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Acidity - causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

Acidity is a cause for concern if it occurs too often. Read everything you need to know about the disease.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : August 8, 2014 6:06 PM IST

acidityAcidity is an extremely common ailment that everyone has suffered at least once in their lifetime. While some people have it once every few months, there are some who have it pretty often. Taking antacids to fight it may be okay if it occurs rarely, but if it occurs more often then it is a cause for concern.

It is a condition in which a person's stomach glands start overproducing gastric acids necessary for digestion especially hydrochloric acid. This overproduction does not make you digest food better, but instead causes problems like heartburn, nausea, belching and constipation among others.

Causes

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Here are some of the causative factors that lead to acidity.

  1. Stress
  2. Consumption of spicy and non-vegetarian foods
  3. Smoking and alcohol
  4. Stomach ailments like peptic ulcers, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, stomach tumors, etc.
  5. Medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Symptoms

Acidity can be extremely unpleasant and be accompanied with the following symptoms.

  1. Burning in the stomach
  2. Burning in the throat
  3. Restlessness
  4. Belching
  5. Nausea
  6. Sour taste
  7. Indigestion
  8. Constipation

How is acidity caused?

Our stomach produces gastric acids to aid digestion. But, their corrosive effects are neutralised by the production of natural bicarbonate and prostaglandins secreted in the mucous lining. When the production of these chemicals is interrupted then it leads to damaged stomach lining which causes acidity. Read more about why acidity is rising among youngsters.

Treatment

Usually, acidity is treated with the help of antacids whichcontain either magnesium or calcium or aluminium containing compounds. These antacids neutralise the excess acid in the stomach thus providing relief from the symptoms.

Sometimes, Histamine blocking agents (H2 receptor blockers) such as cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine or nizatidine or proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole and lansoprazole can also be prescribed by your physician. In rare cases, surgery (vagotomy) is performed to reduce the acid sensation. Read more about why taking antacids frequently is not good for you.

Natural remedies to treat acidity

Before you decide to pop that antacid, try using natural remedies like bananas and cold milk. Usually, they are more than enough to give you relief from the unpleasant symptoms of acidity.

Bananas

Bananas have a high amount of potassium which is an alkalizing mineral with a high pH value making it a great home remedy for acidity. Additionally, bananas also have a component that makes the stomach lining produce more mucous thus protecting you from the corrosion caused by the acids. Try and eat overripe bananas as they have more potassium and are really good for you. Read more about the health benefits of bananas.

Cold milk

Acidity is often accompanied with a burning sensation in the stomach, and cold milk without sugar can help provide instant relief from this sensation. Milk also has a high amount of calcium that helps prevent acid build up and absorbs the excess acid making it an efficient home remedy for acidity. To make this remedy even more effective you should add a spoon of ghee to it.

Besides these, here are some more home remedies that you can use to treat acidity.

Prevention

Acidity can be prevented by the following methods:

  1. Don't consume spicy food
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables
  3. Eat small, regular meals
  4. Consume your last meal at least a few hours before sleeping
  5. Chew tulsi leaves, cloves, saunf, etc.
  6. Avoid medications like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and steroids
  7. Reduce stress

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