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Soothing Indigestion Naturally

In Dallas and Ft. Worth, heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion can really interfere with your life. In addition to your GERD treatment plan, find ways to cope with the problem naturally.

Soothing Indigestion Naturally

Throughout the United States heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion are a growing problem. Each year Americans spend millions of dollars in an attempt to soothe the burning in their esophagus, but even with medication the lingering pain often comes back. In Dallas and Ft. Worth, heartburn and acid reflux are big concerns for a large portion of the population. And for many people, relief seems like something that will never come.

Chronic heartburn and acid reflux are generally a result of gastroesophageal reflux disease, a condition that develops thanks to a damaged lower esophageal sphincter or LES. The LES is the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus, and when it is damaged it can’t stop stomach acid from irritating the lining of the esophagus—resulting in severe heartburn, indigestion and regurgitation.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD can only be cured by anti-reflux surgery to repair the LES. However, while you are awaiting GERD surgery there are a number of natural solutions that can help you find a bit of relief from your chronic reflux.

Here are a few natural solutions that may help alleviate some of your heartburn:

  • Calcium supplements: Calcium can help prevent or reduce heartburn because it strengthens the LES valve. This is why so many people try to drink milk when they are experiencing reflux, though at that point it may not help. The calcium is not an antacid so can’t be used as a fast-acting solution. Talk to your GERD surgeon about calcium supplements that are okay for your diet.
  • Vegetables juices: Carrot juice, cabbage juice and aloe vera juice are all regarded as great nutrient sources for heartburn and acid reflux relief. These juices can sooth the esophagus and reduce the pain associated with heartburn. Aloe vera can also enhance digestive efforts which may help alleviate heartburn.
  • Mastic gum: This natural supplement is found in a Mediterranean plant called the Pistacia lentiscus, and has been turned to for years for relief from indigestion. Talk to your GERD surgeon about taking this supplement in capsule form. It is available at many health food stores throughout Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Other natural ways that you can reduce or alleviate heartburn include eating smaller meals; reduce alcohol and soda consumption and avoiding spicy foods. But before making any changes to your diet make sure to talk to your GERD surgeon about your plans.

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That’s No Allergy

Many people find themselves avoiding foods thanks to a misdiagnosed food allergy, when they could find relief from heartburn and acid reflux with transoral surgery in Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Acid reflux isn't always from a food allergy--you may need transoral surgery in Dallas or Ft. Worth

It’s estimated that about 50 percent of self-reported food allergies are incorrect. Food allergies are a complicated business, and they can take a long time to properly diagnose. Unfortunately, people who attribute certain symptoms to a food and begin eliminating foods out of fear of an allergy might be skirting around a greater health concern, like gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

Acid reflux, heartburn and general indigestion are common ailments reported among those claiming to be allergic to one food or another. However, these symptoms also can develop as a result of a medical condition, and are not always attributable to a dietary problem. While heartburn and acid reflux often develop among obese individuals and commonly affect people after they eat spicy foods or oversized meals, the symptoms can also affect healthy people when they’ve eaten nothing out of the ordinary. As we discussed in a previous blog post, reflux symptoms can even affect Olympic athletes.

Many people incorrectly attribute their heartburn and acid reflux to food allergies. While it makes sense to avoid foods that incite particularly bad bouts of heartburn, experiencing that type of reaction to those foods isn’t typical of a food allergy.

Common symptoms of a food allergy include:

  • Hives
  • Itchy skin, rash or eczema
  • Swelling around the face or tongue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea, vomiting or nausea
  • Fainting, dizziness or feeling lightheaded

The harm in misdiagnosing a food allergy is that your symptoms could be indicating a larger problem, and your assumption that the issue is a food allergy could be delaying pertinent treatment. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, making dietary adjustments will often help reduce the amount of acid reflux and heartburn you experience. Small lifestyle changes like this, however, will not completely eradicate your symptoms or resolve the issue. When GERD is the problem, the only true solution is reflux surgery to repair the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). No amount of dietary elimination will repair the LES for you.

There are plenty of people who do have legitimate food allergies, but that doesn’t mean your problems are the result of one. If you think you have a food allergy, then see a doctor. There are numerous tests that can determine if the problem you are experiencing is from dietary causes or is the result of something else.

 

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Just Breathe Acid Reflux Away

Breathing exercises can provide relief from acid reflux and heartburn, especially when coupled with transoral surgery in Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Treat heartburn with transoral surgery and a deep breath

Have you ever been told to take a deep breath after a stressful situation? It’s kind of strange advice, isn’t it? After all, were you really going to forget to breathe? Well, when it comes to finding acid reflux relief the question might not be forgetting to breathe as much as how you are breathing.

A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that breathing exercises are beneficial as a complementary treatment to reflux surgery. The focus of this study wasn’t on breathing in the nose and out the mouth, as so many deep breathing exercises are. Instead, participants were asked to focus on their abdomen as they did deep belly-breathing exercises to reduce the prevalence of GERD.

Researchers were interested in how deep breathing exercises might impact the health of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscular valve that prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus. When the LES is impaired, digestive juices can flow freely into the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining and causing irritation. Researchers were curious if diaphragmatic contractions during deep breathing exercises could impact or even benefit the LES, thus reducing acid reflux.

It’s Time to Take a Breath

We are all breathing, but sometimes we don’t breathe as deeply or fully as we should. Deep breathing exercises increase your awareness of how you are breathing and will encourage you to take fuller breaths regularly.

To try a deep breathing exercise, lie on your back and gently place your hands on your stomach. As you inhale, feel the air enter your stomach as it expands beneath your hands. Continue inhaling as long as you can and hold your breath briefly before exhaling completely. You might notice your chest moving up and down as you breathe, but do your best to push all of your air into your stomach. This is a form of diaphragmatic breathing, and it is the type of breathing that researchers say can potentially improve your heartburn symptoms.

In the study at Medical University Graz in Austria, a small sample of participants were given hour-long instruction on how to do deep breathing exercises like the one above, and were asked to continue those exercises regularly. After four weeks, those who participated in the breathing exercises experienced a 9.1 percent decrease in the prevalence of their acid reflux, while those who did not do the deep breathing exercises only experienced a 4.7 percent decrease.

Breathing exercises aren’t meant to replace GERD treatments like reflux surgery, but might complement an existing acid reflux treatment program. Those who did the breathing exercises reported an increased quality of life after four weeks, and after nine months of doing the exercises participants reported even further improvement in both their quality of life and health.

You are already breathing! Why not give a deep breathing exercise a try to see if it impacts your GERD symptoms? If you do, let us know how it goes in a comment below!

 

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Going Herbal for Reflux Relief

Use herbal remedies or reflux surgery to resolve heartburn in Dallas & Ft. WorthLong before pharmaceutical companies began patenting medicines and our reflux surgery knowledge progressed to the minimally invasive surgery and transoral surgical techniques we now rely on, people with acid reflux turned to herbal supplements to ease their pain. For thousands of years, herbal supplements were regarded as medicines and were used to treat everything, including the common cold, war wounds and of course heartburn.

As years have passed we’ve come to understand how acid reflux develops, why certain medications work better than others and why reflux surgery is often the only solution for those with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). With this knowledge comes insight as to why the herbal supplements of the past aren’t relied upon any more, but the fact that they once were so crucial to medical science gives a lot of people hope that these herbs can bring added relief to their burning esophagus now.

GERD is often caused by a dysfunctional lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve separating the base of the esophagus from the stomach. When the LES works properly, the valve opens to allow swallowed food to pass safely to the stomach, then closes abruptly. When the LES becomes damaged or weakened it might not close correctly, allowing digestive juices from the stomach to backwash out of the valve and irritate the esophagus. When a problem with the LES develops reflux surgery is the only solution, though current means of transoral surgery in Dallas and Ft. Worth make the procedure much less invasive.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an herbal supplement that will correct a dysfunctional LES. However, there is a reason these supplements were used for so many years. Certain herbs and spices have ingredients in them that can calm the stomach, provide mild anti-inflammatory benefits and even ease pain.

Herbal supplements aren’t going to cure your heartburn, but they might enhance your existing treatment plan. Here are a few ‘herbs of old’ with heartburn relief potential:

  • Barberry: This is a shrub with alkaloids that are supposed to boost immune function. Barberry extracts are also said to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Devil’s Claw: This herb is highly respected as a complementary treatment for acid reflux, as it is known to ease the stomach and lessen acidity.
  • Chamomile: A favorite tea for easing common colds and flu, chamomile is also used to treat abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, nausea and heartburn.
  • Aloe Vera: You might use aloe vera to ease sunburn, so maybe it won’t come as a surprise that the herb can sooth heartburn and treat ulcers.

Other common herbs and supplements used to treat acid reflux include bromelain (which is present in pineapples), artichokes and probiotic supplements, like those found in yogurts. Don’t add any of these supplements to your diet without first talking to your GERD surgeon.

 

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Gluten Free, GERD Free?

Can going gluten free help you stop GERD in Ft. Worth or Dallas?Those who experience the bouts of heartburn and acid reflux that are a regular part of living with gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD know the benefits of making lifestyle changes in their diet and exercise habits. Eating less acidic foods, making alterations to the amount of food you eat at one time, choosing when to dine and how soon after you eat to engage in physical activity all impact the severity of heartburn and reflux.

After getting surgical treatment like Nissen fundoplication in Dallas and Ft. Worth, many people are able to return to former habits without the interference of heartburn and reflux, but before getting surgery a lot of people cling to ideas of cure-all diets they hope might work. One of the more popular diet fads to take Dallas and Ft. Worth by storm is the gluten-free diet—a diet that was founded thanks to a gluten allergy among people with celiac disease. A small body of research has linked celiac disease and GERD, but before you swear off wheat, barley and rye it is smart to learn the ins and outs of the gluten-free and GERD connection.

Can Gluten Cause GERD?

In 2011 an article was published in Diseases of the Esophagus that outlined the findings of numerous studies, citing that a gluten free diet can control heartburn and acid reflux. One study in particular examined the effects of GERD medications on gluten-intolerant people who followed a strict gluten-free diet. The researchers found that those on the gluten-free diet responded more favorably to GERD treatment than those not following the diet. However, this study was among gluten intolerant people, and so the results aren’t necessarily relevant for those without gluten intolerance.

Only about one percent of the U.S population has celiac disease, but there are many more people who are at least mildly sensitive to gluten and unaware of their sensitivity. Since wheat is such a common part of the American diet, a lot of people feel ill without knowing what the source of the problem is.

Research regarding GERD and gluten-free diets indicates that if you are allergic or sensitive to gluten, then a gluten free diet might alleviate symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. However, if frequent heartburn has led to irritation of the esophageal lining or damage to the lower esophageal sphincter, then simply eliminating gluten from your diet isn’t going to fix the damage that has already been done. Also, if you don’t have a gluten allergy, there is little proof that a gluten-free diet will help your heartburn.

So, while a gluten free diet might help some find relief from frequent heartburn, it doesn’t work for everyone. Before making any changes to your diet it is best that you speak with your physician.

 

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Glass Half Full of Alkaline Water

Try alkaline water for heartburn and indigestion in Dallas and Ft. WorthNeither acidic nor neutral, alkaline water may just be the right pH for sufferers of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in Dallas and Ft. Worth. Heartburn, indigestion and regurgitation are just some of the irritating symptoms most people with GERD combat on a daily basis. However, new research suggests alkaline water, also known as ionized water, may help reverse the corrosive side effects of acid reflux disease. Compared to normal water which has a neutral pH of 7, alkaline water falls around 8 or more on the pH scale, or within the “alkaline” range (pH between 1.0 and 6.9 is considered “acidic”).

But what does pH have to do with GERD?

Most people aren’t aware that pH levels in the body have a great deal of influence on our overall health. Each different part of our body is associated with a different pH level and so normal bodily function is necessary for maintaining the many different pH levels in our bodies. Diet is one of the main factors that contribute to the body’s maintenance of appropriate pH levels.

Unfortunately, most American diets contain food items that can give rise to unhealthy, acidic pH levels. Not only can diet-related pH imbalance interrupt cellular functioning—excessively acidic pH can lead to the progression of severe health issues including heartburn, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Untreated heartburn resulting from high stomach acidity (pH level of 2.0) can give rise to the following complications:

  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Narrowing of the esophagus
  • Ulcers of the esophagus

Researchers have recently gained interest in determining if the different levels of acidity, particularly in sources of water, play a part in exacerbating symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux in GERD sufferers.

The Study

The research team set out to study the effects of alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 on the enzyme pepsin. Pepsin is a stomach enzyme that is often activated by acid and can lead to serious and painful reflux symptoms. While ordinary tap and bottled water had no effects on the enzyme, natural artesian alkaline water immediately inactivated the stomach enzyme pepsin in a series of laboratory studies. What’s more, the artesian water which contained natural bicarbonate appeared to be an effective buffer against acid.

The study’s findings help to shed some light on the many therapeutic benefits of alkaline water. With an 850 percent increase in reflux-related esophageal cancer since the 1970s, researchers of the study believe the American diet is still to blame. Researchers point to the tissues of the voice box in many sufferers of GERD as evidence as more often than not the damaging digestive enzyme pepsin is present. When GERD sufferers consume acidic foods and beverages, the reaction between acids and enzyme is a corrosive one. When pepsin is bound to tissue, acidic food and drink exacerbate symptoms of sore throat, hoarseness, asthma and sinusitis and may even cause cancer in some cases.

Alkaline Water for Symptoms of GERD

Water is water and no matter what your body depends on it for survival. Alkaline water will hydrate and keep your body functioning properly just as normal tap water does. However, if you’re concerned that your tap water in Dallas and Ft. Worth may be slightly acidic and possibly what’s causing your upsets with GERD, there’s no harm in trying alkaline water out to see if your symptoms improve. Alkaline water can be purchased in bottled form at many grocery stores or you can invest in a specialty filter to attach to your tap at home. In the meantime, if you’re experiencing severe chronic symptoms of acid reflux, it may be wise to speak with your reflux surgeon.

 

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Breaking Away from GERD

The benefits of biking to beat reflux

Beat GERD and heartburn with cycling and your Dallas reflux surgeon

If you suffer from heartburn, indigestion or the many other discomforts of GERD, there may not be one specific cause. Often, GERD develops as the result of many intersecting lifestyle factors that coalesce into one painful, irritating problem. Though your GERD surgeon is the only one who can reliably provide you with relief from these symptoms, addressing the lifestyle factors that contribute to your reflux can be a big help in feeling better.

Two of the most common causes of GERD, obesity and stress, may shed some light on why the condition is so ubiquitous in America. With two thirds of our populace now overweight or obese and most of us struggling to manage all the stressful factors of our daily lives, it’s small wonder that so many face the pain of heartburn and reflux each and every day.

But for those who have developed GERD as a result of weight or stress concerns, there is hope yet— exercise is a valuable tool in tackling both problems. Though exercise to fight GERD can come in just about any form, reflux patients in Dallas and Ft. Worth should consider one of the most relaxing and enjoyable workouts around when picking an exercise for reflux reduction: cycling.

Hop up on that steel horse—it’s time to break the cycle of GERD.

Riding a bike is low-impact and easy, a workout that is just as beneficial as it is accessible. Nearly anyone at any age or fitness level can ride a bike, but cycling provides a form of transportation and recreation on top of being a great workout.

Biking will help you build both lower and upper body strength while burning calories and putting less pressure on your joints than more intense, high-impact activities like running. At a leisurely pace of less than 10 miles per hour, a 240-pound person can burn over 400 calories in an hour, while pushing the pace faster will allow you to burn even more. Biking improves your circulation, which will benefit your cardiovascular health and may be particularly important to those who find themselves at a higher risk of heart problems caused by excess weight.

Research has also shown that avid cyclists may have an overall better mood and even perform better at work, proving its reliability as a stress-reducing tool. Though cycling can be done indoors, as on an exercise bike, taking your bike ride to local trails or parks can also give you the stress-busting benefits of nature, a proven asset in improving your concentration.

The Cycling Workout: Your Action Plan

Many people are drawn to biking because of how easy it is to mold to your individual needs. You can take your bike just about anywhere and at any speed. If you feel like a quick workout on the way to the grocery store, you can put a basket on the front of your bike and carry your food home with you. If you live within a reasonable distance of your office and want an alternate, active way to get to work in the morning, you can make the trip on your bike a few times a week. You can go as far, as fast and as often as you want—the choice is ultimately up to you.

Safe, accessible, malleable—cycling is one of the best exercises around to burn calories and beat stress. If you’re looking for an easy and fun way to beat GERD, try hopping on your bike more often. Pick a destination—or don’t—and ride until your heart (burn) is content.

 

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Stopping Bloating due to Acid Reflux

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a medical condition where stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. It can cause a number of varying symptoms depending on the individual and the severity of the condition. Most commonly, a person suffering from GERD experiences heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion in Dallas. However, there are a variety of other symptoms that also frequently develop as a result of the disease, including chest pain, asthma and trouble swallowing.

One symptom that frustrates many GERD patients is bloating. Bloating is caused by a buildup of fluids in the abdomen that causes an individual to carry around excess weight. There are a number of ways to prevent bloating as a result of GERD:

• Create a food diary. Bloating frequently indicates intolerance to certain foods. Use a food diary to keep track of the times you feel bloated, including what you ate.

• Take digestive enzymes. By taking digestive enzymes approximately 30 minutes before eating you can help your stomach digest food more easily by reducing gas in your digestive tract.

• Avoid gas-producing foods. Foods, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and beans produce gas, which may lead to excessive stomach bloating, particularly in people who have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

• Chew slowly. Eating slowly will prevent you from inhaling excess air when swallowing your food.

Avoid carbonated beverages. Instead, drink water alone or with your meals. Further, do not drink through a straw, which can cause you to swallow air as you drink.

• Take an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-bloating medication. Some OTC medications are specifically designed to reduce gas and bloating. Speak with your acid reflux physician about medications for your bloating that will not interfere with your acid reflux treatment plan.

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Improve Quality of Life with GERD through Simple Breathing Tips

Many patients that suffer from GERD understand the link between certain lifestyle habits and their acid reflux, especially in regards to diet and exercise. However, there is another lifestyle activity to consider—and it is one that you are doing right now. Engaging in certain breathing exercises can help ease the discomfort of gastroesophageal reflux disease and improve your quality of life with GERD. This may be a useful technique to consider if you are contemplating transoral surgery in Dallas to overcome GERD.

Your lower esophageal sphincter regulates the flow of acid from your stomach into your esophagus, the tube that leads from your mouth to your stomach. For patients that have GERD, the LES malfunctions, permitting digestive juices to wash up out of the stomach and irritate the esophagus and throat.

Breathing exercises my help to strengthen the muscles surrounding your sphincter. Researchers who hypothesized that breathing exercises might improve symptoms in patients with GERD trained 19 volunteers in the same kind of exercises that professional singers use. These abdominal breathing exercises strengthened the diaphragm, the muscle that separates your lungs from your stomach, which can assist the sphincter in keeping the flow of acid where it belongs— outside your esophagus. The best results were seen in the volunteers who were motivated to continue the breathing exercises over the long haul.

These exercises help you train the way your lungs and abdomen work together to regulate your breath. Deep, controlled breathing may be more beneficial in the long run than shallow, chest breathing in helping to improve your quality of life with GERD.

So, even if you’re not invited to sing the national anthem at the next baseball game, you can benefit from breathing exercises that strengthen your internal muscles, sphincters and other digestive components.

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Treating Indigestion in Children

Indigestion is a fairly common health condition that causes some unpleasant symptoms. One of the most frequent types of indigestion, acid reflux, occurs when digestive acids from the stomach back up into the esophagus, causing sore throat, heart burn, vomiting and other symptoms. If your child experiences these symptoms, particularly after eating, he or she may be experiencing acid reflux. Fortunately, there are effective methods for treating indigestion in Dallas.

In minor cases, prevention and home remedies can resolve indigestion in children. You may notice that your child has acid reflux after eating certain foods, such as fatty and fried foods, onions, and acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes. Try to avoid or limit these foods in your child’s diet. Taking small bites and chewing food thoroughly can also help by making food easier to digest. If your child eats before naps or bedtime, have him or her sleep propped up on an extra pillow to keep the head elevated and prevent acid from bubbling up into the esophagus. It may also help to adjust meal times so that your child is awake for two hours after eating, allowing for the food to partially digest before lying down.

If home remedies don’t take care of your child’s indigestion, it could be time to seek medical help. Your pediatrician or general practitioner may be able to prescribe treatment, or may refer you to a specialist with experience in treating indigestion in Dallas. If your child is diagnosed with acid reflux, the physician may prescribe medications or special diets to help treat the indigestion.

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