You might hear people say ‘I have acidity problems.’ But do you know what it means? Why do you also have a chest burn sometimes? What can you do to relieve the discomfort caused due to acidity? To answer these questions, you need to know what exactly acidity means.
What is Acidity?
The food you eat goes into your stomach through your food pipe or oesophagus. The gastric glands within your stomach from acid, which is essential for food digestion.
When your gastric glands create too much acid for the digestion process, you start feeling a burning sensation under your breastbone. This condition is called acidity.
You can identify acidity by heartburn, which you can feel near your lower chest area. It is a condition that occurs when your stomach acid flows back up into your food pipe.
While most people feel pain, they do not notice that their poor lifestyle choices are the reason behind their acidity problem.
Causes of Acidity
Some of the factors that cause acidity include:
Unhealthy eating habits
Skipping meals or eating at different times
Sleeping immediately after eating
Eating too much
Consuming too much table salt
Diet low in fibre
Excessive consumption of some food
Drinks such as coffee, tea, carbonated and soft drinks
Eating extremely spicy food
Fat containing food like pizza, doughnuts, and fried food
Side-effects of Medications
Acidity could also be a side effect of medicines such as:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
High blood pressure medications
Stomach disorder such as tumours, peptic ulcers etc.
Consumption of non-vegetarian food
Too much stress
Lack of exercise
Overconsumption of alcohol
If you have medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, connective tissue disorder, you are more prone to acidity. Acidity also becomes a common problem if you are obese, pregnant or nearing menopause.
Acidity symptoms are different in different people. While the most common acidity symptoms are chest pain and burning feeling under the breastbone; there are some other not so common symptoms as well.
Acidity symptoms include:
Burning feeling and pain in your stomach
Pain in your throat along with a burning sensation
Continuous burping or hiccups for no reason
Regurgitation: bitter-taste acid that moves back up into your throat and mouth
Heaviness after meals
When you visit your doctor, they will determine whether your symptoms are of acidity or some other problem. Based on your condition and the level of your acidity problem:
Your doctor will prescribe an antacid which contains calcium, aluminium or magnesium.
Your doctor might recommend histamine blocking agents such as cimetidine, nizatidine and ranitidine.
If your acidity condition is severe, your doctor might prescribe proton pump inhibitors.
Also, your doctor will suggest you some dietary and lifestyle tips that can be helpful for acidity.
Home Remedies for Acidity
Acidity is a common problem that many suffer from at least once in their life. Most of us usually want home remedies over medications.
Some of the home remedies for acidity include the following:
Coconut water can soothe your stomach and your digestive system. Take at least 2 glasses per day.
Watermelon juice is a great counter to acidity. You can drink a glass of watermelon juice with your breakfast.
One glass of buttermilk after eating spicy food can help reduce the uneasiness. Buttermilk contains lactic acid that normalizes the acidity in your stomach.
You can either chew on a few basil leaves or boil them in water and drink.
Drink a glass of lukewarm water after your meals.
Add banana yoghurt and cucumber in your diet. They can give quick relief from acidity.
Sucking on a piece of clove can help to reduce acidity symptoms.
Drink at least 2 litres of water every day.
Lifestyle habits can also add to your acidity problems. So, adopt these tips into your life:
Eat healthy food
Maintaining regular eating times, end your dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime
Have small regular meals
Follow a low-carb diet
Avoid food that leads to acidities such as citrus juice and raw onion
Avoiding carbonated drinks and caffeine
Avoid sleeping on your right side, when facing acidity
Reduce or eliminate smoking and alcohol
Keeping yourself physically active
Start stress-relieving exercises
Avoid medications that cause acidity
When the symptoms are mild, these home remedies can help in relieving the discomfort caused by acidity. You can also control acidity with a few lifestyle changes. But if your symptoms are severe, you might require immediate medical care.
Acidity is not a severe condition. However, chronic acidity can cause health problems which can damage your oesophagus.
Acidity is often confused with other chest related issues that can be dangerous. You must consult your gastroenterologist if your acidity symptoms are persistent even after taking medicines.