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Acid Reflux or GERD Acid Reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is caused when the valve between the esophagus and stomach becomes weak. Normally, this valve opens to allow food in and then it shuts tightly. With GERD, the valve stays open, allowing stomach acids to flow back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and many other symptoms. It leads to a condition in which the liquid content of the stomach regurgitates (backs up or refluxes) into the esophagus. If you have heartburn that occurs more than twice a week and does not get better with over-the-counter antacids, you may have GERD.


Causes

Consumption of pitta (fire) aggravating foods and foods of incompatible nature (virudh aahar) vitiates all the doshas, predominantly pitta dosha. Vitiated doshas produce heating toxins that are expelled upwards into the food pipe causing heartburn. Increased intake of tea or coffee, or oily, spicy, or fried foods aggravates pitta and leads to acidity. An aggressive nature and hyperactivity are also causal factors. Pitta is aggravated by late night work schedules, irregular eating patterns, and/or drinking alcoholic and carbonated beverages. Increased intake of painkillers and antibiotics also cause acidity and heartburn. It is caused by a failure of the lower esophageal sphincter. Hiatal hernia, which increases the likelihood of GERD due to mechanical and motility factors. A high blood calcium level, which can increase gastrin production, leading to increased acidity. Scleroderma and systemic sclerosis, which can feature esophageal dysmotility.

Symptoms
  • Chest pain and coughing
  • Heartburn
  • Pain while swallowing food/ sore throat
  • Increased salivation (also known as water brash)
  • Regurgitation
  • Nausea
Ayurvedic View of Treatment

According to Ayurveda, Acid Reflux is a result of aggravation of pitta Dosha. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor that symbolizes heat or fire. It is hot, sharp, intense, acidic and pungent in nature and is located in the stomach. Aggravated pittaleads to increase of acidic content in stomach fluids. Actually, the reflux of the stomach's liquid contents into the esophagus occurs in most normal individuals. In such patients, refluxed liquid contains acid more often due to aggravated pitta, which leads to acid reflux.

The diagnosis of GERD is usually made when typical symptoms are present. Other investigations may include esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). Barium swallow X-rays should not be used for diagnosis. Esophageal manometry is not recommended for use in diagnosis, being recommended only prior to surgery.

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