Do you frequently experience burning pain in the chest, especially after eating? You may have acid reflux, a condition that impacts an estimated 20% of Americans. Unfortunately, acid reflux is more than just uncomfortable; it can also compromise your gut health.
Here, we’ll explore how acid reflux affects the gut, and what you can do about it.
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux (also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) is a common condition that causes a burning pain in the chest, often called heartburn. It occurs when the muscle at the entrance to the stomach doesn’t close properly when food moves through it. This allows stomach acid to travel into the esophagus.
Other possible symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Regurgitation of sour liquid or food into the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- The sensation of having a lump in your throat
How Does Acid Reflux Impact the Gut?
Acid reflux has been linked to gut dysbiosis, the term used to describe an imbalance in the bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract. One reason behind this link is that gut dysbiosis can cause acid reflux. In this case, GERD is a symptom of a larger issue happening in the body, such as leaky gut syndrome.
This connection can work both ways, as stomach acid can contribute to inflammation of the gut lining. This inflammation may trigger uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, including constipation and diarrhea.
Additionally, medications used to treat acid reflux can cause an imbalanced gut. These medications, known as PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), have been found to significantly impact the gut microbiome with chronic use, potentially leading to small intestinal bacteria overgrowth.
If you suffer from acid reflux, the team at The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine is here to help. We’ll develop a personalized treatment plan that relieves your symptoms while protecting your gut. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!