We often hear people say, “I have acidity problems.” But have you ever wondered what they meant by that? What if someone said they had acidity?
The food we eat enters our stomach through the esophagus. The gastric glands in your gut make acid, which is needed to digest food. When the stomach glands produce more acid than is necessary for the digestion process, there tends to be a burning sensation under the breastbone. This condition is commonly referred to as acidity.
Acidity, also called acid reflux, is characterized by heartburn that occurs around the lower region of the chest. It’s a common condition that occurs when stomach acid returns to the food pipe. The most common symptom of acid reflux is a burning sensation in the chest and pain. While most people suffer from pain, they don’t realize those terrible lifestyle choices are the main reason for acidity.
Causes of acidity
Acidity is caused by excessive acid production in the stomach by the gastric glands producing too much acid. Factors that cause acidity include:
1. Unhealthy eating habits
- Skipping meals or eating at irregular times
- Eat right before sleeping
- Eating too much
- Consumption of spicy foods
- High intake of cooking salt
- Diet low in dietary fiber trumps salt consumption
2. Excessive consumption of particular food
- Drinks such as tea, coffee, soft drinks, carbonated drinks
- Very spicy food
- High-fat foods like pizza, donuts, and fried foods High-fat foods like pizza can cause acidity.
3. Side effects of some temporary medications and existing medications.
It includes drugs such as
- Steroid-free anti-inflammatory drugs
- Medications for high blood pressure
- Medicines for depression and anxiety: too many drugs
4. Stomach disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, tumors, stomach ulcers, among others.
5. Other causes include
- Consumption of non-vegetarian foods
- Excessive stress
- Lack of sleep
- Frequent smoking
- Lack of exercise
- Frequent alcohol consumption can lead to acidity.
- People suffering from medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, connective tissue disorders, and the like are more prone to acidity. It is also a common problem in obese people, pregnant women, or women approaching menopause.
Symptoms of acidity
Symptoms of acidity differ from person. Majority of the things that contribute to gas also lead to the meaning of acidity; the symptoms of gas and acidity are almost similar. On the other hand, the most common acid reflux symptoms are chest pain and a burning sensation under the breastbone, other symptoms are rare. Symptoms of acidity are as follows:
- Burning sensation and pain in the stomach
- The sensation of burning and pain in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing or a feeling of food stuck in the throat
- Burping or frequently hiccup for no apparent reason
- Burning sensation and chest pain
- Regurgitation: sour taste in the mouth or sour with a bitter taste that goes up in the throat and mouth
- Heaviness after meals
- Bad breath
- Restlessness, nausea is a symptom of acidity
Symptoms of hyperacidity include:
- Heartburn: persistent pain or discomfort that travels from the stomach to the chest and sometimes even the throat.
- Chronic discomfort in the upper abdomen
- Bloody or black stools are often accompanied by bloody vomit.
- Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or chronic sore throat
- Weight loss for no apparent reason, nausea is a symptom of hyperacidity.
- While breast acidity symptoms are usually diagnosed as acidity, it is still recommended to see your health care provider if symptoms persist. The doctor will diagnose by taking an X-ray of the esophagus and stomach or by endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract and suggest treatment.
When you see your healthcare provider, your symptoms will be looked at to determine if you have acidity or if it is a possible complication of another problem. Depending on your condition and the depth of your acid reflux problem,
You will be prescribed an antacid containing aluminum, calcium, or magnesium.
Your doctor may also suggest using histamine blockers (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 severe, your doctor may suggest vagotomy surgery, which helps reduce the production of acid in the stomach.
Your healthcare professional may be able to suggest certain do’s and don’ts based on your health, which can help you keep acidity under control.
Home remedies for acidity
Some of the home remedies for acid reflux are as follows:
- Coconut Water: This delicious treat is known to soothe the stomach and digestive system. Take at least two glasses a day.
- Watermelon juice: excellent for counteracting acidity. You can take a glass of watermelon juice for breakfast.
- Fresh lime juice is taken at least an hour before lunch helps reduce the discomfort caused by acidity.
- A glass of buttermilk after a spicy meal will help ease discomfort, as buttermilk contains lactic acid, which normalizes stomach acidity.
- You can either snack on a few basil leaves or boil it in water and drink them regularly to reduce acid reflux. You can do this with mint leaves too.
- Drink a glass of warm water after each meal
- Include banana, cucumber, and yogurt in your diet. They are known to give immediate relief from acidity.
- Surprisingly, sucking up a piece of clove if you have acidity helps reduce symptoms.
- Ginger aids in digestion. Use ginger in cooking or boil it in a water glass, reduce it to half a glass and consume the water.
- Cumin is an excellent remedy for acidity—snack on cumin or boils a teaspoon of cumin in a glass of water. Boil until the water has reduced by half. Drink it on an empty stomach.
- Try the chewing gum! As incredible as it may seem, chewing gum generates saliva, which helps move 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 a day; drinking coconut water can help cure the acidity.
The leading cause of acidity is your lifestyle, so lifestyle changes are an essential remedy. Lifestyle changes that can help include:
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
- Consumption of healthy food
- Maintain a regular schedule with dinner ending at least two to three hours before bedtime
- Have small regular meals
- After a low-carbohydrate diet
- Avoid foods that trigger acidity like raw onion and lemon juice
- Avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks
- Don’t sleep on your right side
- Cut down on smoking and alcohol
- Keep your mind and body active
- Start anti-stress activities
- Try to avoid drugs that cause acidity physical activity
- Pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, heart attack, chest wall pain, and other chest ailments can easily confuse acid reflux. If home remedies do not help reduce the symptoms of acidity, see your healthcare professional immediately.
Acidity or acid reflux is a common problem that most of us face, some daily. Most of the time, the acidity is accompanied by gas. The reverse may also be true. The most common cause of acid reflux is eating unhealthy foods, along with alcohol and tobacco. Foods high in fat and herbs result in a burning sensation in the chest, a typical acid reflux symptom.
When symptoms are mild, home remedies help relieve the discomfort caused by excess acid produced. You can also control acid reflux with some lifestyle changes. But if the symptoms are severe, you may need immediate medical attention.
Acid reflux on its own isn’t a severe condition. But chronic acidity can cause other health problems that can damage the esophagus. Acidity can be confused with other chest-related issues that can be fatal. It is advisable to consult your healthcare professional if symptoms of acidity are persistent even after taking medications.