Acidity - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

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Summary about Acidity

Acidity is characterized by the increased secretion of acid in the stomach that causes pain and burning sensation in the middle of chest after the intake of meal. It consists of the feeling of heartburn that is felt in the area of the lower part of the chest. This is caused by the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. Many people are completely unaware that this occurs because of habits and lifestyle choices that are very unhealthy.

What happens is that the gastric glands end up generating too much acid than is needed to help in digestion. The consequence is the burning feel that seems to come from just upwards of the stomach or just downwards of the breastbone.

In common tongue, this condition is called ‘heartburn’. It might also be understood as ‘acid indigestion’. In more scientific spheres, acidity is called acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), and acid reflux.

Nevertheless, it is fairly common to experience an occasional heartburn. This type could be relieved by simple antacids.

 

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Symptoms of Acidity

The most common heartburn symptoms are:

  • A burning sensation felt in the chest that can be located right behind the breastbone. This occurs after consuming food and could go on for some minutes to a few hours.
  • Pain in the chest. Particularly when the person bends over or lies down.
  • A burning sensation in the throat.
  • A fluid that tastes warm, bitter, acidic and/or salty comes up at the back of the throat.
  • Swallowing becomes difficult.
  • A sensation of food being stuck in the chest.

Causes of Acidity

The primary cause for acidity is the stomach acid’s backflow into the tubing through which the food that we eat travels from the mouth to the stomach.

In normal circumstances, a muscle band at the end of that tube, right above the stomach, relaxes when the person swallows. This is so that the food and fluids that were consumed can easily enter the stomach. Once the food is completely transported into the stomach, this muscle contracts again and closes the opening.

However, in the case of acidity, this muscle grows weak and the stomach acid flows back up the esophagus. This is the process behind the heartburn. The backflow of acid could become even worse when the person decides to bend over or lay down.

Risk Factors of Acidity

The following foods and drinks, among others, can potentially cause acidity in certain persons:

  • Foods that are spicy
  • Onions
  • Citrus foods
  • Products that have tomato as an ingredient
  • Foods with a lot of fats
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated or caffeinated drinks

Other risk factors that could increase vulnerability to heartburns include being obese or pregnant

Preventive Measures of Acidity

One can prevent heartburns, or at least manage them, by slightly changing their daily routines and lifestyle. These measures could be tried:

  • The individual should avoid going to bed with a full belly. This means that they should eat meals about three to four hours prior to sleeping. Having an empty stomach at sleeping time reduces the chance of acidity.
  • Avoid overeating by lessening the quantity of food consumed per meal. Instead, the total food consumption for the day should be divided into five smaller meals.
  • Eat slowly. Remember to put your fork down between bites. Eating slowly is recommended as well.
  • Clothes that are too tight are also not recommended.
  • The person should identify which types of foods and drinks cause the heartburn and should then avoid them as much as possible.
  • Weight loss is also necessary if the person is overweight. They should start adhering to a weight loss plan.
  • Give up smoking; nicotine is known to weaken the muscle band which restricts the backflow of the food from the stomach.

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