Conventional doctors are turning a blind eye to this sneaky condition that attacks you in your sleep!
Here’s how to avoid getting treated for a disease you don’t have
What if I told you that your asthma or chronic cough have nothing to do with your lungs?
Or that your hoarseness… ear ringing… or hearing loss could be coming not from anything up above, but from down below?
Well, all these symptoms — and more — could actually be coming from your gut.
It’s all thanks to a medical condition that you need to know about, because there’s a very high probability that you or one of your loved ones is suffering from it… and it’s been misdiagnosed (or ignored), possibly for YEARS.
Although the condition is enigmatic — and hard to diagnose — it all boils down to the fact that when you’ve got it, your stomach acid “bubbles up” so far up into your oesophagus (your “food tube”) that it actually irritates the throat and trachea, pharynx (“air tube”) and larynx (“voice box”).
It’s most commonly called LERD (Laryngopharyngeal Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), but the disease is so enigmatic that it’s called by a few different names, ranging from:
- EERD (Extra-oesophageal Reflux disease)
- LPR (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux)
- Silent Reflux or Atypical Reflux
- Silent GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
The even scarier part is that if this condition goes unchecked… and it’s left to fester for many years… your chances of cancer of the head, neck, and throat increase!1
While you may think that taking an antacid would quell the fires that would do this kind of damage, it turns out that the opposite is actually true.
But since there’s more than one issue that causes the problem, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to LERD.
Fortunately, you can turn to plenty of non-drug approaches to the various root causes of this elusive condition.
A silent assault while you sleep
It’s not “rocket science” to understand the dangers of acid burning and eating away at precious tissues in your neck and throat — tissues that are NOT equipped to deal with this digestive “juice”!
The enigmatic part is the sneakiness of the silent assault that is occurring.
Only 50 to 60 per cent of people who have this condition even report any classic symptoms of heartburn!2
The other reason for the elusiveness of this condition is that for most people, the damage is done — and the activity is the worst — while they’re sleeping.
In addition to heartburn (which you may not even feel), this condition can affect so many parts of your chest, head, and neck that all the seemingly unrelated OTHER symptoms may shock you. For instance:
- asthma and/or wheezing, shortness of breath
- chronic cough
- cough after/during eating
- post nasal drip/chronic mucous in throat
- sore throat
- chronic ear infections
- hearing loss
- loss of taste or smell
- feeling of a lump in throat
- dry mouth
- bad breath
- bad taste in the mouth
- tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- ears popping while swallowing/fullness in the ears
- oesophageal spasms (that can mimic heart disease/angina)
- difficulty swallowing
- periodontal disease/dental issues
- heart racing after eating
Despite studies and ideas that date all the way back to the late 1930’s showing this phenomenon was a potential cause of upper airway issues,3 it wasn’t until 1979 that there was a legitimate scientific study to PROVE the link.4
And the conventional medical establishment STILL hadn’t really embraced this diagnosis until just a few years ago.
The magnitude and breadth of this subject is so overwhelming that it’s a bit embarrassing that this medical condition continues to lurk in the shadows of night and avoid nearly all recognition!
Your digestion can get out of tune
What my conventional colleagues don’t seem to understand is that, at its core, LERD is rooted in how your body processes, digests, and breaks down food.
Your gastro-intestinal (GI) system and digestive process involves a complex symphony of movements that includes chewing, stomach acid, bile, pancreatic enzymes, and gastric motility (which I wrote about in the previous issue of this newsletter).
If you don’t chew enough or swallow too quickly, you’ll skip out on the important initial movement that occurs while food is still in your mouth — forcing your stomach and the rest of your gut to work even harder.
Next, when the food goes down your gullet and hits your belly, you’ve got to have just the right balance of stomach acids to greet it and break it down. We often think of digestive problems as being caused by excess acid, but if you haven’t got enough stomach acid down there, it could be just as bad as having too much of it!
Once the food leaves your stomach, pancreatic enzymes and bile acids kick in. Some conventional medical literature is starting to discuss the role of these digestive “juices” in LERD, but the conventional community doesn’t really bother to delve in to this part of the digestive process in the first place (other than removing the gallbladder).
And, finally, the lack of proper peristalsis — and, thus, a “slow stomach” — can lead to food and acid backing up at night.
Any of the players in this orchestra can become skewed, stressed, or damaged. And these separate — but connected — bodily functions need to play together in harmony to effectively digest the foods that you eat.
Otherwise, you get “burned” in the process.
No such thing as an easy way out
Needless to say, fixing this issue is obviously NOT as easy as popping an antacid and voila — problem solved!
In fact, if I were to be a “Monday Morning quarterback” (as you can tell, I miss football season!), it’s apparent to me that one of the reasons so many people don’t recognize this condition is BECAUSE of antacids.
Sure, they may seem like an “easy answer” if you’re experiencing digestive issues, but studies prove that they’re actually NOT effective.5,6
If you’ve got too much stomach acid, instead of antacids I recommend a trial of DGL lozenges or maybe even just simple baking soda to cut down on it. Please note that a bacterial infection in your stomach or upper gut may be causing your abnormal stomach acid secretion, in which case I’m fan of using mastic gum capsules to naturally kill them.
I like to use pancreatic digestive enzymes, as well as sometimes using supplemental bile acids to help people digest their food better so that it doesn’t come back to haunt them (that is, “repeat” itself back in to the stomach).
I’m also not against cutting down on acidic foods (such as tomatoes and citrus foods). Here’s another instance where the Paleo Diet comes in handy, as it eliminates most of the foods that your body may find abrasive and irritating.
For that “slow stomach” problem I mentioned, try raising the head of your bed. For once in your life, you can use gravity to your advantage — because the gastrointestinal “juices” have much less of a chance to flow north if gravity is draining them south all night long. (I first shared information on this bed trick — known as “Inclined Bed Therapy” — in the October 2016 issue of Nutrition & Healing.)
There can even be a mechanical problem with the stomach and its sphincters, such as with a hiatal hernia. Instead of subjecting them to major surgery, I usually send patients to a chiropractor to have them deal with this mechanical issue.
Or, I may teach them some manual techniques that they can do to themselves to alleviate this condition!
Of course, I’m always a fan of trying probiotics, which have a multitude of amazing effects and duties in the human gastrointestinal system.
And finally, I’m also a firm believer that eating slowly, eating less, chewing it well, and not eating too late at night are all key to recovering from LERD.
A holistic doctor or any other health professional that looks at your “whole body” can help you put your symptoms together and find the right custom treatment for you.
Food for thought
If antacids shut down your production of stomach acid, how are you going to digest your food?
Your body needs nutrition and sustenance. Once you start taking a medication that slows down the digestion of foods, you’re going to become “malnourished,” and disease will ensue due to improper nutrition.
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.