You must have undergone some acidic regurgitation in your throat which feels nauseous and painful. But in medical terminology, it is termed as acidity. Acidity is a condition where the acidic regurgitation occurs and heartburn is experienced within the lower chest area. It occurs due to the backflow of stomach acid within the esophagus. So how does this condition occur is the next question that might pop up in your head? When we eat food it passes down the esophagus and then moves down into the stomach. The stomach has a lower esophageal sphincter which closes down as soon as the food enters but in abnormal conditions, it remains open and the stomach acid moves back into the esophagus leading to the burning sensation. The stomach has gastric glands that secrete enzymes and acid i.e. essential for digesting the food and killing unnecessary germs. Acidity occurs when an excess amount of acid is produced by the glands within the stomach leading to a burning sensation within the upper part of the stomach or the lower part of the breastbone i.e. within the chest area. It is commonly experienced in people who follow unhealthy eating habits or adopt poor lifestyle choices within their daily life.
Consider watching this video to know more about what is acidity….
Acidity is commonly seen in people who are indulged in excess alcohol consumption, who are obese, who consume excess spicy/ oily foods/ acidic foods/ non-vegetarian foods, take NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/ medications for blood pressure/ anxiety/ antibiotics/ bisphosphonates, who are near their menopause, pregnant or suffering from certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, peptic ulcers, hiatal hernia or other conditions. Acidity can also occur due to stressful situations, sleep deprivation and other unhealthy life choices.
The symptoms experienced in patients with acidity include bad breath, indigestion, nausea, belching, constipation, sour taste within the oral cavity, restlessness, regurgitation, bloating, dysphagia, weight loss, sore throat, swallowing difficulty along with the burning sensation in stomach, heart, and throat. When a person suffers from acidity, he or she needs to visit the consulting doctor to identify the case. Based on the symptoms and medical history, an X-ray is advised for the stomach, esophagus, MRI/CT scan and endoscopy of the upper GIT tract is advised which allows the consultant to visualize the lining of the stomach and the esophagus. Along with these tests, barium swallow is advised, esophageal manometry, pH monitoring, or biopsy in severe conditions. The patient might suffer from complications like severe painful sensation within the abdomen/ chest, swallowing difficulty, excessive vomiting, cancer, and gastric ulcers.
Based on the severity of acidity, the treatment plan is advised where the doctor might advise you antacids/ foaming agents/ H2 blockers/ proton pump inhibitors or prokinetics which helps in reducing the acidity while in severe conditions, surgery or vagotomy might be prescribed for reducing the production of stomach acid when the medicines are unable to cope up with the condition. Another simple treatment option for reducing acidity is to avoid foods that enhance the acidity level. Eat small meals regularly all-round the day, modify the eating habits, avoid drinking alcohol/ caffeinated beverages, quit smoking, eat two to three hours before you plan on lying down, keep your head slightly raised while using a towel/ two pillows, sleep slightly raised during the daytime naps, indulge in exercise and try losing weight, avoid wearing tight clothes and try consulting your physician or doctor if certain medicines are triggering acidity levels within your body.
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!