We often see people say that “I have acidity problems.” But have you ever wondered what they mean by this? What happens when someone says that they are suffering from acidity? How is acidity caused? What can you do to relieve the suffering caused by acidity?
To answer all these questions, you must first understand what acidity means.
What is Acidity?
The food that we eat goes into our stomach through the esophagus.
The gastric glands in your stomach then create acid, which is necessary to digest the food.
When the gastric glands create more acid compared to the amount needed for the digestion process, you tend to feel a burning sensation in your lower chest.
This condition is called acidity.
It is a common condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back into the food pipe.
The most common acid reflux symptom is a burning sensation and pain in the chest.
Actually, most people do not realize that poor lifestyle choices are the main reason behind acidity.
When acidity symptoms occur more than twice a week, your doctor may diagnose you with Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Chronic acidity may cause serious risks that include:
- Esophagus damage.
- Increased risk of esophagus cancer, which is more likely to happen if you have a history of this condition in the family.
- Acid reflux can lead to cavities because it wears down the enamel of your teeth.
Causes of Acidity
The acidity is usually caused due to excess production of acid in the stomach by the gastric glands.
Factors that cause acidity include:
- The habit of eating unhealthy food.
- Eating at irregular times or Skipping meals
- Overeating or eating just before sleeping.
- Diet low in dietary fiber
- Consumption of spicy food and High intake of table salt
- Extremely spicy food or Fat rich food such as pizza, doughnuts, and fried food items.
- Excess consumption of certain food items like drinks such as tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, soft drinks.
- Side-effects of certain temporary medications as well as existing medications. Medications such as
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Medicines for high blood pressure
- Medicines for depression and anxiety.
- Stomach disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, tumors, peptic ulcers, etc.
- Consumption of non-vegetarian food
- Excessive stress
- Lack of sleep
- Regular smoking
- Lack of physical exercise
- Regular consumption of alcohol
People who suffer from medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, connective tissue disorder are more targeted towards acidity.
It is also a common problem in pregnant women or women who are nearing menopause.
Symptoms of acidity differ from person to person. Acidity symptoms include the following:
- Burning sensation and pain in the stomach or Throat.
- Difficulty swallowing or the sensation of food being stuck in your throat.
- Frequent burping or hiccups for no apparent reason.
- Burning sensation and pain in the chest.
- Prolonged sour taste in the mouth or bitter-tasting acid that backs up into your throat and mouth.
- Post-meal heaviness
- Bad breath
Hyperacidity symptoms include:
- Heartburn: Persistent pain or discomfort that moves from your stomach to your chest and sometimes even up to your throat.
- Chronic discomfort in the upper abdomen.
- Bloody or black stool often accompanied by bloody vomiting.
- Dry cough, hoarseness, Wheezing, or chronic sore throat.
- Weight loss for no apparent reason is a symptom of hyperacidity.
It is always recommended to visit your healthcare provider if you see that symptoms are constant.
Your doctor will either diagnose the esophagus and the stomach by taking an X-ray or with an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and suggest treatment.
Medical Treatment for Acidity
When the problem of acidity occurs frequently,
- You will be prescribed an antacid that contains aluminum, calcium, or magnesium.
- Your doctor may also suggest the use of histamine blocking agents (H2 receptor blockers) such as cimetidine, nizatidine, ranitidine, and famotidine.
- If the condition is severe, proton pump inhibitors may be prescribed.
- If the condition is extremely severe, your doctor may suggest Vagotomy surgery that helps to reduce the production of acid in the stomach.
Home Remedies for Acidity
Acidity is a common problem so most of us prefer home remedies over medications.
Some home remedies for acidity include the following.
- Coconut water: It soothes your stomach and the digestive system. Take at least two glasses a day.
- Watermelon juice: It is great to counter acidity. Take a glass of watermelon juice with breakfast.
- Fresh lime juice at least an hour before lunch helps to reduce the uneasiness caused by acidity.
- A glass of buttermilk after a spicy meal helps reduce discomfort because the buttermilk contains lactic acid which normalizes the acidity in the stomach.
- You can either munch on a few basil leaves, or boil them in water and drink it frequently to reduce acid reflux. You can also do this with mint leaves.
- Drink a glass of lukewarm water after every meal.
- Include banana, cucumber, and yogurt in your diet.
- Surprisingly, sucking on a piece of clove when you have acidity helps to reduce the symptoms.
- Ginger aids in digestion. You can use ginger by boiling it in a glass of water when it reduces to half a glass then consume it. You can also use it in your cooking.
- Cumin is a great remedy for acidity. Munch on some cumin or boil a teaspoon of cumin in a glass of water. Boil until the water is reduced to half. Drink it on an empty stomach.
- Try chewing gum! As unbelievable as it may sound, chewing gum generates saliva that helps to move the food through the esophagus.
- Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water every morning on an empty stomach.
- Drink at least two liters of water every day.
Lifestyle Changes May Help
The main cause of acidity is your lifestyle, and hence, the most vital remedy is lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle changes that may help include:
- Lose weight if you are obese or overweight.
- Consumption of healthy food
- Maintaining regular eating time with dinner ending at least two to three hours before bed.
- Having small regular meals
- Following a low-carb diet
- Avoid food that triggers acidity such as raw onion and citrus juice
- Avoiding caffeine and carbonated drinks
- Avoid sleeping on your right side
- Cut down on smoking and alcohol
- Keeping your mind and body active
- Starting stress-relieving activities
- Try to avoid medications that cause acidity.
If home remedies do not help in reducing the symptoms of acidity, visit your healthcare provider immediately.