Antacid medications (proton pump inhibitors or H2-blockers) are the mainstay of management of GERD in conventional medicine. Appropriate life-style modifications are also suggested, such as weight reduction (for obese patients), smoking cessation, stress-reduction and relaxation practices, avoidance of alcohol, caffeinated beverages, other irritating/acidic foods, etc. Surgery is advised in refractory/advanced cases1. Naturopathic and homeopathic remedies for acid reflux may be a better alternative to those experiencing side effects or seeking alternatives.
How This Helps
The conventional approach and treatment for GERD involves the use of antacids that work by changing the stomach acid pH to make it less acidic. The lower acidity level helps decrease the irritation brought on by the acid to the stomach, esophagus, or duodenum.
The use of antacids for a prolonged period can cause side effects like constipation, diarrhea, gas, belching, and swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles. Antacids likewise can affect proper nutrient absorption. Use of Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for lowering the production of stomach acid, can deplete vitamin B12 in the body. This can even more impact the nerve system and cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and vision loss.
See: LPR (Silent Reflux) Diet Treatment
The number of antacids utilized and the duration of their intake can affect the electrolyte balance in one’s body. Changes in the different electrolytes levels (like potassium, calcium, or sodium) can negatively affect muscle and nerve function in the body. In addition, aluminum-based antacids can also weaken the bones by flushing out salts like phosphate and calcium.
On the other hand, homeopathy works gently to reduce the signs of GERD and deals with the origin of the problem. Naturopathic medicine and homeopathy can be a good alternative to those who do disappoint much enhancement even after lifestyle adjustments.
Science and Research
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a multifactorial condition caused predominantly by the regurgitation of stomach contents into the esophagus. Normally, nature has provided the human esophagus with a “valve” (lower esophageal sphincter), which prevents acidic contents from the stomach from damaging the esophageal mucosa. Due to multiple factors, this “valve mechanism” is disturbed, which causes a significant return of contents from the stomach to the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation of esophageal mucosa. Such factors can be obesity, hypersecretion of acid by stomach, delayed gastric emptying, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcoholism, stress, hiatal hernia, etc.
Patients with GERD have symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, difficulty in swallowing, chest pain, etc. Prolonged untreated reflux may lead to complications like stricture of the esophagus, esophageal cancer, etc.1.
As per the theory of biochemical tissue remedies, diseases are caused by the altered state of cells2. Natrum Phosphoricum is a useful remedy in diseases caused by an excess of acidity. Important characteristics that suggest the need for this remedy are symptoms of acidity, sour vomitus/regurgitation, sour taste in the mouth, and presence of creamy coating at the back of the tongue in the morning2, 3.
See: Naturopathic Medicine For GERD
Hence a subset of patients with GERD that have symptoms like sour/acid risings, symptoms of acidity, heartburn, especially after meals, vomiting of sour contents from the stomach, etc., are benefited by this remedy.
Homeopathic remedies for acid reflux and heartburn
Natrum Phosphoricum 6x is used for acute symptoms every 1-2 hours till relief, alternating with other remedies, if required. Natrum Phosphoricum 12x or 30x can be used 1-2 times a day for a few weeks for long-standing symptoms.
Other additional remedies that may be useful in GERD are Ferrum Phosphoricum, Kali Phosphoricum, Magnesia Phosphoricum, Natrum Sulphuricum, Calcarea Phosphoricum, Silicea, etc., depending upon symptoms of the patient.
1. Diseases of the Esophagus by Peter J Kahrilas & Ikuo Hirano. In Harrison’s principles of internal medicine, 19th Edition.
2. The 12 Tissue Remedies of Schussler by Boericke & Dewey. Published by B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd, New Delhi.
3. Schuessler’s Twelve Tissue Remedies by George W Carey. Published by F. August Luyties, St. Louis.