Reflux & Heartburn
Esophageal Reflux - Heartburn, Indigestion Heartburn afflicts 44% of Canadians & American non-ulcer dyspepsia afflicts 20-40%.Swallowed food descends through the chest in the esophagus into the stomach. Pain in the central chest may come from an inflamed esophagus. This pain is often burning in quality but may also be a severe ache, suggesting a heart attack.
A hiatus hernia may show up on the x-ray, but treatment with diet revision will often help or resolve the problem. Many patients who benefited from proper diet revision have reported that their heartburn and indigestion only returns when they eat the wrong foods - this food intolerance may last for many years.
Here are the basic principles:
The gastrointestinal tract is a sensing, reactive device which monitors the material flowing through it. Symptoms arising from this system provide information about its dysfunction. Seven basic symptoms alert the patient to gastrointestinal tract displeasure with food choices - nausea, heartburn, vomiting, bloating, pain, constipation and diarrhea.
Further down in the stomach, a surface reaction results in upper-middle abdominal pain and nausea; sometimes vomiting is triggered-a defensive reflex which gets rid of the offending food and usually relieves the pain. Some patients induce vomiting to avoid discomforts after eating.
Recurrent irritation in the upper GIT is food-caused until proven otherwise.
Obviously smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, coffee and teas are the first problems to eliminate, but surface "allergy" to common, "normal" foods may also be responsible. Symptoms from the upper digestive tract are often associated with lower abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. A trial of diet revision can provide prompt relief. If the clearing diet is unsuccessful, further investigation is always required.
Self Treatment of Symptoms
Self-therapy of milder symptoms - dyspepsia and early ulcer-like symptoms consists of retreating to Alpha Nutrition Phase 1 foods, using brown rice instead of white rice with the option of taking tagamet or zantac as recommended by the manufacturer. Remember that the bedtime dose is very important because your stomach will spend 8 hours or more in a near-empty condition vulnerable to the action of accumulating acid.
Phase 1 of the Alpha Nutrition should be sustained for 2 weeks or until all symptoms are gone and then food is reintroduced using the medium track - foods from Phases 2 and 3 are reintroduced next. If adequate diet revision does not resolve symptoms promptly and/or prevent recurrent gastritis or ulcers, you need medical assessment and treatment.
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