Chronic heartburn, you may have heard it called GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease), isn't just an annoyance. The cells of your esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach) are not meant to be exposed to stomach acid, so if they are exposed, the cells begin to change in order to protect themselves. The condition where your esophagus cells start changing is called Barrett's Esophagus.
While Barrett's Esophagus isn't considered cancerous, there are changes to the cells which could lead to esophageal cancer. It's extremely important to talk to your doctor about Barrett's Esophagus if you've suffered from GERD. Your doctor may recommend you have your esophagus examined using an endoscope (a camera that can look down your throat).
It's very important to get your heartburn under control to stop the exposure of your esophagus, which should allow the cells to return to their normal, healthy state. Diet changes, medications, herbal remedies and acupuncture can all be helpful to reduce that burn.
While medications are a great quick-fix, to stop the exposure to stomach acid immediately, they don't address the underlying causes of the heartburn, so people often have to continue taking the medication indefinitely. These medications also come with side effects that can include: decreased digestive abilities, vitamin deficiencies, cancer, and many more.
Chinese Medicine can be very effective at treating chronic heartburn. Because it addresses the underlying cause of the problem, not just the symptoms, it can more effectively help you stay heartburn-free long-term.
In Chinese medical theory, heartburn is usually diagnosed as Stomach Fire or Liver overacting the Stomach. These basically translate as having Stomach acid go where it doesn't belong. This can be due to too much Stomach acid causing an overflow, or the Stomach acid not being kept in the stomach due to a Stomach that has been weakened, often by stress. Chinese medicine can strengthen the Stomach energy keeping acid levels normal and in the stomach.
Remember, with Chinese medicine, unwanted symptoms aren't just covered up, your body is reminded how to function properly, how to live in health.