Dry fasting cures acid reflux

Internal Medicine Clinic

Reflux disease is the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. About 20% of the population in Germany repeatedly suffers from reflux symptoms such as heartburn. For many people these symptoms go away on their own, while others often suffer for years or decades from the typical agonizing symptoms of reflux disease, which severely impair their quality of life.

For a better understanding of the cause of the reflux disease, the structure of the upper digestive tract is briefly explained: The esophagus is an approximately 30 cm long muscle tube that runs from the throat to the stomach entrance. At the lower end, the esophagus is connected to the stomach with a type of sphincter that functions as a valve. This muscular valve ensures that very little acid can flow back into the esophagus from the stomach. In some people, however, the function of this valve is disturbed. The valve can then no longer withstand the pressure of the acid from the stomach, so that it rises from the bottom up into the esophagus. Furthermore, the transport function of the esophagus can be disturbed, in which case the acid that has risen is no longer transported back into the stomach quickly enough and thus causes symptoms.

The stomach acid rises more easily into the esophagus when the pressure in the abdomen increases. This is the case, for example, with overweight, tight clothing and pronounced flatulence. Pregnancy is a special situation that is limited in time. In addition, diaphragmatic hernias encourage the stomach to slide up from the abdominal cavity into the chest cavity.

The gastroscopy is the most informative for assessing reflux disease and ulcer diseases. Here, the sober patient swallows a flexible tube, consisting of movable glass fiber strands, which has a cold light source at the end. The doctor can look directly at the inner surface of the organs using optics. Tissue samples can also be taken painlessly. During therapy, bleeding can be stopped and foreign bodies can be removed, for example. As a rule, the throat is locally anesthetized before the tube is inserted and, if desired, a short anesthetic is performed. Typical symptoms of esophageal reflux disease are heartburn, acid regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, but also general symptoms such as bloating and nausea. Coffee, alcohol, fruit juices, citrus fruits, hot spices, nicotine and emotional excitement very often trigger the symptoms. In the supine position and especially when bending over, the symptoms become even more agonizing.

Affected patients can do a lot about their reflux disease on their own. These measures include the recommendation to eat many small, low-fat, high-protein meals. Furthermore, the last meal should not be taken too late in the evening. It is helpful to raise the headboard of the bed. Finally, obesity should be reduced, stress avoided and smoking stopped. In many cases, however, regular use of anti-acid medication is essential. The most effective class of substances are the so-called proton pump inhibitors, which largely inhibit acid formation in the stomach and thus ensure that no acid can flow back from the stomach into the esophagus. Proton pump inhibitors have been used successfully for the treatment of reflux disease for many years. There is ample data on the long-term safety of these drugs. A question that is asked again and again is whether it is possible to suppress acid formation in the stomach in the long term. Such a treatment is also possible over a longer period of time without causing any undesirable effects on the body.

In the last few years it has become clear that the symptoms of reflux disease can also express themselves in asthma attacks or respiratory distress attacks and so the view is not drawn directly to the problem area in the esophagus. Chronic hoarseness with inflammatory changes in the larynx are also possible consequences of reflux disease.

The complicating course of reflux disease with the formation of ulcers in the esophagus, which can also bleed, is problematic. The constant acid stimulation also puts a small proportion of patients at risk of esophageal cancer, which is why check-ups are necessary.

Today, in addition to gastroscopy, pH-metry and manometry of the esophagus are available, in which the pressure in the muscle at the esophagus / stomach junction can be measured using tiny tubes as well as the amount of acid reflux into the esophagus. These examinations are especially indispensable when considering the possibility of an operation aimed at improving the valve function at the gastric entrance. Such an approach requires close cooperation between the specialists involved (family doctor, gastroenterologist, surgeon).