Do you suffer from frequent heart burn??? Does it interfere with your daily activities, and even your sleep??? If the answer is “yes”- Beware, it could be GERD, a condition which if ignored for long, can lead to some very serious medical conditions or emergencies.
So here we are going to discuss all the aspects of this disease including the Ayurvedic approach to it and some home remedies to alleviate your symptoms.
More commonly called as the Acid Reflux Disease, it’s a condition which has become common nowadays, especially in the Middle-east, mostly because of the eating habits and increasing stress. How many of you skip your breakfast every day?? How many of you are so stressed at your work, that you even skip your lunch??? Hope you got a basic idea about your diet.
With the nightmare called “recession”, stress is obvious to attack anyone. And the body part which is most often affected by stress is your gut.
As per the ancient science of Ayurveda, the trigger to any disease is always one, and that is the disturbance in the component called the “Agni”, which is responsible for carrying out the digestion and eventually providing the essential nutrients to the body. This is a concept backed up by Hippocrates.
“All diseases begin in the gut.” – Hippocrates
1. So, what is this GERD?
Well, it stands for “Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease”. There is a muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter (valve), found between your stomach and esophagus. This muscle should close after food goes into your stomach and stay closed when you are not eating. That sphincter mechanism is lost in GERD, and due to the weakness in that muscle, the contents in your stomach has a tendency to backflow into the oesophagus.
In the long run it erodes the tissues of the oesophagus, causing wounds, worsening the situation even more.
2. Looking from Ayurvedic perspective
In the ayurvedic perspective, it can be co-related to a condition called “amlapitta”, which occurs mainly due to aggravation of vata(especially prana and udana vayu) and pitta(especially pachaka pitta).
The vata is the entity in your body which is responsible for all kinds of movements of and inside the body. Pitta on the other hand is the entity which regulates the metabolism etc. So the gravity defying movement of the gastric contents and the weakness of the sphincter can be attributed to the aggravated vata, and the increased production of digestive acids in the stomach can be attributed to the increased pitta.
3. Now let’s have a look at some of the symptoms of GERD.
· Heartburn– often the most common symptom seen.
· Regurgitation– the appearance of refluxed fluid in your mouth. Frequent regurgitation can lead to tooth decay.
· Bloating/ fullness– associated with loss of appetite. Feeling full after eating even a very small amount of food.
· Abdominal pain– often seen in chronic cases.
· Sour belching– frequent burping often another common symptom of acid reflux.
· Chest pain– a misleading symptom. It’s often mistaken for cardiac cause or heart attack.
4. Who are at risk?
· Eating certain foods- food with high fat content, fried foods, chocolate, spicy foods etc.
· Some medications- certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline and pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
5. Strategies to win the war against GERD
· Exercise– Can aid digestion and reduce stress helping to alleviate GERD Symptoms.
· Diet– Common triggers such as fatty or fried foods, tomato sauce, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, and caffeine may make heartburn worse. Avoid foods you know will trigger your heartburn.
· Nutrition– Low fat and high protein diet.
6. Now what can be done in Ayurveda about it?
There are 3 aspects to our treatment
· Diet– Plan a diet which is suitable to your body constitution and based upon your present condition.
· Daily routine– identifying the triggering activities in your daily life and bringing changes accordingly.
· Medication– This part of the treatment is most important and focused on bringing back the digestion to normalcy and ensuring proper movement of vata in the body. Besides these, based upon the state of tridoshas, shodhana therapies can be incorporated.
Bringing the digestion back on track will prevent further damage and also promotes healing of the eroded areas of your gut.
7. Finally some home remedies for symptomatic relief:
· Eat bananas. It’s both cold in potency and also helps mucous production in the stomach preventing tissue damage due to stomach acids.
· Chewing 5-6 basil leaves during an episode of heartburn gives relief. Cloves also have the same effect.
· Drinking cold milk with a tsp of ghee is good. It’s better not to add sugar.
· Water boiled with fennel or cumin seeds or even mint leaves is a good remedy for GERD.
8. Some changes in postures while lying can also bring some relief.
· Elevating your head about 6-7 inches by using pillow but make sure you are comfortable in that position.
· Sleep on your left side. In this position your oesophagus will be in a higher level than the stomach thereby decreasing the chances acid reflux.
Always remember that these remedies only give you symptomatic relief. If the condition has been there for a long time or symptoms occurs more than twice a week, it’s always better to see a doctor and get treated, before it gets too late.
Hope you enjoyed the post. Do like and share it and feel free to share your views and queries in the comment section. Take care….