We often hear people say, “I have acidity problems.” But have you ever wondered what they mean by it? What happened when someone says they are suffering from acidity?
How is acidity caused? What can you do to relieve the symptoms caused by acidity? To answer all these questions, you must understand what is acidity?
Table of Contents
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 the 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.
Causes of Acidity
Acidity is caused due to excess production of acid in the stomach by the gastric glands. Factors that cause acidity include:
1. Unhealthy Eating Habits
- Skipping meals or eating at irregular times
- Eating just before sleeping
- Consumption of spicy food
- High intake of table salt
- Diet low in dietary fiber
2. Excessive Consumption of Certain Food
- Drinks such as tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, soft drinks
- Extremely spicy food
- Fat rich food such as pizza, doughnuts, and fried food
3. Side-effects of Certain Temporary Medications as Well as Existing Medications.
It includes medications such as
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Medicines for high blood pressure
- Depression and anxiety medications
4. Stomach Disorders
Stomach disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, tumors, peptic ulcers, among others.
5. Other Acidity Causes include:
- Consumption of non-vegetarian food
- Excessive stress
- Lack of sleep
- Frequent smoking
- Lack of physical exercise
- Frequent consumption of alcohol
People who suffer from medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and connective tissue disorder are more prone to acidity. It is also a common problem in people who are obese, pregnant women, or women who are nearing menopause.
Acidity symptoms differ from one person to another. Most things that contribute to gas also lead to acidity meaning gas and acidity symptoms are almost similar.
While the most common acid reflux symptoms are chest pain and burning sensation below the breastbone, there are other symptoms that are uncommon.
Acidity symptoms include the following:
- Burning sensation and pain in the stomach
- Burning sensation and pain in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing or the sensation of food being stuck in your throat
- Frequent burping or hiccups, for no apparent reason
- Burning sensation and pain in the chest
- Regurgitation: Prolonged sour taste in the mouth or bitter-tasting acid that backs up into your throat and mouth
- Post-meal heaviness
- Bad breath
Hyperacidity Symptoms Include:
- Heartburn: Persistent pain or discomfort that moves from your stomach to your chest and sometimes even up to your throat.
- Chronic discomfort in the upper abdomen
- Bloody or black stool, often accompanied by bloody vomiting
- Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or chronic sore throat
- Weight loss for no apparent reason
While acidity symptoms in the chest are most times diagnosed as acidity, it is always recommended to visit your healthcare provider if the symptoms are persistent.
Your doctor will diagnose either by taking an X-ray of the esophagus and the stomach or with an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and suggest treatment.
How to Treat Acidity?
Thankfully, acid reflux is a condition that’s quite easy to control. That said, it does require a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Let’s discuss this a little more in-depth.
There are several over-the-counter medications available for the treatment of acidity. And while this may work in the short run, we recommend consulting a doctor and creating a long-term plan of action based on the conditions underlying causes.
2. Sleeping time and position
Maintaining a gap of at least 2-3 hours between your mealtime and sleep time is important. It allows food to digest properly and prevent avoid reflux.
Believe it or not, the height and angle of your bed could actually impact your acidity. This is because you are more prone to developing acid reflux when your stomach is in the same line as your esophagus. To prevent this, raise the head of the mattress by 10 cm – 20 cm by placing a few rolled-up towels at one end of it.
3. Try to lose weight
As touched upon before, obesity could cause severe acidity. Hence, it’s important you take the necessary steps required to prevent it. Start by exercising at least 4 times a week and try to avoid deep-fried, fatty, & relatively unhealthy food by replacing it with a good amount of fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
4. Visit a nutritionist
If you experience heartburn on a regular basis, it is probably a good idea to consult a nutritionist. They will give you a better understanding of the food that triggers you and will help you create a well-rounded diet plan suited to your personal requirements. Diet modifications will not only help in keeping acidity under control but also will help in healthy weight loss over a period of time.
When you visit your healthcare provider, your symptoms are considered to determine whether you have acidity or if it is a complication of some other serious problem This is based on your condition and the depth of the acid reflux problem,
- You will be prescribed an antacid that contains aluminum, calcium, or magnesium
- Your doctor may also suggest the use of histamine blocking agents (H2 receptor blockers) such as cimetidine, nizatidine, ranitidine, and famotidine
- If the condition is severe, they may prescribe proton pump inhibitors
- If the condition is extremely severe, your doctor may suggest Vagotomy surgery that helps to reduce the production of acid in the stomach.
Your healthcare provider may suggest certain do’s and don’ts based on your health, which can help you control acidity.
15 Easy Home Remedies for Acidity
Acidity can be frustrating and can have a debilitating effect on your social life. Simple home remedies not only provide quick relief in acidity problems but can also cure them completely.
1. Cold Milk
Drinking cold milk provides great relief in acidity. Milk is rich in calcium and prevents acid buildup in the stomach.
2. Coconut Water
Coconut water is rich in electrolytes, which in turn balance out the excessive acid production.
3. Black Cumin Seeds
Directly chew some cumin seeds or boil 1 teaspoon of them in a glass of water and drink. Black cumin seeds prevent acidity and its symptoms like heartburns, nausea, bloating, constipation, etc.
4. Fennel or Saunf
Have one teaspoon of fennel powder with a glass of warm water for instant relief from acidity and heartburn. Fennel also improves digestion and prevents gas and bloating.
5. Lukewarm Water
Drink lukewarm water on an empty stomach in the morning and at bedtime. It boosts digestion. Subsequently, this helps relieve acidity and its symptoms.
Chew one cardamom every day to get rid of acidity, indigestion, and gastric problems.
7. Watermelon Juice
Drink a glass of watermelon juice daily for instant relief from acidity and heartburn.
Buttermilk is rich in lactic acid that soothes the stomach and normalizes acidity. Drink a glass of buttermilk with a pinch of black pepper and coriander for instant relief in acidity.
Chewing a piece of raw ginger or drinking ginger tea helps prevent acidity and its symptoms. It also improves digestion.
Put a piece of clove in your mouth and swallow its juices. Clove helps to relieve acidity, gastric irritability, indigestion, and nausea.
Banana neutralizes acidity and soothes the stomach. Consume milk and banana together to prevent acidity.
Papaya consists of an enzyme called papain that reduces gastric acid secretion and gives relief from acidity.
Ajwain is an effective anti-acidic agent. It relieves acidity and improves digestion.
Turmeric is a magic spice. It works wonders for our bodies. It also helps relieve acidity and boosts digestion.
Jaggery is great for digestion. So, it can provide instant relief in acidity. It also reduces heartburn and soothes the throat or chest area. Therefore, eating a small piece of jaggery post your meal may help you soothe acid reflux problems.
How to Avoid Getting Acidity?
Mild cases of acid reflux can usually be prevented by adopting a few lifestyle changes. For example:
1. Avoid lying down for three hours after a meal.
2. Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.
3. Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid pressure on your abdomen.
4. Lose excess weight.
5. Quit smoking.
6. Raise the head of your bed six to eight inches by placing wooden blocks under your bed posts. Bed risers are another option for doing this.
Several types of food can cause acid reflux and heartburn. Pay close attention to how you feel after eating different foods. Your triggers may include:
1. fatty or fried foods
4. carbonated beverages, such as soda
8. citrus fruits
11. tomato sauce
If you experience acid reflux or heartburn after eating certain foods, take steps to avoid them.
Acidity or acid reflux is a common problem that most of us face, some on a day-to-day basis. Most times, acidity is accompanied by gas. The reverse can also be true. The most common cause of acid reflux is the consumption of unhealthy food accompanied by alcohol and smoking. Food that has a lot of fat and spice results in a burning sensation in your chest, which is a common symptom of acid reflux.
When the symptoms are mild, home remedies aid in relieving the discomfort caused by the excessive acid produced. You can also take control of acid reflux with few lifestyle changes. But if the symptoms are severe, you may need immediate medical attention.
Acid reflux is not a severe condition. But chronic acidity can cause other health problems that can damage the esophagus. Acidity can be confused with other chest-related problems that can be fatal. It is advised to visit your healthcare provider if the symptoms of acidity are persistent even after taking medication.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Q. What is acidity?
A: Acidity or acid reflux is a very common condition affecting many Indians. This condition is characterized by heartburn felt around the lower chest area, which is caused by stomach acid flowing back up into the food pipe. The common causes are unhealthy eating habits and poor lifestyle choices.
Q. How to cure acidity naturally?
A: The best way to cure acidity naturally is to have a glass of watermelon juice or coconut water. You could also include bananas, cucumber or yogurt in your diet. They are known to provide instant relief for acidity.
Q. What is heartburn?
A. Heartburn is the burning sensation that an individual experiences anywhere between their stomach and throat. It is caused due to acidity and requires various lifestyle changes to get under control. This symptom is often accompanied by a coughing fit, hiccups, sore throat, bad breath, bloating, dizziness, and/or vomiting.
Q. Can acidity be treated?
A. While types of acidity, such as GERD cannot be cured, there are several over-the-top medications that you can use to help you cope with the condition. You can also modify your diet and workout plan or try to lose extra weight. But it is best to consult with your doctor and discuss treatment options.
Q. Is managing your diet important for preventing acidity?
A. Yes, it is! Your weight and the type of food you eat are two of the main causes of acidity. Hence, to prevent frequent heartburns, it’s important that you manage your diet accordingly.
Q. Do acidic people have multiple symptoms?
A. Yes! Besides heartburn, these people experience excess burping, bloating, and hiccuping. They can also experience nausea and dysphagia.
Q. How to avoid getting acidic?
A: Mild cases of acid reflux can usually be prevented by adopting a few lifestyle changes. For example: Avoid lying down for three hours after a meal. eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid pressure on your abdomen, lose excess weight and quit smoking.
Several types of food can cause acid reflux and heartburn. Pay close attention to how you feel after eating different foods. Your triggers may include Fatty or fried foods, alcohol, coffee, carbonated beverages, such as soda, chocolates etc. If you experience acid reflux or heartburn after eating certain foods, take steps to avoid them.
Q. What causes acidity?
A. Some causes of acid reflux are poor clearance of food from the oesophagus, excessive acid in the stomach, or even delayed stomach emptying.
Q. Is milk good for acidity?
A. Cold milk is known to relieve heartburn. The calcium and protein in milk prevent acid buildup. However, it can cause abdominal bloating, nausea and vomiting for people who are lactose intolerant.
Q. Is acidity a serious problem?
A. Frequent acidity problems in people can be the cause of underlying problems that need immediate attention. Also, long-term effects of acid reflux may also cause ulcers, strictures and aspiration pneumonia.
Q. Which foods increase acidity?
A. Caffeine, Chocolate, Fried and Junk Foods, dairy products and high-sodium condiments are some of the foods that can cause acidity.
Q. Which drink is best for acidity?
A. Herbals Teas, Jeera Water, Coconut Water can be helpful to ease acidity.
Q. Can acidity be cured permanently?
A. Yes, you can adopt practices like investing in stress management, regular workouts and cut down on excessive smoking or drinking, frequent consumption of junk and oily foods.
Q. Does coffee help in acidity?
A. No, coffee contains caffeine in excessive quantities, it can rather trigger acid reflux.
Q. What stops acid reflux instantly?
A. There are few remedies that can work other than medication. You may try sipping apple cider vinegar, chewing sugar-free gum, eating fruits like a banana, melon and cucumber.
Q. What are the symptoms of too much acid in your stomach?
A. Acidity is caused when your stomach acids are pushed up your oesophagus. The symptoms can vary from person to person. However, they are heartburn, nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, etc.
Q. Which fruit is best for acidity?
A. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges neutralize the acidity in the stomach and are the best cure for acidity.
Q. Is Lemon Juice Good for acidity?
A. Yes, lemon juice is alkaline in nature and can help in neutralizing the acid in the stomach.