Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as chronic acid reflux or heartburn, is a problem encountered by millions of people worldwide. It occurs when stomach acid flows upward through the esophagus, which is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach.
This stomach acid can irritate your esophagus, and cause a burning sensation in your chest and the sensation of a lump in your throat. While it isn’t dangerous in itself, long-term GERD can cause chronic pain as well as other serious health issues. Below, we’ve compiled five facts about GERD in order to help our readers understand this disease better.
- Why It Happens
While it would be great to pinpoint why exactly GERD happens, the truth is that we don’t know exactly. AboutGERD.org simply says that GERD happens when the lower esophageal sphincter is somehow compromised, and unable to stop the backflow of stomach acid properly.
Common triggers of acid reflux include alcohol, spicy foods, raw onions, garlic, and much more. People with GERD should also avoid consuming caffeine, carbonated beverages, and tomato-based foods, as these can exacerbate the symptoms.
- How Many People Are Affected
According to research published in scientific journal Nature, the prevalence of GERD varies from region to region. It’s estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide suffer from GERD in one form or another. Several risk factors in a population can increase this rate, including gender, BMI level, age, and lifestyle choices like smoking.
- Does Cannabis Help?
Because GERD can be a long-term, and often painful disease, it’s common for people to turn to natural remedies to help ease the symptoms. One popular question is whether cannabis, which has many medicinal properties, works as a treatment for GERD.
Our previous article on the Great Lakes Ledger goes into detail on this, but simply put there is evidence that cannabis could help, although further research is needed. A study found that cannabis can reduce the relaxation of the esophageal sphincter, which is the mechanism that causes acid reflux.
- Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help?
Apple cider vinegar is another popular remedy when it comes to digestive issues. When it comes to GERD, however, ACV might not be quite as effective as hoped. An article on acid reflux by Brightcore notes that there are no scientific studies proving that ACV can be an effective treatment for GERD.
However, there are a few theories that point to a possible solution. Over-the-counter and prescription medication can decrease your stomach acid, which causes other problem. Diluted apple cider vinegar may help restore the balance in your stomach acid. Ironically, taking too much might worsen your acid reflux. Brightcore recommends taking it in a less acidic form, such as ACV gummies.
- What Is the Best Solution to GERD?
There isn’t a cure-all for GERD, but there are ways to manage your symptoms and hopefully lessen them over time. Harvard Health Publishing lists 9 tips for managing GERD without medication. These include eating slowly, avoiding certain foods and carbonated drinks, and even standing up after eating to help gravity do its work.
Research on GERD hasn’t yet been able to pinpoint its exact causes, so in the meantime lifestyle changes are in order. Adjusting your diet and paying attention to your body’s responses to food or activity are often the most reliable methods for ensuring that your heartburn isn’t as painful or frequent.
Tiesha loves to share her passion for everything that’s beautiful in this world. Apart from writing on her beauty blog and running her own beauty channel on Youtube, she also enjoys traveling and photography. Tiesha covers various stories on the website.