Heartburn / GERD


Heartburn is a fairly common symptom that Naturopathic Medicine excels at treating. If it occurs once in a while, we can implement a protocol / guidelines you can use. However, if it occurs more frequently, it can be more serious, and attributed to Gastroesopageal reflux disease (GERD). If not treated, GERD can cause inflammation in your esophagus (esophagitis), narrow down your esophagus, as well as increase your risk for developing esophageal cancer.

Often times, your MD will prescribe you heartburn medication that will reduce your stomach acid. Once your stomach acid is reduced, your ability to absorb vitamins like vitamin B12 is reduced. This will also reduce protein breakdown as well as cause you further unnecessary bloating. Now, your stomach acid is protecting you against parasites and bacteria, so, reducing it is a big no. It is not recommended to take heartburn medications for a long term, and if you do, you are in for a lot of other concerns and complications.

Lets break it down: when you eat, your stomach acid increases and that tightens your lower esophageal sphincter (located between your esophagus to your stomach). What happens sometimes, if you have low stomach acid, your esophageal sphincter poorly closes all the way and you have food and acid going back up to your esophagus. Most likely, that is what’s causing your heartburn. Heartburn (GERD) can also be due to some other reasons, listed below.

What we want to do is, instead of reducing stomach acid, let’s optimize your digestive track.

GERD causing heartburn in chest, stomach and throat

Diagnosis

Signs and symptoms:

  • Burning / heaviness in chest
  • Worse at night or after a meal, especially when laying down on your back or on your right side
  • Some regurgitation of food is so severe you are left with acidic taste in mouth
  • Gum disease
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Laryngitis
  • Chronic cough
  • Hoarseness / voice changes
  • Sore throat
  • Phlegm in throat

GERD and heartburn are worse with fatty foods, spicy foods, chocolate, citric foods, tomato based foods, gluten, alcohol and caffeine (make sure to avoid those to avoid progression)

Diagnosis is based on symptoms however the severity of the inflammation can be checked doing an endoscopic test – gastroscopy. This procedure is done by a gastroenterologist.


Causes

  • Food sensitivities
  • Stress
  • Helicobactor pylori bacteria (H.pylori)
  • Hernia – especially hiatal hernia
  • overproduction of stomach acid
  • Not enough acid in stomach – 80% of the time patients have heartburn due to low stomach acid rather than high stomach acid.
  • Overweight / obesity
  • Improper eating habits such as eating late at night or eating too fast
  • Weakened esophageal sphincter tone
  • Pregnancy
  • Dysbiosis- see SIBO, Candida, Leaky gut, parasites
  • These are most of the common causes of GERD / Heartburn.

Heartburn / GERD Treatment

For starters, we will be removing all the heartburn causing foods. However, removing the irritants doesn’t necessarily treat GERD or address your heartburn symptoms. Through an in-depth intake, we will be able to diagnose and get to the root cause of your heartburn. Its important to treat it in order to prevent complications. Treatment composed of treating the root cause of it as well as reducing the symptoms. Dr. Tali doesn’t stop there, as healing the damages and inflamed tissue is also necessary. Therefore, maintaining a protective stomach lining as well esophagus lining is a top priority to reduce complications and risk of cancer. Also, we will address all the nutritional deficiencies that have occurred due to your GERD, as nutritional deficiencies with GERD are very common and important to fix in order to maintain a healthy lining.

Naturopathic medicine has a very thorough evidence based approach to treating GERD / heartburn. Dr. Tali uses evidence based medicine where we will go over your blood work and nutrient deficiencies. The root cause and healing the lining will be treated using nutraceuticals / supplements, herbal medicine and dietary changes. Acupuncture can also be of benefit depending on the root cause of your heartburn.

Let’s Connect

Licensed Naturopathic Doctor

Phone: 416-990-3580

Email: info@drtalitroyansky.com

Locations:

Associations

Dr. Tali Troyansky is a Naturopathic Doctor that is licensed, board certified and in good standing with The College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO). She is also a professional member of The Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND) as well as The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND). Dr. Tali completed her Doctorate of Naturopathy at The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Currently she practices in Toronto, Vaughan, Thornhill and Markham.