What is Hyperacidity?
Hyperacidity is also known as acid reflux. It is a condition where there is heartburn felt around the lower chest. It happens as the acid from the stomach, back up into the food pipe leading to a burning sensation. Poor lifestyle is thought to be one of the main reasons for acidity though most people do not realize this aspect and suffer from this condition often. When the symptoms of acidity happen more than twice a week gastroenterologists diagnose it as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Chronic hyperacidity can lead to more serious health issues and hence should be controlled in initial stages.
The symptoms of hyperacidity differ from people to people and start with mild acidity. The symptoms of mild acidity include gas, chest pain, and burning sensation. Hyperacidity signs include:
- Unintended weight loss for no reason
- The upper abdomen has regular or chronic discomfort which seems to increase a few hours after consuming food.
- Persistent heartburn, pain, and discomfort that can move up to the throat from the stomach and chest.
- Symptoms of heartburn increases when lying down or bending.
- Chronic sore throat, dry cough, hoarseness, and wheezing.
- Black or blood stools accompanied by vomiting blood.
It is recommended that a person suffering from acidity gets a proper diagnosis before it affects the stomach and the esophagus.
Who is at Risk?
The risk factors of hyperacidity are high in:
- People who are obese or overweight
- People with Hiatal Hernia.
- People who consume heavy meals and lie down immediately after that.
- People who consume heavy meals and bend down at the waist.
- People who have fatty and fried foods. Certain foods like citrus, onion, tomato, garlic, and chocolate also cause acidity.
- People who consume coffee, tea, or carbonated drinks.
- Smokers are more prone to this condition than others.
- Snacking before bedtime can also cause heartburn and acidity.
- People who consume certain drugs for pain and blood pressure.
- Pregnant women.
One of the main reasons for hyperacidity or acid reflux is the acid content from the stomach moving up into the esophagus. The stomach contains a strong acid called hydrochloric acid to protect from bacterial attacks and also to digest food. The esophagus is not adopted to withstand this acid while the stomach can. There is a muscle called the gastroesophageal sphincter which prevents the food from going back to the esophagus. When this valve does not function properly it leads to symptoms of acidity. Other causes are:
- Certain underlying health conditions like hiatal hernia causes stomach abnormalities and the acid moves into the esophagus.
- A poor lifestyle like eating fried, spicy food, smoking, etc.
- Being pregnant also can be one of the causes of hyperacidity.
How is Hyperacidity Diagnosed?
If you have symptoms of acid reflux at least twice a week and if the OTC medications do not bring relief then it is time to visit a hyperacidity doctor. Make a note of the symptoms and provide it to the doctor to get a proper hyperacidity diagnosis. Other tests performed are:
- Barium swallow: To check the esophagus and to determine ulcers.
- pH monitoring to determine if the esophagus has acid.
- Esophageal manometry to check the movement and functioning of the esophagus. It also checks the esophageal sphincter.
- An endoscopy is needed if the above tests show problems.
- A biopsy may be ordered to check tissue samples for abnormalities.
How is Hyperacidity Treated?
Hyperacidity treatment is based on the symptoms the person is suffering from. Some of the options include:
- Change in lifestyle by adopting healthy eating.
- Medications for relief from heartburn include antacids that contain magnesium, calcium, and aluminium.
- The doctor may also prescribe histamine blocking agents as medicine for hyperacidity.
- For severe symptoms, proton pump inhibitors can be prescribed.
- Vagotomy surgery may have to be performed to control the severe production of acid that cannot be controlled through medications.
Hyperacidity can lead to serious health issues apart from affecting the quality of life. Hence it needs to be addressed if the symptoms don’t reduce. Book a video or offline appointment with our expert gastroenterologists at Cure.fit to seek diagnosis and hyperacidity cure.
How can Hyperacidity be Prevented?
Hyperacidity caused due to underlying conditions needs to be treated with medication. But mild cases of acid reflux can be prevented by doing a few changes to your lifestyle. It includes:
- Ensuring you maintain a healthy weight.
- Regular exercise.
- Make a note of foods that create acid reflux and avoid consuming them.
- Choose smaller frequent meals throughout the day rather than larger meals.
- Wear clothes that do not create pressure on the abdomen.
- Avoid consuming food that is spicy and fried.
- Avoid consuming heavy meals a few hours before bedtime.
- Limit consuming alcohol and avoid smoking.
- Raise your head by placing bed risers under your bedposts.