Updated: Oct 26, 2022
Many of my conversations about digestion and gut health centre around Acid Reflux, and the most common symptom being heartburn.
I recently ran a survey on Instagram and found:
50% of those who participated suffer from heartburn and Acid Reflux, 50% don't.
Of the 50% who do suffer from it, 100% know their triggers.
Triggers ranged from cucumber, spicy foods and coffee, to skipping meals.
Each person had entirely different triggers, there was no common trigger.
The Guts UK charity states that 25% of adults in the UK suffer from Heartburn. That's a big number isn't it - circa 17 million people!
Acid Reflux happens as a result of stomach acid regurgitating through the lower oesophageal sphincter and irritating the lining of the lower oesophagus (food pipe). Common triggers include coffee, alcohol, chocolate, tomatoes and peppermint. You're at greater risk when pregnant, if you're carrying extra weight and if you smoke. The Guts UK charity also states 15-25% of those with Hiatus Hernia will suffer Acid Reflux.
Acid Reflux during pregnancy can be down to the hormonal changes and the relaxing of the oesophagus, or simply the pressure from the size of the developing baby. Something I remember (not too fondly) from the later stages of my own pregnancy.
According to an article on Healthline, if you suffer more than twice a week you might have a condition called GERD - gastroesophageal reflux disease. In this case, I would always recommend you discuss it with your Doctor, however, where possible, and unless directed by your doctor, you can try to reduce or even remove symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. Similarly, if you find that symptoms persist most days over several weeks or have symptoms such as food getting stuck in your oesophagus, refer to your Doctor.
There are tons of over the counter products designed to help with this but in the naturopathic industry, we prefer to keep things natural where possible. We do not snub modern medicine, there is absolutely a place for that but, where possible, we make dietary and lifestyle changes first and foremost. With this in mind, what can you do about it from a naturopathic perspective?
Well, here are 6 Simple Steps to help you put out those fires:
Eat smaller portion sizes.
Eat 3 meals a day and avoid snacking.
Avoid eating 3-4 hours before going to bed.
Avoid lying down after eating (Christmas Day is the only exception ....).
Avoid cows dairy.
Try slippery elm - swallow the paste to coat and soothe the irritated area.
I would love to know more about your own experiences, thoughts and opinions on Acid Reflux and Heartburn so, if you're ready, head over to Instagram and let's chat about it - @healthstepsuk
If you're looking for a tailored approach, specifically for you, or, you already know you need one to one support with this or other digestive / gut health issues, get in touch on Instagram DM and I will tell you more about my services and packages.
Thanks for reading.
Credits and references:
Photo credit Emma Boyle Photography