Acidity or acid reflux is when there is backward flow of the stomach's acid into your food pipe. Untreated acidity can result in gastroesophageal reflux disease and cause a host of diseases and health problems. Dr Prabha Sawant, Head of Gastroenterology department at Mumbai's Sion Hospital says these are the 10 ways acidity can affect your health in the long term.
Acidity result in persistent cough: In many patients with acidity and gastroesophageal reflux, the lower esophageal sphincter becomes lax and the acid from the stomach can reach up to the larynx and throat, causing irritation and persistent coughing. The larynx is a hollow organ that forms an air passage to the lungs.
It could affect your oral cavity: Chronic and persistent exposure of the oral cavity to gastric gas can result in dental caries or cavities. This is because your teeth enamel can get eroded over a period of time due to acidity or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),which is a more severe form of acidity .
It can cause peptic ulcer: Acidity can cause peptic ulcer in stomach and the duodenum (first part of the small intestine). Peptic ulcer causes painful sores and ulcers in the stomach lining and has to be treated with antibiotics or even surgery in more chronic cases.
Bad breath: If you're suffering from bad breath despite maintaining good oral hygiene, the cause is acidity. Doctors have linked acid reflux to bad breath. Drink plenty of water and have only sugar free chewing gums to fight bad breath caused by acidity.
Experiencing pain or difficulty while swallowing: GERD patients complain of difficulty in swallowing due to damage to the tissues of their food pipe caused by stomach acid. When your esophagus is constantly exposed to stomach acid, it can lead to narrowing of the lower food pipe and even spasms or scarring.
Nausea or vomiting: If you've constantly been feeling nauseated or vomiting post your meals, there's a high chance you're suffering from acidity if you don't have any other symptoms of a stomach infection or food poisoning.
Persistent bloating: Acidity patients constantly feel full and their stomach looks bloated, especially in-between meals.
Chest pain or heartburn: This is one of the most common symptoms of acidity and happens when the stomach's acid is rushing up your esophagus or food pipe.
Upper abdominal pain: Another common symptom of acidity is abdominal pain. While there are many causes for stomach aches, if it is in the upper area of your stomach, it is highly likely that you're suffering from acidity.
GERD might cause esophageal cancer: In rare and extremely chronic cases of acid reflux, it could result in esophageal cancer . Studies have found that 10 out of 1,000 reflux patients who also have Barrett's esophagus are at an increased risk of esophageal cancer. Barrett's esophagus occurs among acid reflux patients when there are changes in the mucous membranes lining the lower end of the food pipe.