Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, is a long-term condition in which the stomach contents come back up into the esophagus resulting in either symptoms or complications.1
Symptoms include the taste of acid in the back of the mouth, heartburn, bad breath, chest pain, vomiting, breathing problems, and enamel loss to the teeth. Complications include esophagitis, esophageal strictures, and Barrett’s esophagus.2
GERD is caused by a failure of the lower esophageal sphincter. In healthy patients, the “Angle of His”—the angle at which the esophagus enters the stomach—creates a valve that prevents duodenal bile, enzymes, and stomach acid from traveling back into the esophagus, where they can cause burning and inflammation of sensitive esophageal tissue.3
Factors that can contribute to GERD include:
Hiatus hernia, which increases the likelihood of GERD due to mechanical and motility factors.
Obesity, increasing body mass index is associated with more severe GERD. In a large series of 2,000 patients with symptomatic reflux disease, it has been shown that 13% of changes in esophageal acid exposure is attributable to changes in body mass index.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which can be present with increased gastric acidity due to gastrin production.
A high blood calcium level, which can increase gastrin production, leading to increased acidity.
Scleroderma and systemic sclerosis, which can feature esophageal dysmotility.
The use of medicines such as steroids e.g. prednisone .
Visceroptosis or Glénard syndrome, in which the stomach has sunk in the abdomen upsetting the motility and acid secretion of the stomach.4
Related Acupuncture Points:
CV-12, LI-18, SP-17, ST-11, PC-6, SP-4, ST-36. The recommended needle retention time is 30 minutes, with the needles best manipulated once every 5 minutes for a total of 6 times. Acupuncture has shown to be effective for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In fact, acupuncture successfully improved lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure and function, thereby increasing resistance to acid reflux. The LES is a valve preventing the backflow of gastric acid into the esophagus. Acupuncture increased esophageal peristaltic pressure and integrity, an important function for gastric acid clearance. In addition, acupuncture improved swallowing.5
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – webmd.com – 2017, http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/reflux-disease-gerd-1
- Symptoms and Causes of GER and GERD – niddk.nih.gov – 2017, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/ger-and-gerd-in-adults/Pages/symptoms-causes.aspx
- Recognize the Symptoms of GERD – healthline.com – 2017, https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – aaaai.org – 2017, http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/related-conditions/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease
- Acupuncture Reverses Acid Reflux Disease After Drugs Fail – healthcmi.com – 2016, http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1660-acupuncture-reverses-acid-reflux-disease-after-drugs-fail