Acidity Overview :
We have heard people complaining about having a burning sensation in the chest or they say they have got acidity. But ever wondered what is acidity or how its caused? Let’s understand what is acidity and How is acidity caused? Acidity or acid reflux is a very common condition affecting many, some on a day-to-day basis. Young people are complaining of acidity more. Due to a sedentary lifestyle, and high consumption of unhealthy foods, there has been a significant rise in the number of people suffering from acidity. This condition is identified by heartburn felt around the lower chest area or the sour is caused by the stomach acid flowing back up into the food pipe. Very few people realize the unhealthy eating habits and poor lifestyle choices that cause this condition.
What is Acidity?
The food we eat goes into our stomach through the esophagus. The gastric glands in your stomach create acid, which is necessary to digest food. When the gastric glands create more acid than needed for the digestion process, you can feel a burning sensation below the breastbone. This condition is commonly known as acidity.
Acidity, also called acid reflux, is a condition that is characterized by heartburn that is felt around the lower chest area. It is a common condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe. The most common acid reflux symptom is a burning sensation in the chest or pain. While most people suffer in pain, they do not realize that poor lifestyle choices are the primary 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 lead to serious risks that include:
Esophagus damage: Esophagus is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach and when acid moves back up and enters the esophagus, it sets the stage for esophageal ulcers, oesophagitis, esophageal strictures, and Barrett’s Oesophagus.
Esophagus cancer: There is an increased risk of esophagus cancer, which is more likely if you have a history of the condition in the family.
Cavities/tooth decay: Acid reflux can wear down the enamel of your teeth and lead to cavities.
Acidity Symptoms :
Most of us have experienced heartburn – that burning sensation in the chest – at some point in our lives. This is because it is the most common symptom of an acidity problem.1,2
Quite a lot of people suffer from heartburn at night, and around three out of every four of these people say it disrupts their sleep.3 Acidity problems at night may be related to lifestyle factors – you can learn more about that here.
Heartburn also commonly occurs during pregnancy. In fact, it is often seen as a completely normal part of being pregnant.4 Learn more about what you can do to manage heartburn during your pregnancy journey here.
If you experience severe or very frequent heartburn (2 or more times a week) and often have acid reflux, make an appointment with your doctor as this may indicate a more serious form of acidity, called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Acidity Causes :
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.
Consuming too much alcohol.
Stomach disorders such as stomach tumors, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and peptic ulcers.
Medications such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Acidity Treatment :
Usually, acidity is treated with the help of antacids which contain either magnesium or calcium aluminum-containing compounds. These antacids neutralize the excess acid in the stomach thus providing relief from the symptoms. Read about food dos and don’ts for acidity.
Sometimes, histamine-blocking agents (H2 receptor blockers) such as cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine, or nizatidine or proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole and lansoprazole can also be prescribed by your physician. In rare cases, surgery (vagotomy) is performed to reduce the acid sensation. Here’s how to relieve indigestion, gas, and irritable bowel syndrome with yoga.
Home Remedies for Acidity :
Here are 10 home remedies for acidity that actually work –
Saunf or aniseed
Mint leaves or pudina
Here’s how to use these home remedies for acidity.
Acidity can be prevented by the following methods:
Don’t consume spicy food (Read: Pickle with every meal – good or bad?)
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Eat small, regular meals
Consume your last meal at least a few hours before sleeping
Chew tulsi leaves, cloves, saunf, etc.
Avoid medications like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and steroids
Here are 5 reasons why drinking water during your meals is bad for you.