GERD in Functional Medicine

GERD in Functional Medicine

Posted on September 12, 2017
By: Amanda Patchett, FNP-C
         Our ultimate goal in functional medicine practice is to pinpoint the root cause of a symptom instead of just treating the symptom with a medication. One of the most common digestive complaints in many patients that present in our office is GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) or better known as “heartburn.” Traditionally patients are simply recommended to take over the counter medication to block stomach acid production or possibly even placed on stronger prescription medications to reduce stomach acid.
There is a time and a place for those types of medications (i.e. an active stomach ulcer), however they were never intended to be utilized for chronic conditions and unfortunately this occurs often. There are concerns with usage of these medications long term as they have been shown to increase risk of osteoporosis due to mineral depletion, increase risk of infections within the gastrointestinal tract, increase risk of kidney disease, and many other concerns.
This condition is one of the easiest solved issues in functional medicine. We simply ask the question, “Why are you having this issue.” One of the most common reasons someone might experience reflux symptoms is food sensitivities or allergies. We can collect food sensitivity and allergy testing here within the office and have answers within a few weeks. Simply by eliminating food sensitivities, I would estimate 90% of my patients’ symptoms are resolved and at that time I’m able to wean them off of acid reduction medications successfully. The other small percentage of patients that don’t improve with diet changes, there are other functional medicine tests that rule out any other potential root causes.