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Healing GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

Sally, 48, often felt a burning pain in her upper abdominal area after eating and received a diagnosis of GERD. After visiting  a gastroenterologist where she was told that it had nothing to do with her diet and she needed to be on a proton pump inhibitor indefinitely, (PPI), she scheduled an appointment with me. She felt there had to be a better way and she was correct!

GERD, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the epigastrum, or the upper abdomen. It can occur during, or several hours after eating. GERD can cause severe pain and many GERD patients have mistakenly thought they were having a heart attack because the pain can radiate to the chest area. GERD can increase during pregnancy or from conditions such as a hiatal hernia. While GERD is not necessarly present with a peptic ulcer, many patients have symptoms of an ulcer so that is something that should be ruled out. In some people a bacteria called H. pylori has been found to be present in the digestive systems of people with GERD.

A holistic approach to treating GERD usually includes functional medicine testing such as Food Allergy Testing as well as stool and H. Pylori testing. Ruling out SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) which can sometimes have crossover and similar symptoms is also important. There are many different conditions that may cause the symptoms of GERD and having proper treatment is informed by doing the functional medicine testing so you can have an accurate diagnosis.

If for some reason you can’t get in to see a doctor soon enough, there are a few safe things that you can try that are simple enough and available over the counter. Deglycerinated licorice. Licorice root (Glycerrhyza glabra) which is not the candy, coats and soothes the mucous membranes of the stomach and the digestive tract, Not only can it be useful for pain relief, but it is also helpful for healing the mucous secreting cells of the stomach and the upper digestive tract. You can often find it in a chewable or a powder form and it is a well known herbal remedy for GERD, ulcers, gastritis and other conditions of the upper GI.

  1. Avoiding gluten. Gluten, for some reason, really does a number on the GI tract, including the lower GI tract in conditions such as Celiac disease and colitis. However, you may not have celiac, but be gluten sensitive, and still have digestive trouble (or other inflammation of your joints, brain fog, fatigue and other ills) and GERD is definitely one of the triggers. Gluten may not even come up on a food allergy panel because its reaction in the body is complex. Some researchers and clinicians even postulate that the glyphosates that are used as an herbicide for weed control (Roundup) are what is causing a lot of the health conditions that people are having with gluten. But we don’t really know yet what the real cause of the issues are. We do know that many people with GERD find relief once they remove gluten from their diet.
  2. Once you are able to do a food allergy test you may find that you have allergies to many other foods. Removing these foods and/or high FODMAP foods can also help lessen the symptoms of GERD.

GERD is usually what I call a “wastebasket diagnosis” (like IBS or Chronic Fatigue) and more of a description of the symptom picture rather than taking into account the cause of the condition. With Naturopathic and Functional medicine we determine the cause of your GERD symptoms and treat accordingly. This means that 2 cases with the same “GERD” diagnosis may be treated completely differently. I do not do “cookie-cutter” medicine as all of my treatments are individualized.

Sally and I worked together and discovered that her GERD was mainly caused by food sensitivities, and once we treated the root cause, and received support on changer her diet and treated the leaky gut, we were able to eliminate and heal her upper GI pain.


I have a practice that specializes in digestive health. I can work locally in Colorado or remotely. I work with people who live all around the world. If you are interested in working one on one with me, I offer a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to see if we are a good fit for each other. You can schedule that online here .  You can also call (303) 443-2206 to schedule M-F 9-5 Mountain time. If you want to jump right in, you can immediately schedule your initial visit. I hope to hear from you soon!


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