Acid reflux or heartburn is a very common gut complaint that can lead to serious complications. Reflux occurs when some of the acid content of the stomach flows up into the oesophagus, creating a painful burning sensation in the lower chest, often after eating.
The symptoms tend to get worse when lying down. It is often accompanied by nausea, persistent cough and throat problems. Gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is diagnosed when acid reflux occurs more than twice a week. GERD affects people of all ages, often because of various lifestyle factors. Body weight, certain food, medications and pregnancy have all been linked to acid reflux and GERD. Without treatment, GERD can lead to serious heath concerns including an increased risk of cancer.
Fortunately, there are many dietary and lifestyle strategies that can be applied concurrently, in reducing the symptoms and sometimes even the cause of reflux. Recent studies have shown that certain dietary changes are as effective as medications in managing reflux. This is promising because some of the existing medications can inhibit the absorption of key nutrients and can also have downstream impacts on lower gut health. I identify as many appropriate strategies as possible to help reduce reflux symptoms so that the need for medications is reduced or eliminated altogether.