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What Is Acidity?

Medikoe Food n Health Expert

Medikoe Food n Health Expert

  80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru     Mar 23, 2019

   7 min     

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Overview

Acidity is a condition in which acid present in the stomach frequently comes up and flows back into the food pipe and causes heartburn in the chest area. The food pipe or the oesophagus is the tube that connects your mouth and stomach. Acidity, also known as  Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), is a very common uneasiness that affects people all over the world. If one experiences such reflux persistently, twice or thrice a week, they might have to seek professional medical help.

This article covers everything about acidity including:

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, is a condition in which stomach fluids regularly and persistently flows up into the oesophagus. Oesophagus is also referred to as gullet.

The presence of acid in the oesophagus leads to heartburn followed by other symptoms. Besides, it can cause damage to the tissue as well. 

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 15 million of the American population, experience such reflux or severe acidity every day.

How does Acidity Occur?

This problem occurs due to the over secretion of digestive acids in our stomach. While eating when we swallow the food, it passes down the oesophagus into the stomach. The uneasiness occurs when the gastric glands in the stomach produce excess acid for digestion, resulting in a burning sensation in the chest area. This is very common in people who eat a lot of junk and oily food. 

What causes Acid reflux?

It can occur due to:

• Due to unhealthy eating habits

• As a side-effect of certain medications

• Due to the excess consumption of junk foods

• Due to unhealthy medical conditions

• Due to other conditions like lack of sleep, stress etc.

• Diet and lifestyle play a vital role as well. Mint, chocolate, fatty foods, coffee, tea, and alcohol all results in relaxing of your lower oesophagal sphincter.

• One of the significant causes of acidity is the improper functioning of the oesophagus. The reasons for its improper functioning could either be that it has become weak or its inappropriate relaxation. 

• Intake of nicotine from smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco causes GERD.

• The hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy also result in the weakening of the LES. 

• A hiatal hernia, your stomach’s small portion that protrudes just above the diaphragm into your chest and experiences weak contractions in your oesophagal muscles contributes to acid reflux.

• Obesity, among other factors, can also cause gastroesophageal reflux disease. The pressure of your extra weight pushes your abdomen which may overpower the lower oesophagal sphincter, thus allowing the backflow of acid present in your stomach into the food pipe. 

What are the Symptoms of Acidity?

The symptoms that patients experience are:

  1. Heartburn

  2. Chest pain

  3. Wheezing

  4. Nausea

  5. Vomiting

  6. Recurrent pneumonia

  7. Dental erosion

  8. Bad breath  

  9. Pain or difficulty when swallowing

  10. Lump sensation in your throat

  11. A burning sensation in your chest that mainly occurs after eating.

During the night, gastroesophageal reflux disease  symptoms may also include:

• Dry cough

• Worsening asthma 

• Disrupted sleep

• Laryngitis

If you are facing any of the symptoms mentioned above, Book an Appointment with the best doctors near you!

How to Diagnose GERD?

Heartburn is a common symptom of acidity and is easy to be diagnosed. However, these conditions are confused with chest problems like:

Pneumonia

• Pain in the chest wall

• Pulmonary embolus

• Heart attack

If you are facing the symptoms given in the article, consult a doctor or a general practitioner immediately. The diagnosis of GERD may include specific medical tests such as:

• X-ray of your stomach and the oesophagus

• An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. This test would enable your healthcare provider to see your stomach and the lining of your oesophagus.  

Home Remedies for Heartburn

Home remedies can be a good way to cure heartburn. Here are some natural and easily available substances in the market which can cure heartburn:

Banana

When it arrives at the health benefits of banana, it is rich in potassium content and contains natural antacids that help in getting rid of the reflux. It is one of the simplest home remedies for acidity and gas problem. Being a natural antacid, banana is best to help in the removal of harmful toxins. Besides, banana also contains protein and sulphur, which helps in digesting food efficiently.

Tulsi

Tulsi helps in stimulating your stomach for producing more mucous. Basil leaves have soothing and carminative properties, which gives you relief from acidity, instantly. When you are experiencing a burning sensation in your stomach, boil 3-4 leaves of tulsi in a cup of water and drink it. You can also eat basil leaves. This is considered to be one of the most effective and natural home remedies for acidity.

Cold milk

Cold milk is a rich source of calcium, vitamin A and other antioxidants that help you in getting clear, healthy, and glowing skin. It also helps you in keeping your body hydrated and is one of the best-proven home remedies for acidity. Being rich in calcium content, it prevents your stomach from building up of excess acids and provides you relief from acidity.

Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds are also referred to as “Sauf” has many health benefits associated with it. It is also one of the home remedies to treat acidity, as it contains essential oils that provide a soothing effect on your gastrointestinal tract. Once you are done with your meals, chew some fennel seeds as it leads to a healthy digestive tract. You can also add them to tea to get rid of acid reflux.

Coconut water

Drinking coconut water helps in producing mucous in your stomach. It helps in protecting your stomach from the effects of excessive secretion of acid. When you drink coconut water, it turns the ph acidic level into alkaline and offers you relief from inflammation.

Apart from these, there are certain ayurvedic remedies for acidity which can be very effective. 

Risk and Complications 

If acid reflux or GERD is not treated on time, it could lead to many serious health problems in the long term. There are several risk factors and complications associated with an untreated GERD including an increased risk of developing cancer.

Risk Factors Associated with Acid Reflux

The conditions which may lead to an increased risk of acid reflux include:

• Pregnancy

• Delayed emptying of the stomach

Obesity

• Connective tissue disorders like scleroderma

• Hiatal hernia (bulging of the top of the stomach into the diaphragm)

In addition to this, certain other factors can result in acid reflux. Some of these factors include:

• Drinking beverages like tea and coffee

• Eating large and heavy meals

• Eating late at night

• Intake of certain medications

• Smoking

• Eating foods that trigger such as fried or fatty foods 

Complications of Acid Reflux

If acid reflux or acidity problem is left untreated, it can cause severe complications to your health. The complications of acid reflux include:

• Cancer

• Excessive puking

• Difficulty in swallowing

• Gastric ulcers

• Severe chest and abdominal pain 

What are the treatments for GERD?

If you are experiencing acid reflux, your doctor is likely to recommend you make lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications initially. If you do not get relief within a few days, he might prescribe medications or suggest surgery. Over-the-counter medications include antacids that would neutralise the acid present in your stomach. 

See your doctor now!

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Tags:  Digestive health ,General health ,Ayurvedic treatments ,General health ,Gastroentology,Acidity Causes, Acidity Symptoms, Acidity Home Remedies

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