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.