An introduction to GORD as a cause of acid reflux
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a digestive disorder that affects the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS), a band of smooth muscle which links your oesophagus to your stomach. Over time, long-term dysfunction in this muscle long-term can result in GORD.
A number of factors can contribute to the development of GORD, from chronic stress, to various diet and lifestyle factors.
GORD is a chronic disorder, and if it goes untreated, it can persist relentlessly for some time. The condition is associated with a whole host of uncomfortable symptoms, including acid reflux.
Why does GORD cause acid reflux?
GORD is a condition that affects the LOS. The LOS is important as it controls what enters the stomach and, more importantly, what does, or doesn’t go back up towards your oesophagus!
If this band of smooth muscle is dysfunctional in any way, then the contents of the stomach have free reign and are able to travel back into the oesophagus, which we call acid reflux.
The oesophagus doesn’t have the same protective mechanisms in place as the stomach; therefore the strongly acidic contents of the stomach making contact with the delicate lining of the oesophagus can be quite uncomfortable.
What can I try at home for GORD?
Depending on the likely cause of the GORD, there are a number of home remedies which may come in useful:
- Consider keeping a food diary. It is thought that certain foods can have adverse effects on the LOS and weaken it over time; these can include peppermint, alcohol and caffeine to name a few. Therefore, keeping a food diary can be really useful to help with identifying trigger foods. You can then consider cutting out any foods that seem to cause up a flare up in your symptoms to see how it helps
- Change your eating habits. Eating habits could be making your symptoms worse. Rushing your food down (whilst on the move and alongside a lack of chewing), overeating, eating too close to bed time or exercise, to name a few, could all be having adverse effects in terms of your symptoms
- Look at your body weight. Excess pressure around the tummy can affect the functions of the LOS and extra weight around this area can be having an influence on this. Aim to get your BMI and waist:hip circumference within the normal limits
- Stop smoking. Smoking cgarettes can also weaken the LOS. This is most definitely a habit to give up if acid reflux and GORD is an issue.
How can natural remedies help me?
There may be some herbal remedies which can help keep GORD and acid reflux flare ups under control:
- Herbal bitters. Herbal bitters such as those in our Digestisan remedy can help support the stomach and keep indigestion and acid reflux-type symptoms at bay
- Silicol gel. This remedy is good in instances of flare ups of your symptoms. Silicol gel create a protective barrier throughout the digestive system, helping to protect your oesophagus from excess acidity.
How can my doctor help?
Firstly, it’s important to take into account any possible side effects of medication you are already on. Certain medications such as antibiotics, muscle relaxants or painkillers could cause issues with your stomach and LOS – so this is worth considering first of all.
In some cases your doctor may prescribe acid-reducing medication if they feel this is necessary, but it is always worth assessing how your symptoms progress whilst taking any prescribed medication.