
- Overuse of antibiotics
- Some medications
As you can see, getting to the cause can take some investigation. If these causes are left alone and only the symptoms of GERD are treated, this can lead to worse health problems down the road.
GERD is relatively simple to solve with the proper testing.
Some of the tests are:
- Functional Blood Chemistry Report
- Digestive Analysis
- Food Sensitivity Analysis
Identifying the causes will help develop an effective plan of action. There are no magic potions or herbs that treat GERD. The plan will be uniquely for you since the road to this dysfunction known as GERD has been unique to you.
As the public is pounded with advertisements offering “temporary relief” of acid reflux, GERD, heartburn and related upper GI health problems, it is good to know that help is at hand.
If you are one of the millions of people suffering with GERD, I want to urge you to investigate the underlying factors that have led to your condition and get a plan to address them naturally.
Take control of your health today. Get answers and get a plan.
Here is what to expect from the Functional Medicine process.
Outlining what you can expect will decrease some of the initial apprehension and get you onto the road of improved health and vitality much faster.
After completing your initial background information, you will be sent a link to the client/doctor portal and the discovery questionnaires. This is a unique and private portal that we will communicate through. This will allow us to have a free flow of information that is both secure and well suited for this type of correspondence.
Like a good CSI agent, the Functional Medicine approach will uncover the underlying factors that have caused or are causing your present health problem(s). This is essential for getting you well and will all start with our revealing medical questionnaires.
Important to any discovery of the cause of your health problem is a good medical history.
We have carefully developed medical questionnaires that will allow us to obtain the most comprehensive and detailed history possible. Each section of the questionnaire will address a different body system to help identify where the cause may be.
You may actually appreciate the discovery process of the Functional Medicine approach since it may be the first time that you were able to tell your whole story leading to the health problem and what you think is going on as well.
Begin your healthy journey to a more vital lifestyle today. Start Here.