The stomach normally secretes acid that is essential in the digestive process. This acid helps in breaking down the food during digestion. When there is excess production of acid in the stomach, it results in the condition known as acidity. Most acidity problems occur after meals, when doing some heavy exercise and applying pressure in the intra-abdominal region or at night when lying down. Acidity refers to a set of symptoms caused by an imbalance between the acid secreting mechanism of the stomach and proximal intestine and the protective mechanisms that ensure their safety. There are certain types of ulcers where acid secretion is either normal or even low. Acidity is responsible for symptoms like dyspepsia, heartburn and the formation of ulcers. It is also more common in the developed and industrialised nations, though a recent increase in incidence has also occurred in the developing countries. A peptic ulcer is a raw area in the lining of the upper part of the small intestine or the stomach, whose protective mucosal lining has been eroded away by the gastric juices. Duodenal ulcers are three times more common than gastric ulcers.
Acidity is more common in highly emotional and nervous individuals. In case of severe gastric ulcer, pain may get aggravated on intake of food and relieved after vomiting. Dyspepsia and heartburn are often the main symptoms of acidity. Heartburn is characterised by a deeply placed, burning pain in the chest behind the sternum. Peptic ulcer disease can sometimes occur without symptoms. Acid production in patients with duodenal ulcers tends to be higher than normal, while in those with stomach or gastric ulcers, it is usually normal or lower. Pepsin is an enzyme that breaks down proteins. Pepsin and hydrochloric acid cause damage to the stomach or duodenum if the stomach's protective system is altered or damaged. Lack of adequate blood flow to the stomach contributes to ulcers. Symptoms may also arise when there is no ulcer present, which is known as non-ulcer dyspepsia. A suitable diet must be strictly followed avoiding spicy, salty and acidic foods. Smoking and alcohol consumption must be stopped.
Causes of Acidity
Common Causes of Acidity:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.
- Consumption of Alcohol.
- Excessive exposure to sun and heat.
- Non-vegetarian diets.
- Stress-related conditions like anger, fear, worrying.
Precautions of Acidity
- Stop smoking and cut down on alcohol.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid irregular and hurried meals.
- Do not eat just before going to bed.
Home Remedies for Acidity
Home Remedies for Acidity:
- Intake of raw garlic is very beneficial.
- Drink fresh mint juice slowly after meals.
- Chew a few holy basil leaves to get relief from burning, nausea and gas.
- Eat watermelon, banana or cucumber every hour.
- Drink coconut water 4-5 times a day.
- Boil cumin seeds in a glass of water and drink it with meals.
- Herbal tea containing spearmint (pudina) and liquorice (mulethi) is also beneficial instead of normal tea, coffee and other aerated drinks.
- A teaspoon of amla ( Indian gooseberry) powder diluted in water is also effective.