Dehydration and dyspeptic pain (ulcer, heart burn and hiatus hernia)
In the 1970s, during the Iranian revolution, hundreds of men were locked up in the prison. The plan of the government in power then was to kill them. While waiting to be executed and not actually knowing when it would be, a lot of them, out of fear became hypertensive and some also had dyspeptic pain while a few had full blown duodenal ulcer. The inmates were not allowed medical care, so they continued in their pain.
There was a doctor among them who thought that the only thing available to them in the prison, which was water, might just cure the dyspepsia and ulcer that over 300 of them had. He began to encourage them to drink plenty of water, as they did and within a couple of weeks they were getting healed. The doctor was Dr. Batmanghelidj, the author of “Your Body’s Many Cries For Water.” Thereafter, having escaped from his country to the United States, he continued his research on the effect of dehydration on the body. I have read quite a few of his and water therapy, I have used water to treat a lot of conditions and I have seen positive results.
Anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract
Before I continue, I will like to give a brief description of the anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract.
The intestinal Tract is a long tubular structure, which extends from the mouth (the inlet) to the anus (the outlet). Along the course of this tube, at the end of the oesophagus is a sac-like structure – the stomach. Whatever enters into the mouth empties into the oesophagus to be conveyed to the stomach. Two valves control the emptying of the contents of the oesophagus into the stomach. The first is at the junction of the oesophagus and the stomach and the second valve is a thickening of the diaphragm at the point where the oesophagus enters the stomach. This is at the diaphragmatic hiatus. These valves also restrict the back flow of stomach contents into the oesophagus.
At the other end, the stomach opens into the first part of the small intestine known as the duodenum; located at this point is the pyloric valve, which controls the emptying of the stomach contents into the duodenum.
Situated along the length of the GIT are special cells organized into tissues and organs which secrete hormones, enzymes, acids, buffer solutions etc, for the digestion of food, absorption of digested food and evacuation of wastes. For instance, the pancreas, located at the curvature of the duodenum opens into the duodenum. Its products include insulin, glucagon, enzymes and a sodium bicarbonate alkaline solution, which neutralizes the acidic stomach contents.
There are four layers in the wall of the stomach. Moving from the outermost layer inward, you have the peritoneum, the muscle layer, the glandular layer and the mucus layer. The mucus layer is the innermost layer which is 98 per cent water held in place by a matrix of cells, which make up the remaining two per cent. The mucus layer protects the wall of the stomach against the acidic content of the stomach. When solid food matter enters into the stomach, the cells of the stomach release hydrochloric acid, which breaks down the protein and other solid matter into a homogenous fluid.
The hydrochloric acid in the stomach is corrosive and could destroy the walls of the stomach. However, this does not happen because the glandular cells below the mucus layer secrete sodium bicarbonate into the mucus layer, which acts as a buffer zone. As acid tries to pass through this buffer zone it is neutralized by the sodium bicarbonate forming a neutral salt – sodium chloride and water. This salt is eventually washed off the mucus layer by backwater from the blood vessels in the muscular layer of the stomach. Much water is needed for the production of the sodium bicarbonate buffer solution and to keep the mucus layer thick and functioning well. This is why it is advisable to drink two glasses of water about one hour before a meal. It is this water that is poured into the mucus layer when solid food comes into the stomach with the release of hydrochloric acid. This layer protects the stomach wall from the acidic stomach content. This function of the mucus layer can only be effectively carried out if there is adequate amount of water in the system.