In this episode, Katie Morra talks about all things related to the gastrointestinal system, including Helicobacter pylori, indigestion, and GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Katie is an accomplished expert in gut health, specializing in Functional Medicine Nutrition and holding certification from the Institute for Functional Medicine. With over ten years of invaluable experience, Katie has had the opportunity to help numerous patients by utilizing a holistic approach that incorporates comprehensive laboratory testing, targeted supplement protocols, and lifestyle adjustments. Her primary focus is on identifying the underlying causes of inflammation, autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, food sensitivities, and other chronic conditions.
In addition to her successful patient treatments, Katie takes pride in her role as an educator. She has had the privilege of training various healthcare professionals, including nutritionists, dietitians, MDs, PAs, NPs, and health coaches. Through her guidance, these practitioners gain the skills and knowledge to confidently interpret laboratory results, evaluate complex cases, and provide effective treatment plans for their own patients.
The health risks of heartburn, GERD, and acid reflux
Heartburn, GERD, or acid reflux can impact your overall health. Contrary to popular belief, these conditions are not solely caused by excessive acid production. They occur when the pressure within your intra abdominal cavities forces stomach acid in the wrong direction.
When acid reflux happens, it can lead to several negative consequences. The acidic nature of the refluxed contents can irritate and inflame the lining of the esophagus and throat. This irritation can cause discomfort and interfere with your day-to-day activities, significantly impacting your quality of life.
Moreover, chronic or severe cases of acid reflux can pose more serious risks. Prolonged exposure to stomach acid can contribute to the development of Barrett's esophagus, a condition characterized by abnormal changes in the lining of the esophagus. Barrett's esophagus, in turn, increases the risk of esophageal cancer.
Unveiling the symptoms of indigestion reflux
Frequent indigestion reflux often leads to a rapid sensation of fullness. During meals, you may frequently experience burping or even food regurgitation, especially after consuming large meals. Additionally, constant nausea and a persistent burning sensation are commonly reported symptoms.
Less common symptoms associated with indigestion reflux include wheezing, dry cough, or the development of nodules. Hoarseness can also occur. Some individuals may feel a pressure-like sensation in the upper region of the abdominal cavity and have the urge to push on it. However, identifying these symptoms becomes somewhat more challenging when experiencing silent reflux.
Understanding the causes of indigestion and heartburn
Various factors can contribute to the development of indigestion and heartburn. While there can be multiple causes, one common factor is the buildup of pressure that pushes things in the wrong direction. Conditions such as hiatal hernias can play a significant role in this regard.
Structural issues also contribute to the development of indigestion and heartburn. Infections, particularly Helicobacter pylori, are known to be significant contributors. Many people may be familiar with H. pylori, as it is a commonly recognized cause of these digestive problems.
A mindful approach to food and diet
There is a specific dietary approach aimed at reducing acidity and promoting better digestive health. This entails eliminating foods such as caffeine, chocolate, highly acidic and spicy foods, as well as heavily fried foods, which can be particularly irritating to the stomach lining. However, it's important to note that dietary preferences and sensitivities vary among individuals.
Certain foods, such as gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs, can trigger for some people. These items might need to be avoided to manage symptoms effectively. But it's crucial to consider other factors as well. For instance, if you have low stomach acid, you might experience difficulties in digesting protein. Thus, it's worth paying attention to your body's response when consuming beef, pork, or chicken. It might not necessarily be related to acidity but rather an issue with protein digestion.
Alcohol can also cause discomfort for some individuals and should be monitored accordingly. Additionally, some people may experience reflux due to high-fiber foods if there is an underlying bacterial overgrowth in the digestive system.
In addition to chewing food thoroughly, there are various strategies individuals can employ to address indigestion. To tackle this issue comprehensively, one can undertake various actions, including diagnostic tests such as stool and breath tests for SIBO. Moreover, implementing a diverse set of approaches, from dietary modifications to stress management, can prove beneficial. Additionally, there exists a plethora of supplements that can be considered, offering potential relief from indigestion symptoms.
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Previous guests include: Dr Cheryl Burdette of Dunwoody Labs, Cynthia Thurlow of Everyday Wellness, Dr. Stephanie Estima of Hello Betty, Keri Anania of Nebraska Functional Medicine, Dr. Ralph Esposito of Athletic Greens, Dr. Rob Silverman of Westchester Integrative Health Center, Dr. Elizabeth Yurth of Boulder Longevity Institute and Dr. Mindy Pelz of Dr. Mindy Pelz Co.
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