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(Article) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

 

Lee Mei-Lan,Physician

We often see many patients being troubled by gastric problems and one of the commonly seen diseases is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). There is a significant increase in the phenomenon of GERD as compared to other diseases, possibly due to more westernized food and the hectic and stressful pace of life. The cause behind GERD is due to the abnormal relaxation or opening of the lower esophageal sphincter (cardia) at the bottom of the esophagus, causing reflux of the stomach contents in which related symptoms of esophageal irritation are seen.

 

Typical symptoms such as heartburn (as if there is a fire burning inside), acid reflux and regurgitation which cause discomfort in the throat as if there is something coming out from there. GERD is especially related with mood. For example, under extreme stress, some people will eat food to relieve stress, especially sweet food, or having a loss in appetite. TCM believes that when there is extreme stress, there will be liver qi stagnation, which can affect digestion of the gastrointestinal system and if severe, lead to gastric pain, acid reflux, nauseous and vomiting.

 

One should understand the reason behind gastric acid before treating. The treatment can be done by TCM acupuncture in complement with regular oral administration of Chinese medicine, which helps to strengthen the spleen and stomach, soothe the liver and regulate Qi, clearing stagnant food in the gastrointestinal system for the recovery of normal gastrointestinal function. This will improve the symptoms of GERD significantly and also improve complications such as nighttime GERD occurrence.