Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or acid reflux is a commonly prevalent disorder of the digestive system that affects 10-15 % of the population. It occurs when contents from your stomach move back into your food pipe or esophagus. There is a circular band of muscle, the sphincter, in your lower esophagus area. When you swallow food, this band opens to let food pass into the stomach. It also prevents any acidic juices and the food from moving back into the esophagus.
In the case of GERD, this band doesn’t close properly. It leads to a backflow of the food and juices into the esophagus, causing acid reflux. This constant backflow of acid irritates your esophagus lining, and it gets inflamed.
The modern day fast paced lifestyle and altered dietary habits have led to an increase in the incidence of GERD.
Ayurvedic texts have laid great emphasis on consumption of proper quantity of healthy diet (Matravata and Pathya Ahara) and following healthy dietary habits termed as Ahara Vidhi Visheshaytanaand Ahara Vidhi Vidhana. The non-adherence to these healthy dietary habits leads to many digestive disorders like Agnimandya (Weakened digestion), Ajirna(Indigestion) and Amlapitta- Parinam shola- Annadrava shooola (Acid Peptic disorders and GERD). These diseases occur mainly due to vitiation of Jatharagni and Pitta Dosha which control secretion of digestive juices and Vata Dosha which controls gut motility and can greatly hamper the quality of life if left untreated.
Irregular Meal timings, Over eating or eating very briskly, , skipping meals, eating vey late at night.
Excessive intake of junk food, fermented food, bakery products, aerated drinks, spicy, salty, oily and fried food, outdoor/street food
Regular intake of stale food, incompatible food (eg. milk with salty and sour food, milk with fish)
Excessive intake of Tea and Coffee
Vigorous physical activities or sleeping immediately after meals
Lack of exercise or sedentary lifestyle
Staying awake late at night, inadequate sleep, irregular sleep pattern
Excessive stress, anxiety, worry, jealousy, anger, fear.
Obesity, Pitta predominant Prakriti
Addictions- alcohol, smoking, tobacco chewing
Prolonged and irrational use of NSAIDS (pain killers)
Helicobacter pylori infection, Hiatus Hernia
Symptoms of GERD
The main symptom is heartburn. It is a burning sensation that you will feel below the breastbone. It usually gets worse in the night and when you lie down or bend over.
Other signs of GERD are:
Complications due to GERD
In most people, GERD does not cause any other issues. But, in some severe cases, it can lead to some serious problems. These are
• Ulcers Introduction
. Esophageal Cancer