Acidity is 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. The stomach normally secretes acid that is essential which helps in digestion, and also breakdown of food during digestion. When there is excess production of acid by the gastric glands of the stomach then it causes acidity

Acidity in the stomach causes excess gastric acid production that may give heartburn and other problems. The main reason of the acid secreted in moderate quantities in the stomach is to aid in the digestion of proteins that are consumed. The pH of the stomach acid comes between 1.5 to 3.5.

Causes

The stomach, intestines, and digestive glands secrete hydrochloric acid and other enzymes, including pepsin helps in break down and digest food. The stomach should also get protected from the same acid and enzymes, or it too can be attacked by the gastric juices. The acid may enter in Oesophagus (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux), because of some weakness in the normal sphincter mechanism that prevents such reflux. This causes heartburn. It normally occurs after meals and is brought on by excess intra-abdominal pressure like lifting weights or straining.

Symptoms and signs

Dyspepsia and heartburn -Heartburn is characterised by a deeply placed, which causes burning pain in the chest behind the sternum (breast-bone). It occurs after meals and is brought on by excess intra-abdominal pressure for example lifting weights or straining. It can also occur at night on while you are lying down and are relieved when the individual sits up. The pain is very mainly related to posture. Regurgitation of the gastric contents may also be able to take place.

There are more symptoms given below.

  • Bloody stools,black stools or bloody vomiting.
  • Dysphagia — a narrowing of your esophagus, which causes the sensation of food being stuck in your throat.
  • Weight loss without any reason.

Investigations and Diagnosis

The clinical symptoms and history are very important aspects of diagnosis. Any present and

  • Past drug use
  • Chronic use of NSAIDs,
  • Family history with ulcers,
  • Excess alcohol consumption and smoking,
  • Stress assessment and analysis.

Treatment and Prognosis

  • First of all Identifying and avoiding the causative factors are essential in the treatment of acidity.
  • A suitable diet should be strictly followed avoiding spicy, salty and acidic foods.
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption should be stopped.
  • Those who are having highly nervous and emotional disposition and those involved in high-stress jobs should be encouraged to take lifestyle modifying measures.
  • Antacids gives immediate relief of symptoms by neutralizing the excess acid secreted.
  • A group of drugs which is known as H2 Receptor Blockers can cause the stomach to produce less acid by blocking histamine receptors (example: Drugs like Cimetidine, Ranitidine, Famotidine or Nizatidine).
  • Another group of drugs which known as the Proton Pump Inhibitors, which can disable a mechanism in acid-making cells thus stopping acid production are more powerful and include Omeprazole and Lansoprazole. If ulcers have developed, they must be diagnosed ASAP and treated to prevent complications like perforations.
  • Long term therapy lasting for weeks may be required to produce complete healing. Surgical methods of reducing the acid secretion like Vagotomy are being used with decreasing frequency.

Prevention

Healthy-Diet

  • Avoid over consumption of the known causative factors like alcohol consumption, spicy foods, drugs like NSAID’s, steroids etc. High-fat foods. Fried and fatty foods can cause the LES to relax, allowing more stomach acid to back up into the esophagus.
  • Avoid overconsumption of Tomatoes and citrus fruit, chocolates, Garlic, onions and spicy foods.
  • Limit the intake of caffeine, mint.
  • Fruits and vegetables are important in a healthy diet.
  • Patients who suffering from highly nervous and emotional disposition and those involved in stressful jobs must be given psychological treatment.
  • Avoid non-vegetarian diets which will be useful in minimizing symptoms of acidity.
  • Lose weight as obesity can play major role in this.
  • Avoid foods that causes to acid reflux.
  • Eat smaller meals and do not lie down after eating.
  • Review your medications.
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