Heartburn is a condition that appears in 10-20% of the western population. It develops when the contents of the stomach refluxes into the oesophagus and leads to troublesome symptoms and/or complications.
You may be experiencing heartburn as a burning sensation that rises from the stomach or lower chest up towards the neck. It generally gets worse after eating.
While antacids can provide prompt relief they do not address the underlying issue.
Other signs of reflux:
- Chronic cough
- Bad breath
- Dental erosions
- Chronic laryngitis
Symptoms of heartburn might be easy to identify but contributing factors can include:
Food allergy and intolerances
Imbalances in gut bacteria
Slow gastric emptying
Impaired saliva function
Lower oesophageal sphincter incompetence
Common foods can trigger heartburn by increasing acid secretion as well as causing the lower oesophageal sphincter to relax.
Focusing on foundational eating practices is the starting point to help reduce incidences of reflux.
These include taking time to eat and chewing food adequately as well as not eating food too near bedtime. Further to this analysis of your diet for triggers and investigating the possible causes (outlined above) are all areas for attention.
The foundation of the approach is to identify underlying issues, remove factors that are deemed to be worsening symptoms, and promote a balanced response.
The therapeutic aims are to;
Decrease oesophageal inflammation
Promote oesophageal healing
Address exacerbating factors
Promote antioxidant defenses
Improve salivary gland function/
Oesophageal acid clearance
Support gastric emptying
Support the central nervous system