This article is written to educate people about the seriousness of hyperacidity. Preventing and treating this condition early may help avoid its complications.
We will discuss one of the most common and frequent complaints that we are contacted for or consulted for - “Acidity.” Many patients get confused with the two words; common and normal. They are not the same. Though being common, it is in no way normal and should never be taken lightly, as it is in most cases a root cause of major illnesss. Let us first understand the term.
The medical term used for acidity is hyperchlorhydria or hyperacidity, which causes increased secretion of HCl (hydrochloric acid), a part of the digestive process. When our body requires energy, or when it is time for our lunch or dinner, the stomach cells start secreting this acid, making us feel hungry. In hyperacidity, we have increased secretion of the HCl, which not only irritates the stomach’s inner layer (mucous membrane) but also gets regurgitated in our food pipe (esophagus). This regurgitation is called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). We call this heartburn, as it irritates the region of the heart.
The exact cause of hyperacidity is not known, but it is linked with some factors, such as:
Irregular eating habits.
The wrong type of diet.
Highly spiced food.
Even a hereditary predisposition is also there.
Regurgitation of the acid in the reverse direction leads to:
Burning in the chest, the stomach region, and sometimes the entire abdomen.
Sour taste in the mouth.
Uneasiness, especially while lying down at night.
All these details are very readily available on the end number of websites. But this is kind of an introduction. Through this article, I wanted to share the dangerous side effects and how to save yourself from them. Unfortunately, most of the patients suffering from this complaint miss the seriousness of the timely treatment of the illness. Why I want to stress more on it will get clear once you complete reading the whole article.
The following are some conditions of acidity:
1) I have witnessed and treated so many patients with the same illness that sometimes I cannot refrain from judging patients on their behavior. I have seen both extremes: patients who just have heartburn and mistake it as a heart attack and keep on visiting the clinics and hospital to get a check-up, and on the other end, those patients who actually needed emergency cardiac support considered it just heartburn and tried to treat themselves with over-the-counter prescriptions of antacids.
Many unfortunate families have lost their dear and near ones in the same way. And it is not that it is because of a lack of knowledge or money. But many patients just forcefully want to believe that they cannot have a cardiac event. And many do not visit the hospital due to a fear that they will be diagnosed with something serious. I still cannot understand the logic behind such thoughts. It is like closing our eyes and believing nobody can see us. And it is more common with well-educated persons. In no way am I trying to state that one must visit the clinic whenever he or she feels similar symptoms. But one must learn to appreciate the severity.
In cases where there is no previous history of such symptoms, or when it last longer than usual, or when there are other associated complaints like the feeling of uneasiness, difficulty in breathing, chest palpitation, pain radiating to the other parts like to hands or lower jaws, etc., they can be indications of a heart attack. Also, when it is too frequent or causes considerable loss of productive hours, one must seek medical advice and refrain from experimenting with home remedies and over-the-counter medications.
2) Patients who suffer from GERD are at higher risk of developing cancer in the upper gastrointestinal tract. It is ranked as one of the highest reasons for mortality at an early age. Cancer is believed to be produced by a chronic injury to a part by any irritants like the reflux of the acids in the esophagus. Early treatment can save you from it.
3) Chronic (long-term) hyperacidity can irritate the digestive tract, including the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. This can result in ulcers, which are a cause of severe pain on a daily basis. It is termed gastric and peptic ulcer or acid-peptic disease. However, this is not the end. If the ulcers are not taken care of, they can result in perforation also.
Usually, the patients suffering from hyperacidity have to take medicines for a longer time. Say three to four months, after which they can stop, only to have it resumed after a short time. So I do not think anyone will agree to remain dependent on medicines to enjoy their food and life. It is in no sense an enjoyment.
Most patients fail to appreciate the severity of the matter. So let me give you some easy ways to escape from this evil:
Regulate Your Time Table - Our body’s physiology has a tendency to adjust its biological clock according to our regular routine. Most of us feel hungry at regular intervals because our bodies have been accustomed to such a manner. When we do not maintain that regularity in our diet, our biological clock goes haywire and starts producing acids excessively. If we do not take food while the stomach is filled with acids, then the acids have a chance to damage the mucous membrane, ultimately leading to ulcer formation.
Take Moderately Spicy Food - Excess spices can irritate and aggravate the condition, but they may not be the cause.
Avoid Lying Down Just After Heavy Meals - As the stomach takes at least 1 to 1 and half hours to empty the contents after the meal, if we lie down during this time, it will cause regurgitation of the food in the food pipe and irritates. Instead, take a 10-minute walk and then sit in an erect position. After one and a half or two hours of a meal, you can lie down in the right lateral position to facilitate the emptying of the stomach contents into the intestines.
Avoid Taking Medicines as Soon as You Have Heartburn - Instead of taking medicines immediately, take lots of water to dilute the stomach acids. And make the necessary changes in your routine as suggested above.
The Psychological State of the Person - Stress, tension, anxiety, fear, sadness, and negative emotions can harm our psychological and physical health. And it has been proved now. Most of the books now freely write them as etiological factors. But advising an anxious or a sad person does not solve the problem. If they could avoid or control it, then what were they waiting for? In a case where these are results of some adverse conditions in life, the only solution is to correct them. If they are a part of a psychological illness, then it requires proper treatment. For that, I suggest everyone choose the homeopathic system of medicine, as it directly acts on the psychosomatic plane of the disease and corrects them at the very core.
Exercise Regularly - Regular practice of Yoga Asanas, Pranayama, or exercise helps improve both physical and mental health.
Chronic Diseases - Patients who suffer from diseases like hypertension, diabetes, or other chronic conditions should get their routine check-ups and never underestimate the appearance of a new normal or common symptom.
Other than these tips, antacids or PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) used in allopathy have many side effects. Instead of that, some homeopathic medicines like Nux Vomica, Robinia, Iris Versicolor, Natrum Phos, Carbo Veg, and Lycopodium are very beneficial if matched correctly. Do not self-medicate, no matter how trivial the complaints are.
Proper homeopathy treatment can treat the causes of hyperacidity and improve the acidity symptoms very effectively and rapidly than any other therapy. Moreover, it leads to an actual cure rather than a temporary suppression of symptoms.
Hyperacidity is a prevalent condition characterized by abdominal discomfort after eating food due to the excessive acid production inside the stomach. Nausea, vomiting, burning sensation in the breastbone area, blenching, gassiness, food aversion, and abdominal distention are the symptoms of hyperacidity.
Milk helps fight against acidity, and in specific, a glass of cold milk without any additives like sugar absorbs the acid formed in the stomach. It thereby alleviates the symptoms of hyperacidity like reflux or burning sensation.
A cup of warm water helps clear out the toxins present in the body, break down the foods, and energize the digestive system. Therefore, a cup of warm water helps provide relief from hyperacidity.
- Black pepper.
- Alcohol and, in particular, red wine.
- Raw onions.
- Spicy foods.
- Citrus fruits.
- Coffee, tea, beverages, and carbonated drinks.
Upper abdominal pain, burning sensation in the stomach, chest, and throat, belching, nausea, vomiting, sour taste in the mouth, and abdominal bloating are the signs that help in diagnosing hyperacidity. In addition to this, the esophageal pH test helps analyze the acid level in the stomach over 24 hours.
Hyperacidity can be cured by following the below.
- Eat frequent small meals.
- Avoid foods that induce acid production and carbonated beverages.
- Do not have a nap after lunch.
- Avoid late-night snacking.
- Keep the head in a slightly raised position while sleeping.
- Lose weight.
- Avoid smoking.
Poor and sedentary lifestyle, lying down soon after lunch, eating late at night, smoking, and eating heavy meals are the most common causes of hyperacidity.
Proton-pump inhibitors like Esomeprazole, Omeprazole, and Lansoprazole and acid reducers like Cimetidine, Famotidine, and Nizatidine are the drugs that help treat hyperacidity.
Despite being acidic, a small amount of lemon mixed with water has an alkalizing effect and helps in neutralizing the effect of acid in the stomach.
Chewing two to three tulsi leaves, drinking ginger tea, having a glass of cold milk, cumin seeds, and a cup of mint tea help relieve hyperacidity at home.
Coconut water, cold milk, herbal tea, water, fresh fruit juices, and smoothies help provide relief from hyperacidity.
Last reviewed at:
02 Apr 2022 - 5 min read
Query: Hi doctor, I am a 27 year old male, who weighs 62 kg. My stomach is swollen, and it feels as if it is filled with gas. I also have low appetite, acidity, and indigestion. I used to chew tobacco from a long time, but I quit it recently. I am an occasional drinker, and I am fond of spicy foods. I am... Read Full »
Query: Hello Doctor, I have been suffering from stomach ulcer for the past 2 years. Till now the ulcer was not severe, but since few days I have been having stomach pain everytime after having food. Doctor diagnosed that, I have GERD. But even then I faced GERD problems rarely. But for the past 3 weeks ... Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor,I am having an acidity problem. From the past 10 days, it is being greater due to which I am having a headache from the past 10 days. What should I do to control it and what should be my diet and routine exercise? Read Full »
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