Indigestion Heartburn

What is it?

Keywords: Indigestion heartburn, chiropractic help, why do we hiccup, hiatus hernia..

This is a condition that is not serious for the majority of sufferers, unless you start to take antacids regularly, in which case you'll get a vitamin B12 deficiency. That's serious. Tingling in arms and hands and legs ...

Nearly one half of Americans complain of severe heartburn at least once a month. There are a heap of medications on the market, all with their side effects. Does it have something to do with what we are eating perhaps? Or something eating us?

Perhaps you've been prescribed a common medication called a "proton pump inhibitors" like Prevacid that reduces acid production in the stomach in an effort to quell the fiery stuff in your oesophagus. But calcium absorption is dependent on strong acid in the stomach, so there's a significantly higher incidence of osteoporosis and hip fractures associated with PPIs.



Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Is there any more natural way with no side effects that we could use?



"I would like to find a stew that will give me indigestion heartburn immediately, instead of at three o'clock in the morning."

- writer John Barrymore



But it does cause sufferers untold grief in the early hours. John Barrymore was certainly not the first to complain, and going by the number of antacids sold, it's on the increase.

Oddly, antacids only aggravate the underlying problem which is only rarely TOO MUCH acid, mostly it's TOO LITTLE. That causes poor digestion.

It's no coincidence that Barrymore mentions stew. It probably contains a large amount of fat, certainly onions, and if he also enjoyed a bread roll and a tankard of beer with his stew, then... end of story. Heartburn.



Indigestion heartburn in essence is a disturbance of the normal function of the stomach. It could be pathological, like an ulcer or cancer, but usually isn't. It could be anatomical, like a defective valve that should prevent the contents of the stomach refluxing back up the oesophagus. It could be emotional, like anger or bearing a grudge.

But most usually, a mixture of foods that don't agree with you.



"You don't get ulcers from what you eat. You get them from what's eating you."

- Edith Baum


The contents of the stomach is extremely acid to enable the enzymes to effectively digest protein in the stomach, which must occur before they enters the next part of the gut, the duodenum. High acid content is also essential for absorption of vitamine B12, extremely important for your nervous system. This is quite normal and it should not be concluded that too much acid is the cause of your Indigestion Heartburn. Quite the contrary, too little acid, leaving poorly digested proteins ...

The other effect of taking antacids is to allow those partly digested proteins through into the small intestine. If these long chains of proteins are absorbed into the blood stream, they will cause obscure allergic reactions (like hayfever, asthma and autoimmune diseases) in the body when your immune system thinks they are foreign matter. Whole proteins shouldn't be found in the small intestine where the absorption occurs.



Hiatus hernia

The lungs and heart of the chest cavity are separated from the stomach and intestines by a large muscle called the diaphragm, through which the oesophagus must pass on the way to the stomach.

In some people, the hiatus or hole in the diaphragm weakens and enlarges. It's not known why this occurs. It may be hereditary, or it may be caused by obesity, exercises such as weightlifting, or straining at stool. Whatever the cause, a portion of the stomach herniates, or moves up, into the chest cavity through this enlarged hole. Hiatus hernias are very common, occurring in up to 60 percent of older folk causing GERD, or gastro esophageal reflux disease. Your dinner ends up in your mouth.

What's interesting is that in some people this reflux causes acid burns, erosions of the oesophageal lining (which may be pre-cancerous), but others there's no erosion at all leading to the diagnosis of NERD, non-erosive reflux disease.

Clearly it's complex, and there are many things at work. Could simple dietary changes make a difference, without the use of pills? Yes!



The stomach is lined with a thick mucus to prevent the acid from attacking the stomach wall. However the oesophagus is not so protected.

Should the valve that seals off the stomach be defective, then strong acid refluxes back into the oesophagus where it may attack the lining which has no protection, causing indigestion heartburn. Even so, antacids are not the solution to the problem - dealing with the muscle called the diaphragm which forms the valve.

The contents of the stomach is the critical subject. This is mediated by many different processes such as the amount of fluid in the stomach, the mixtures of different foods in the stomach, the nerve supply to the both the muscles and the glands that produce both acid, and enzymes and other substances.

FROM THE COAL FACE

'Doctor, do you think you can help my dad. He has terrible backache.'

'That's an odd question, Minky. I treat bad backs all day long. You know that.'

'Yes, of course, but his doctor says his problem is far too serious for a chiropractor.'

'Well, is his doctor's treatment helping?'

'No, he's been getting terrible Indigestion Heartburn and now blood in the stool, and his doctor says he has to stop taking the medicine. Now he's a bear with a sore back and so much heartburn indigestion!'

Minky had been a patient for nearly two years. She suffered from regular miserable Headache Chiropractic ... that put her to bed for several days in the month before she started consulting me.

'Suggest your dad comes for a free consultation, Minky. It will involve an abreviated examination, but no treatment, to help him decide if Chiropractic could help him. Tell him to bring his X-rays, if he has any.'

The upshot was that Minky's dad had a very routine problem in the low back. Once he had had a course of about ten treatments, was doing all his exercises, and came for an occasional visit every two or three months, his problem became only a minor irritant in his life.

His eyes opened wide when I told him that 14 000 people had died in the USA in one year from gastric bleeds from taking anti-inflammatories.

It remains a mystery to me why doctors can think a back too serious for a chiropractor, but they are prepared to risk the patient's life with medication that their own research declares kills tens of thousands every year. ANTI INFLAMMATORY DRUGS ...

The point I feel sure is clear. If you have indigestion heartburn and you are taking anti-inflammatories [aka NSAIDs], see your doctor immediately for a stool test. Are you passing blood? (Blood from the stomach makes the stool black, not red). At the same time, make an appointment with your chiropractor to treat the cause of the pain in your back! Treating symptoms, in general but especially with NSAIDs, is plain bad health care.



The search this site function in the navigation bar on the left enables you to find stuff on this site.

Google has gone through an enormous shakeup in the last year, giving webmasters much grief.

Meantime, use that search function to find more information about subject material mentioned on the page where links have probably been removed.  There are over 360 pages at chiropractic help; it's become a veritable encyclopedia dedicated to better health.


VITAMIN B12 - taking Antacids regularly?

Vitamin B12 is vital for the nervous system (know what Pernicious Anemia is? Tingling in arms and hands and legs ... TINGLING IN ARMS AND HANDS AND LEGS... and a marginal deficiency is now recognised in about a quarter of people over 50. There are various causes, but the most common is too little stomach acid, and it's gravely worsened by antacids taken on a regular basis.


"Inadequate stomach acid. A much more common cause of deficiency of B12, especially in older people, is a lack of stomach acid, because stomach acid is required to liberate vitamin B12 from food. An estimated 10 to 30 percent of adults over the age of 50 have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from food. (1) People who regularly take medications that suppress stomach acid—such as proton-pump inhibitors, H2 blockers, or other antacids—may also have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from food. Even people who lack adequate stomach acid can typically absorb vitamin B12 from fortified foods or supplements, however, providing yet another reason to take a multivitamin."

HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH.

And avoid Antacids.




WHY DO WE HICCUP ?

Hiccuping is a reflex contraction of the Diaphragm muscle, causing a sudden intake of breath that snaps the epiglottis closed. A hic. Irritation of the Phrenic nerve roots (C3-C4-C5), the nerve itself or one of the tissues supplied by the Phrenic nerve are the usual causes.

Read more … WHY DO WE HICCUP ?

TREATMENT

Ask your chiropractor to check your

Follow one or all of these simple rules if you suffer from Indigestion heartburn:

  1. Don't drink any fluid with the offending meal (usually dinner) or for an hour afterwards.This applies to any fluid, including water or coffee, but alcohol may be the the real problem, causing fermentation. Fluids dilute the acid in the stomach, resulting in poor protein digestion, and much worse possible auto-immune problems. Furthermore, fluids drunk after a meal, left on top of solid food, are more likely to be refluxed.
  2. Drink soup at the beginning of the meal, perhaps with a break before the rest of the meal, so the fluids can start to pass through into the small intestine.
  3. Drink only very small quantities of water and no other liquids before going to bed. On lying down, any fluids in the stomach may reflux, carrying strong acids back into the oesophagus where there is no mucus protection, causing indigestion heartburn.
  4. Avoid bread, rolls and fruit and fruit puddings at dinner. 
  5. No chocolate after dinner.
  6. Soups are healthy and delicious, but for some people have to be eaten with care.
  7. Too much onion or leek and tomato (a fruit)can be an absolute nightmare for some people. A PRIME CAUSE, particularly if it is eaten with bread rolls. Try starting the meal with a large chopped salad. For many people this alone will reduce 95% of the symptoms of indigestion heartburn.
  8. Too much fat is another common cause of indigestion heartburn. Avoid rich fatty stews at dinner. Scrumptious at lunch if your cholesterol is okay, just not every day. Too much fat in the diet has been linked to bowel cancer.



If you enjoy reading then you will enjoy these books by chiropractor Bernard Preston . He will keep you laughing as he retells his short stories from the clinic. Stories that will also help you be healthier and happier, and able to look forward to old age, instead of dreading it. Sound good?

Soon Frog in my Throat will be available as an ebook at half the price. Or less, and no postage. Watch this space. But first, Stones in my Clog, Preston's third chiropractic short stories. Rivetting stuff, like Priest in my Bed...


Two types of foods

Professor Robert Russell, MD, states there are two different processes occuring:

1. Foods that increase the pressure in the stomach placing pressure on the valve that separates the oesophagus from the stomach. This would include: 

  • Simply too much food in one meal.
  • Liquid with the meal
  • Especially alcohol liquid
  • Fatty foods
  • Onions
  • Chocolate


2.  Foods that irritate the lining of the oesophagus, and hence the nerves.

  • Fruit after dinner, especially citrus. Fruit drinks. OJ or apple juice for example. Wine.
  • Very spicy foods.

In short, rather than taking masses of pills, all of which have their side effects, perhaps it's time to start being the detective. Which of these are the spoke in your wheel. It may be just one of them, or several.


Anecdote

Yours truly suffered terribly with indigestion heartburn several nights a week having to sleep upright until about five hours after the meal.

Many of the above triggers were involved.

Finally, faced with gastroscopes, medication, threat of cancer of the oesophagus, he took the bull by the horns. Giving up several beers before dinner TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, COMPREHENSIVELY cured the problem.

I can now have a soup with bread, fatty stews, a cup of milo after dinner before bed, chocolate, fruit puddings, all without a problem. Beer was my problem. What's yours?

I have now been off all alcohol for nearly four months, and am much the better person for it.


Surgery

There's nothing simple about surgery to fix a hiatus hernia. In my own case, the surgeon warned me that all burping would stop, and the gases would instead have to travel the length of the alimentary canal, causing considerable lower bowel discomfort and bloating.

Giving up beer was a much simpler solution!



"He was woken early by borborygmus as his insides fermented and his intestines ballooned with gas beyond their capacity."

- Ruth Dudley Edwards


Barrett's oesophagus

Having started this page by saying that indigestion heartburn is not usually serious, affecting nearly half the population, there is one very serious exception. Chronic acid reflux into the oesophagus sometimes causes abnormal changes in the cells of the lower oesophagus which is strongly associated with a very malignant cancer.

As always don't assume that it happens only to other people. Seek out the cause of your indigestion heartburn. That's why I decided to give up beer.

Rather than taking pills, rather than being an ostrich, be the detective and find out whether some simple changes in your lifestyle cannot make the difference. Or even difficult changes. Nothing simple about giving up alcohol or losing ten kilograms, but faced with the alternative...


Links @ Indigestion Heartburn



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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr B  came initially for a painful and stiff neck and then asked whether chiropractic could help the cold numb feeling running down the side of his thigh for six months. Meralgia paresthetica is a double crush syndrome with the nerve affected in the back and groin. He's 80% improved after five treatments.

2. Mrs C has a long history of severe, disabling migraine headaches since having her wisdom teeth removed. She clenches her teeth at night. After six treatments she has no migraines but some jaw joint discomfort remains; a bite plate is in the offing.

3. Mrs U has the trophy for the worst back this year. After major surgery with plates and screws two years later she still had paresis in the lower leg and severe disabling back pain. She's doing far better than expected, in no little part due to a lift in her shoe for a very short leg.

4. Mr V is 86 years old and hurt his back helping his wife into the car. Just one treatment of the sacroiliac joint and he's eighty percent better. It's not always like that.

5. Mr W lay on his back knocking down a pillar. Turning his head causes severe vertigo. He needs the Epley exercises, not pills, research shows. Update, he's fine.

6. Mrs X, a young mother has severe lower back pain, with numbness down the posterior thigh, calf and side of her foot. It started after a long drive in the car. After six treatments she is 60 percent better, but it's slow and is going to take the full 6 weeks to heal.

And now a setback, after lifting her child she now has leg pain. It's going to the be difficult.

7. This lady is a 70 year old woman, is on maintenance care for a nasty lumbar stenosis despite having to do everything at home. Her husband has a hospital acquired infection after a total shoulder replacement. After four operations he is incapacitated.

8. She is an 78 year old woman, is doing remarkably well with a bad sciatica. But over 200 pounds she is not losing weight; in fact, gaining despite my suggestions. She's high risk for a stroke. I have referred her to a dietician to crack the whip.

9. This man is a 73 year old engineer, still working, is doing fine after a long episode of lower back pain. Some pain on the side of the hip remains after five treatments. I reassured him it's not hip arthritis.

10. A 64 year old woman has had scheuermanns disease; it's left her with a spinal kyphosis and chronic middorsal pain. She responds well to chiropractic treatment provides she come every six weeks or so for maintenance treatment.

11. Mr C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mrs D, a middle aged woman with hip pain of one year duration, despite other treatment. Xrays reveal an impingement syndrome and early hip arthritis. There's much to be done.

13. Both Mrs E and I can't believe how much better her lower back and leg pain are. Surgery for a scoliosis and spondylolysthesis three years ago helped greatly for one year. But then her leg went lame and weak. He was responded extremely well despite all expectations.

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?


Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.


You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.