treatment for acid reflux

Learn about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux as a symptom and other stomach problems. Stomach and digestive difficulties have become a growing problem in developed countries, with 10-15% of people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome alone!

What are IBs and acid reflux?

Stomach and digestive difficulties have become a growing problem in developed countries, with 10-15% of people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome alone. It can be normal to have an upset stomach after encountering a new environment, new foods or going through stressful periods; but when this becomes chronic it is a sign of something more serious. When there are issues with the digestive system, at any age, this can lead to avoiding certain foods, difficulty travelling, reduced socialising and even malnutrition. This is especially concerning for children and teens who are still learning and growing.

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why does acid reflux happen?

Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES)

Acid reflux, also known as heartburn, happens when stomach acid flows up the esophagus (the tube connecting your mouth and stomach). A ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is responsible for preventing acidic stomach contents from flowing back up the esophagus. When the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle fails to close all the way, or opens too often, it will allow stomach contents to be regurgitated back into the esophagus, resulting in heartburn.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

  • Heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest
  • Discomfort or pain in the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food 
  • Lump in your throat 

There are many reasons that stomach issues leading to acid reflux or heartburn may start. This could be due to the foods you eat, certain medications you consume, diseases you contract, bacterial or viral infections, or stress. Stress is one of the biggest contributing factors in developed countries. No matter the cause, the body will usually correct and fix the problems fairly quickly. However, the symptoms can persist and become chronic, producing acid reflux as a symptom or being diagnosed as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

There is no established cure for IBS, it has an unknown understanding of how it works so can be very hard to treat.

 

What causes the symptoms of IBS?

The symptoms are caused by imbalance of the chemicals produced by the body. These include the acids in the stomach and bases produced by other organs. These chemicals break down our food for digestion and destroy anything that might be harmful to us, such as viruses. But when the body isn’t functioning properly there are imbalances in the chemicals of the stomach and digestive system. If the chemicals are out of balance in the wrong areas, the acidity may increase. This damages the body and causes symptoms, like pain, diarrhoea, gassiness and bloating

Research suggests the cause may be due to a breakdown in communication between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract. The brain controls the digestion, regulating when the acids are released and controlling motility. Therefore the CAUSE may be rooted in the nerve system. By correcting this problem the stomach can have a full recovery.

IBS and other stomach issues are usually a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other more serious diseases are ruled out first.

 

GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISEASE (GERD)

If you find yourself experiencing acid reflux symptoms more than twice a week, you may have acid reflux disease, or commonly known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Factors such as ageing, pregnancy, obesity, smoking and over-eating may increase your risk of getting GERD. Hence, if you find yourself experiencing symptoms of GERD, you may require a combination of over the counter medications and lifestyle changes.

Common causes of Gastroesophageal reflux disease are:

  • Lying down after eating large meals
  • Obesity 
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen
If GERD is left untreated, the esophagus’ persistent exposure to stomach acid may lead to long-term complications such as Esophagitis or Barrett’s esophagus. Esophagitis occurs when the lining of the esophagus becomes inflamed, resulting in irritation, bleeding and the formation of ulcers. Similarly, the repeated exposure to stomach acid can seriously damage the cells and tissues lining the esophagus increasing the chances of cancer cells developing.
 

Symptoms of GERD

People with GERD may experience heartburn and regurgitation.

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation 
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Blood stools and vomit
  • Nausea
  • Wheezing/Dry Cough/Sore Throat

Treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI)

The most popular treatment for GERD is taking proton pump inhibitors. PPIs help to control acid production by lowering stomach acid levels, which reduces acid reflux into the esophagus and the subsequent heartburn. However, though proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole and pantoprazole are effective in inhibiting acid production and countering GERD symptoms, they may cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea and headache.

Triggers for IBS and Acid reflux

While the causes are usually an accumulation of factors, there are some more recognised risk factors for stomach pain, IBS and acid reflux patients:

1. Stress

Stress plays a big factor for most IBS and stomach pain patients. When stressed the brain is working harder on mental and emotional tasks. With this reduced capacity, there is less focus on maintaining the body in its healthy balance, including regulation of stomach acids, healing digestive lining and maintaining proper nerve function.

2. Foods & Allergies

Certain foods, while not causing stomach problems, can be triggers for people. Commonly this includes sodas, sugar, coffee, spicy foods, fatty food and dishes heavy with spices.

3. Medications

Certain prescriptions can trigger stomach problems, especially diarrhoea and constipation. These include anti-depressants, anti-biotics and medications containing sorbitol.

 

How is it diagnosed?

The current diagnosis for stomach problems can be vast. Doctors may take blood work, perform biopsies, scopes , MRI’s, CT scans, barium enemas and many other tests. Medical Doctors will base their testing on the symptoms you present with and do their best to exclude any serious pathologies. However, there are still many cases which aren’t diagnosed and patients continue to suffer.

 

Current treatment for stomach problems

Treatment for stomach problems will be dependent on the diagnosis. However, if a specific diagnosis cannot be determined (such as polyps or H-pylori) the ‘blanket condition’ IBS may be given. 

 IBS is a syndrome. A syndrome, in medical terms, is a set of signs and symptoms correlated to a condition or set of condition. But this correlation doesn’t not show true cause, and syndrome are typically conditions which we have not determined an exact cause for, so therefore have not yet established an exact treatment.

Therefore many the treatment for acid reflux as a symptom, IBS and other stomach problems is a trial and error process. 

 

How can chiropractic help ibs and acid reflux?

Chiropractors focus on the nerve system. Upper Cervical specific Chiropractors specialise in the bones in the top part of the neck, known as the Occiput, Atlas and Axis. This is the location of the brainstem, one of the main control centres for the digestive system. This area relays the information the brain sends to the stomach about how to heal and function normally. 

Chiropractic patients commonly report improvements in digestive issues, from IBS to GORD (Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease). Upper Cervical care has had particularly great success with stomach issues due to the removal from pressure on the brainstem, which may be preventing proper healing; with patients reporting a reduction in symptoms and medication (learn about Other Conditions We Help, here).

At Vitality Chiropractic we specialise in Upper Cervical care. We are the first to bring this technique to South East Asia and the only clinic in Singapore. We use unique computed infrared thermography nerves scans and bio-mechanical x-rays to accurately diagnose the problem and provide treatment for stomach problems.

 

Our Doctor, Dr Shaan, has undergone post-graduate work, years of experience and has a history of helping patients to correct their nerve system . Click Here to Read Reviews or Hear Testimonials from our patients.

 

Call 8438 9550, email help@vitalitychiropracticcentres.com or fill in your information below to book your appointment.

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