The stomach produces strong hydrochloric acid which plays a major role in the digestive process. This acid is contained within the stomach by the closing of a valve in the lower oesophagus. A higher-than-normal concentration of the acid is quite common and it could be due to various reasons that cause acidity, some common ones being obesity, eating large meals, certain acidic foods like citrus fruits, alcohol, smoking, pregnancy and aerated beverages.
The symptoms of acidity include heartburn, a bloated feeling in the stomach, burping, hiccups, nausea and weight loss. An important thing to notice is that acidity is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying disease. Unless there are serious structural issues, most cases of acidity can be managed with dietary and lifestyle changes. Some of the best, yet simple and effective ways to deal with acidity are listed below.
- Habit of eating smaller, but frequent meals. Eating one large meal is one of the main causes of acidity. Eating smaller frequent meals gives the stomach time to digest the food and also avoid acidity.
- Avoid eating close to bedtime. When you go to bed with a stomach full of food, you are sure to end up with acidity. A minimum of 3 hours should lapse between the last meal and the bedtime. This gives sufficient time for the stomach to clear the contents.
- Sleep with the head of the bed slightly elevated. Raising the head of the bed ensures there is no regurgitation of food, thereby preventing acidity.
- Daytime nappers with acidity issues can try to sleep in a recliner or on a chair to prevent acidity attacks.
- Manage weight through weight loss measures including diet and exercise. Obesity is one of the main reasons for acidity, and managing weight can help control acidity.
- Smoking is a major cause of acidity. The negative pressure created during smoking helps regurgitation of acid, causing heartburn. Quitting smoking can help relieve long-term acidity symptoms.
- Alcohol is another substance that aggravates acidity, and reducing or quitting can help in relieving acidity.
- Baking soda, aloe juice, banana, chewing gum, mustard, almonds, and chamomile are some natural remedies to relieve acidity.
- Most people have certain foods which are the triggers for acidity. Identifying these and avoiding these can also be a good way to manage acidity.
- Acidity is a major concern during pregnancy. The bloated feeling is worsened by the acidity and the developing baby.
- Clothes which have tight belts or are tight around the waist can be another reason for acidity.
While acidity is a common issue, it also is something that can be easily managed. Try the above measures and see your heartburn reduce. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a general physician.