One of the most common chronic issues we face at our clinic is GERD. Clients come to us complaining of heartburn, bloating, feeling nauseated at times (especially when lying down), gas that feels trapped in the abdomen, general uneasiness, and in some cases, a fear of eating altogether, as the burning and discomfort that follows eating can frighten a person enough to give up food.
In fact, I've seen people who've had GERD and were not even aware of it, since heartburn wasn't one of their symptoms, and is the primary complaint for those with GERD. One of my clients had only one symptom - a change in voice. He was a recreational singer and over the months had noticed his voice becoming hoarse. It got to a point where he stopped singing and reduced talking in general, for fear that he would completely lose his voice. His physicians never tested for GERD and gave him little treatment with no effect. At our clinic, our exam showed a state of high pitta and through further observations, we concluded his condition to be amlapitta. After 90 days on our protocol he recovered 90% of his loss of voice, and prevented further symptoms and damage from occuring.
Excessive secretion of acids in the stomach is known as hyperacidity. Heartburn is often experienced in the area of the lower chest due to the reverse ﬂow of acid from the stomach to the food pipe. Acid reﬂux is the name given to this condition. In case reﬂux happens more than twice in a week, then a diagnosis of gastroesophageal reﬂux (GERD) is given.
Symptoms of hyperacidity
Pain in stomach and chest
Ulcers in stomach
Low weight and rejecting food are acidity symptoms in children
Causes of hyperacidity
Medicines: Prolonged consumption of some medicines, particularly one with anti- inﬂammatory properties can cause hyperacidity
Alcohol: Besides damaging liver, alcohol can create hyperacidity problems
Diet: A key factor in causing hyperacidity is the consumption of spicy, oily and fried foods which can cause hypersensitivity to develop
Smoking: Hyperacidity can also be caused by heavy smoking
In Ayurveda, hyperacidity resembles amlapitta. Pitta is vitiated by the imbalance of Agni (digestive ﬁre). Amlapitta has two types:
Urdhvaga amlapitta: pitta movement upwards
Adhoga amlapitta: pitta movement downwards
Treatment of hyperacidity
According to Ayurvedic treatment, mainly the diet must be controlled, and medicines are prescribed to correct the vitiated pitta. For the chronic hyperacidity patients, panchakarma therapies like virechana and vamana are suggested according to the severity. For minimizing stress, yoga and meditation are highly effective and are advised in all cases. This is an important part of the protocol as stress is one of the major causes of hyperacidity.
Some of the Ayurvedic herbal formulations that we use at our clinic are:
Lavan bhaskar churna
In some cases, symptoms of reflux can be caused by having too little stomach acid. Your Ayurvedic Practitioner can help determine if this is the case. The formulation may change if the case is low stomach acid.