The human stomach is a complex organ. It produces many acids and enzymes that help in digestion of the food you eat. Proper working of the stomach is needed to ensure a healthy lifestyle and proper functioning of your body. An upset stomach can result in many problems for you. These problems can affect your body and reduce your productivity. One such problem is an increase in stomach acid in your system. This condition is known as acidity or acid reflux; in medical terms, it is referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
In this article, we will highlight the causes of this disease, its symptoms, and treatments.
A lot of people are affected by acidity around the globe without any distinction of age or sex. Acidity is basically the flowing of stomach acid into your food pipe known as the esophagus. The connection between your food pipe and stomach is controlled by the movement of a valve known as the lower esophageal sphincter valve. As soon as the food passes inside your stomach, this valve closes and hence ensures that no stomach acid reaches esophagus. If this valve does not close correctly and opens too often, the acids produced inside your stomach can move in the esophagus and cause you some problems.
Causes of Acidity
There are various causes linked to acidity. Following are the most common causes behind this problem
Eating Routine – People who do not have a proper eating routine are more likely to suffer from too much stomach acid. They keep on eating at different times and stomach produces more acid than needed. Due to this disturbed routine, the chances of stomach acid flowing in the food pipe also increase. If you have a habit of lying down right after a meal, you are at a higher risk of suffering from acid reflux as compared to someone who gives proper time to stomach for digestion of food.
Obesity – Obesity is another problem that causes chronic acidity. People who are overweight consume more, and hence stomach produces more stomach acid and chances of having acidity are more.
Too much Spicy and Oily Food – If you consume a diet that is rich in spice and oil, your stomach will produce a high quantity of stomach acid to neutralize the components of such a diet. People, who consume such foods more often, report the acidity problem as compared to others.
Consumption of Alcohol, Tea, and Coffee – Beverages like alcohol, tea, and coffee increase the production of stomach acid and hence put you at a higher risk of suffering from acidity.
Smoking – Smoking directly impacts your digestion and hence disturbs the production of stomach acid. Smokers are more likely to suffer from overproduction of acids in the stomach.
Pregnancy – Pregnant women have to bear a lot of internal changes inside their body. When the baby is developing, production of stomach acid is disturbed, and they suffer from symptoms of acidity.
Medications – Medications like aspirin, relaxers, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications can alter the production of stomach acid and become a reason for acidity.
Acidic Foods – Over consumption of foods that have a high content of citric acid also become a reason of too much stomach acid in your system.
Existing Medical Conditions – Some existing medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, peptic ulcers, hiatal hernia, and connective tissue disorders can also cause acidity.
Symptoms of Acidity
If you are suffering from acidity, it is possible that you may not experience all the signs at any one point of time, the intensity of symptoms can vary from one person to another. Following are the most common symptoms associated with acid reflux:
- Heartburn – Heartburn is characterized as a burning pain or sensation that usually spreads from your stomach towards your chest and may reach your throat.
- Sour Taste – You may feel that your taste has gone sour and there is something acidic on your taste glands.
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- Black feces
- Blood vomiting
- Bad breath
- Disrupted sleep
If you are suffering from a chronic acidity problem, then you need to consult your doctor. However, if your acidity is not persistent and you face this problem randomly or once in two weeks, you can rely on some fruits, eatables, improving your routine, and adjusting eating habits.
Rely on Healthy Foods
Bananas – Bananas have low acidic content. This fruit can help you by coating the irritated lining of the esophagus. Bananas can also help you in improving your digestion as they have high fiber content.
Melons – Melons are also an alkaline fruit and can significantly counter the extra production of stomach acid. Melons also provide you with temporary relief from heartburn and other symptoms of acidity.
Green Vegetables –Vegetables like spinach, asparagus, and kale are very helpful in fighting acid reflux. They are high in alkaline and can help you deal with the increased acidity in your stomach.
Yogurt – When suffering from acidity, a bowl of fresh yogurt always helps. It gives a soothing effect to your burning food pipe. Yogurt has good bacteria in it that help in digestion of the food.
Oatmeal – Oatmeal is high in fiber and helps in finishing constipation. Constipation is one of the main problems faced due to acid reflux. Oatmeal also helps in regularizing the bowel movements, when the stomach is working in perfect condition, the chances of developing acid reflux decrease considerably.
Improve your Routine
You can deal with acidity by upgrading your routine. Doctors advise the following to people suffering from acidity
- Give up smoking
- Regular exercise of at least 30 minutes
- Losing extra weight
- Wearing relaxed clothing and avoiding tight belts
- Sitting straighter, rather than bending down while sitting
Improve Eating Habits
You can employ the following changes in your eating habit to fight the problem of acid reflux
- Reduce the amount of oil and spice in your food
- Give at least 3 hours for food to digest before lying down or sleeping
- Instead of consuming extra-large meals twice a day, eat smaller healthy meals after 2-3 hours
- Reducing alcohol, caffeine and acidic content in your diet.
Though acidity impacts people of all ages without any discrimination of age and sex, there are some factors identified as risk factors. People having these factors in their life are more prone to suffer from acidity. Doctors identify the following factors as risk factors associated with the problem of too much stomach acid
- No physical exercise routine
- High consumption of medications like drugs of asthma, painkillers, sedatives, and antidepressants
Acidity can be problematic sometimes; it can affect the quality of your personal and professional life. We are confident that you will now have a better idea about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of acidity and will be able to deal with it a better way. If you still face the problem of acidity after working on the medications listed above, we recommend that you visit a doctor urgently.