Acidity is a medical condition involving the excess production of digestive acids in the stomach by the gastric glands. These acids mainly contain hydrochloric acid and are helpful in the breaking and digestion of the food we eat. Acidity is a condition when more than the required amount of these acids is produced in the stomach. Several reasons for this can be due to high intake of acidic foods, alcohol, or dehydration and stress. There are chances that the excess acid may rise back into the oesophagus which leads to severe symptoms like a burning sensation in the chest, change of taste in mouth, and heaviness due to high acidity.
Causes of acidity:
One of the major causes of acidity includes the acid reflux condition which usually arises during the stomach condition of hernia. This is caused due to proximal position of the stomach above the diaphragm. Diaphragm works actively in limiting the acids in the stomach failing which acid rises up in the oesophagus and acidity arises. Acidity can occur due to many reasons and some of these include:
- Having heavy meals
- Sleeping just after having the meals
- Bending inappropriately after eating
- Eating snacks before going to bed
- Eating foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolates, garlic, onions, or any other spicy food
- Drinking excess amount of alcohol, coffee, tea, carbonated beverages
- When a woman is pregnant
- If one is taking any antibiotics like aspirin, blood pressure medication, muscle relaxers, ibuprofen, warfarin, etc.
Signs and symptoms:
Acidity can cause serious troubles if you are negligible or avoiding it. Common symptoms include the following:
- Burning sensation in the chest area with pain and discomfort
- Regurgitation which includes the sour and bitter acid to rise up till your mouth and throat
- Boated abdomen
- Discomforting burps
- Hiccups which are unstoppable
- Narrowing down of oesophagus which can lead to dysphagia where food seems to be stuck in the throat area
- Abnormal weight loss
- Coughing, wheezing, sore throat and dry coughing
There are many factors that may contribute to acidity. However, ensuring an adequate amount of fluid intake and taking a healthy diet may help to prevent this condition.
- One should try to maintain a healthy weight according to the body and the height. Lose weight if you are on the upper hand of your weight. If you exceed the ideal limit it may exert pressure on your stomach causing it to backflow the acid upwards in the oesophagus
- You should give up on your smoking habits as it causes the narrowing down of the oesophageal passage and poses high risk of acidity
- You should strictly take care of the food you take especially at lunch and dinner. Avoid eating the foods which are known to cause acidity and heartburn
- You should also take care of the amount of food you eat daily. Over eating can be one of the cause for acidity
- You should not lie down after having a meal. You should go to bed or take rest only after 3 to 4 hours after having your food. It is best to walk and be active after having your meals. It helps in easy digestion of the food
- Raise the head of your bed by placing blocks under the feet at the head of your bed or insert a wedge between your mattress and the bed’s base so that your body is elevated from the waist up.
Myths and facts:
Myth: You should drink cream or milk product to cure heartburn problems.
Fact: Milk products always increase the troubles of acidity. Initially it may look that drinking milk is lowering the complication but milk actually increases the acid secretion in later stages.
Myth: You should lie down or relax for a while after having your meal.
Fact: You should never sleep or lie down on bed after having your meal. But, if you have heartburn issues try to elevate your head and relax in a slanting position.
Myth: eating mint can be an easy way to have a sound sleep after dinner a night
Fact: Mint usually triggers the acid production in stomach and should be avoided to prevent the acidity issues
Myth: Acidity cannot be cured completely whatever preventive measures you take
Fact: Problems and complication of acidity can be cured completely by even changing our lifestyle in a better way. We should avoid eating foods that greatly triggers the acid production in our stomach and we can easily control acidity and the symptoms related to it like heartburn
Myth: Drugs if taken to cure the problem of acidity, your stomach cannot digest the food easily
Fact: Drugs are just given to lower the levels in which acid is produced in your stomach. It is in no case affecting the digestion of food in the stomach.
Diagnosis of disease
If acidity is a problem, see your physician. You may notice the symptoms associated such as heartburn and regurgitation.
- X- Ray can be done using the barium swallow radiograph. This may discard the doubt of structural problems which may occur in the oesophagus.
Treatment for acidity
In many cases changing the lifestyle and eating proper healthy diets have been proved beneficial in preventing the problems of acidity and the symptoms related to it.
However, doctors do suggest taking acid reflux drugs or heartburn medicine antacids like Aciloc, Famocid, and Pentaloc in many severe cases.
Never try to take a combination of more than one medication for treating acidity and always consult your doctor before taking any new acid reflux drugs and medication.
Steps to improve the health
- Eat meals at regular times. Add more fruit, vegetables, and whole-meal bread in your diet.
- Try to go to the toilet each day. Avoid over eating your meals.
- Do exercise daily. Take a brisk walk of 30 minutes every day.
- Drink lots of water and fluids to improve your digestion.
Important things to know
Consult your physician if you don’t get relief from acidity after using home remedies.