What is GERD and Could You Have It?

Man holding his chest with obvious pain in his stomach, chest, and throat.

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What is GERD and Could You Have It?

Do you frequently experience chest discomfort or pain after eating? Or maybe you’ve woken up in the night with an intense burning sensation that makes it impossible to get rest. Your first thoughts may be of panic, as you imagine that you’re going to have a heart attack.


However, heart disease isn’t the only cause of chest pain. You may be experiencing GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This condition is commonly known as “acid reflux,” causing significant discomfort and pain in the chest, intestines, and throat. 


With functional medicine, you don’t have to keep dealing with gastroesophageal reflux pain or continue taking antacids after every meal. Let’s determine if you have GERD, ways to treat GERD at home, and how to get help from a functional medicine provider.


What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into your esophagus. This backwash, which is known as acid reflux, can irritate the lining of your esophagus. Your esophagus is not able to tolerate the acid, resulting in painful symptoms. Experiencing acid reflux from time to time is normal, but GERD occurs when it happens routinely. 


Common symptoms of GERD include:


  • Burning sensation in your chest (heartburn)
  • Backwash of food or sour liquid
  • Upper abdominal or chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing 
  • The sensation of a lump in your throat


Acid reflux often occurs at nighttime, causing a cough, vocal cord inflammation, and asthma. 


What Causes GERD?

GERD isn’t the same as common acid reflux, but it can occur if you have routine acid reflux. Acid reflux happens when you have low stomach acid secretion. This is caused by a variety of factors:


  • Magnesium deficiency (most common cause)
  • High cortisol levels reducing stomach acid
  • Eating too quickly 
  • Overgrowth of H pylori bacteria found in the gut 


Having acid reflux once in a while doesn’t automatically diagnose you with GERD. However, if you’ve started to get acid reflux and your symptoms are getting worse, you may be experiencing GERD. 


If you’re beginning to experience acid reflux or other mild symptoms then consider making lifestyle changes that will prevent acid reflux from occurring, therefore reducing your risk of getting GERD. Also, try at-home remedies that may ease your acid reflux. But if that doesn’t help, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a functional medicine physician. 


How to Treat GERD

With all illnesses, there’s a root cause beneath the surface. Oftentimes poor lifestyle habits contribute to symptoms such as acid reflux. Improving habits enables the body to heal itself.


If you’re experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms that come with GERD, consider the following:


  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Elevate the head of your bed
  • Start on your left side when you go to bed to reduce the likelihood of getting reflux
  • Wait at least three hours after eating before lying down
  • Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
  • Avoid foods and drinks that can cause reflux including alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, fatty foods, or peppermint
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing that puts pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter 
  • Don’t eat while driving


Sometimes it’s simply a matter of making these lifestyle tweaks, but in some cases, it may be time to take your health to the next level. While these are common lifestyle changes that will gradually reduce acid reflux and can help you get rid of GERD, we recommend a consultation with True Life Medicine. 


Treating GERD with Functional Medicine

At True Life Medicine, we combine cutting-edge treatment techniques with a holistic, full-body approach to healing. We evaluate your personal symptoms and come up with a personalized plan to treat GERD and leave you feeling your best.


Here’s how our process works:


  • Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation so we can get to know you
  • Meet with Dr. James so he can get to know your unique health situation
  • Engage in diagnostic testing to find the root cause of your health issues (such as GERD)
  • Receive a treatment plan tailored to your health situation. 
  • Enter into a partnership with the True Life Medicine team to get support for life


Instead of prescribing over-the-counter medications that ease your symptoms, we dig deeper. What’s really causing your acid reflux or GERD symptoms? That’s the question we seek to answer through comprehensive testing, an in-depth analysis of your health, and our doctor-patient partnership. 


Whether you’ve only just begun to seek out answers or you have tried “just about everything out there,” we’re here to help. 


Schedule a Free GERD Consultation with True Life Medicine

Are you ready to live your true life? A life with energy, vitality, and without limitations?

We partner with people experiencing a variety of health issues including gastroesophageal reflux disease. We can’t wait to meet you and help you meet your health goals. You don’t have to suffer from constant pain and discomfort. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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