What is acidity?
Acidity is a medical condition that is caused due to excess production of acid. This acid is produced by the glands of the stomach. Acidity causes signs such as ulcers in the stomach, gastric inflammation, heartburn, and dyspepsia.
It is usually caused due to several factors such as irregular eating patterns, lack of physical sports or activities, alcohol consumption, smoking, stress, fad diets, and poor eating habits. People are more prone to developing acidity in places where people consume more non-vegetarian, spicy and oily food.
A lot of medications such as NSAID (Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can also make an individual more susceptible to developing gastric acidity. Acidity is characterised by a deep burning sensation after consuming a heavy meal. Indigestion and constipation are also common in people who have acidity.
It can be cured by Home Remedies or by consuming antacids and implementing healthy. A technique is known as endosperm also provides immense relief from acid reflux. Common signs of acidity include indigestion, nausea, sour taste in the mouth, constipation, restlessness and burning sensation in the stomach & throat.
What causes acidity?
Our stomach usually produces gastric acids which help in digestion. The corrosive effects of these acids are balanced by the production of prostaglandins and natural bicarbonate which are secreted in the mucous lining. This damages the stomach lining and causes acidity.
Other factors which cause acidity include:
- Consuming non-vegetarians and spicy foods.
- Excessive stress.
- Consuming too much alcohol.
- Smoking frequently
- Stomach disorders such as stomach tumors, gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcers.
- Medications such as NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
What are the Early Symptoms of Acidity?
- Heartburn: A burning pain or discomfort that may moves from the stomach to the abdomen, chest or even up to the throat.
- Regurgitation: A bitter or sour tasting acid will back into the throat or mouth that eventually makes sores in the spots.
- Stomach bloating, Hematemesis, bloody or black tarry stool, frequent burps, difficulty in swallowing, continuous hiccups, nausea, vomiting, feeling fullness always, chronic sore throat, persistent dry cough, restlessness, indigestion and unexpected weight loss.
What are Standard Acidity Precautions?
One can follow a number of methods to prevent acidity and they are quite simple to follow:
- Avoid foods causing reflux: Do not more spicy foods, coffee, carbonated beverages, acidic and fatty foods
- Split your meal: Do not stick to 3 times regular meal. Split it to 5 smaller portions so that pressure and reflux can be avoided
- Don’t lie down after eating: Take at least 2 hours to reach your bed after eating, because the food will be back flown into the esophagus.
- Try to eliminate acidity triggering foods for some weeks, examine and reintroduce
- Lose weight: Excessive fat pressures the abdomen region, thus pushing gastric juice into esophagus. Try to reduce weight if you are overweight
- Avoid certain medicines: Some OTC medicines like ibuprofen, paracetamol may induce acidity and other prescription medicines such as Anticholinergics, Dopamine-like drugs, Theophylline, Sedatives, Calcium channel blockers and beta-blocker do develop acidity.
- Try to wear loose clothes around the waist and stomach region as it could reduce the tension around the areas.
How is Acidity Diagnosed?
Acidity is diagnosed with various methods. Some of these are listed below:
- pH monitoring: It checks out the acid level in the esophagus. A device is inserted into the esophagus by the doctor; it is left there for 2 days to measure the amount of acid in the esophagus.
- Barium swallow: It helps to trace out the narrowed esophagus and ulcers. A solution has to be followed and then an X-Ray will be taken.
- Endoscopy: A long, flexible lighted tube with a tiny camera at the bottom is inserted through the mouth and with the help of the camera esophagus, stomach issues are checked out. It is done with the help of sedation or anesthesia.
Most Effective Treatment for Acidity
Acidity can be cured by consuming antacids that contain aluminum, calcium or magnesium. Many times, H2 receptor blockers (histamine blocking agents) like nizatidine, famotidine, ranitidine, and cimetidine are used. Proton pump inhibitors are also prescribed by the doctor if you have severe acidity. Acidity can also be treated by Home Remedies such as consuming bananas, cold milk, aniseeds, cumin, cardamom, cloves, mint leaves, and ginger.
You can also prevent acidity by avoiding spicy foods or pickles during meals, eating more vegetables and fruits, not consuming non-vegetarian food, avoiding medications such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) & steroids and reducing stress.
Sometimes acidity can also be caused by consuming food just before sleeping. This provokes the stomach enzymes to flow back to your esophagus and cause acid reflux. This can be extremely detrimental to health.
What are the Natural Ways to Reduce Acidity?
Some of the natural ways to reduce the acidity are as follows:
- Almonds: It neutralises the stomach juice, relieves the pain and prevents acidity entirely. Munch almonds when you are in a situation of not taking your meals so that it avoids excessive acid secretion. Take 4 almonds after eating.
- Banana and Apple: Banana contains antacids naturally that fight against acidity and intake of a few slices of apple before bedtime helps in relieving heartburn or reflux.
- Coconut water: While drinking coconut water, the body’s pH acidic level turns alkaline and it produces mucus in the stomach. Mucous prevents the stomach from the severe effects of excessive acid production. This fibre-rich water supports digestion and prevents the remittance of acidity.
- Enough sleep: Go for at least 7 hours continuous sleep.
Also Read: Home remedies for acidity
When Should You See a Gastroenterologist for Acid Reflux?
Though acid reflux is common in all, do visit a gastroenterologist if the symptom is recurrent. This potential condition will not disappear on its own. Untreated acid reflux or GERD will lead to esophageal inflammation, ulcers and cancer too. Immediately consult a gastroenterologist if you feel
- Persistent symptoms for more than two weeks
- Decreased appetite
- Heartburn with nausea and vomiting
- Unable to swallow
- Chronic hoarseness and wheezing
- Nighttime symptoms that affect sleep quality
During your visit, the doctor will examine, esophagus, stomach, duodenum to determine the cause and will provide you the appropriate treatment.
Treatable by medical professional
Usually self diagnosable
Lab test not required
Short-term: resolves within days to weeks