Reflux occurs when stomach acid and/or bile flows into the esophagus, often causing symptoms such as a burning sensation in the chest, regurgitation, heartburn, and belching.
Pharmaceutical medications used to manage reflux can effectively reduce symptoms, however, long-term use of these medications can have significant side effects. A common class of medications prescribed for reflux are called PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). Evidence suggests that patients taking PPIs for more than 6 months were at risk of vitamin B12 and calcium deficiencies. Furthermore, long-term use of PPIs is associated with an increased risk of hip fractures due to calcium deficiency.
A natural approach to managing reflux not only addresses the underlying cause, but also removes the risk of nutrient deficiencies and other common side effects associated with the use of medications.
Herbal medicines are effective in providing symptom relief, and avoidance of certain foods and drinks can help to reduce reflux episodes. Mindful eating practices can help to enhance salivary gland function and thus improve esophageal acid clearance.
As well as addressing dietary and lifestyle behaviours to improve symptoms and reduce episodes, our Naturopaths can prescribe certain herbal medicines that are effective in soothing, healing and reducing inflammation in the lining of the esophagus (a common occurrence in reflux). It is also important to improve the tone of the smooth muscle found in the lower esophageal sphincter (LOS) – the LOS allows the passage of food into the stomach and also prevents the reflux of gastric contents back into the esophagus. Patients with reflux have been found to have poor LOS tone, and therefore improving the tone of the smooth muscles in the LOS can help to reduce reflux episodes.
As you can see, there are multiple angles from which reflux can be managed naturally. Rather than relying on medications, we assist clients in reducing symptoms through dietary and lifestyle modifications, addressing the cause (supporting optimal digestive processes and improving LOS tone), and promoting the healing of damaged esophageal tissue.
We welcome all new clients to book in for a free 15-minute discovery call, where you are able to ask questions and understand what treatment may look like for you. Phone (07) 5458 4800 to speak to our friendly reception team.