Written on September 8, 2007 by admin
Stomach acidity or hyperacidity conditions are a common problem. Ask the person sitting right beside you in a bus if he had experienced bouts of acidity attacks. Chances are great that he or she would answer you with a big YES. Why is this so?
Our stomach produces acid to digest the food that we eat. This is a regular and natural process. Whenever we eat, cells within the lining of the stomach pump acid to liquefy your sumptuous dinner, from mash potatoes to a slab of steak.
Problem occurs when these cells produce large amount of acid, more than your stomach needs. When this happens, you will suffer from stomach acidity. You would know if you were suffering from stomach acidity if you feel a burning sensation just above the stomach, or right below (the hollow part) your breastbone. This is the most classic sign of acidity. Other people experience acid regurgitation. This happens when you are lying horizontal on your bed. You may have a sour taste in your mouth, which resembles the taste of an orange puree that had gone stale. Acid regurgitation oftentimes results to heartburn, or that pain near the heart area.
Causes of Hyperacidity
Most of the times, acidity is not caused by a serious medical condition. A person experiences attacks of acidity a few times in a year or at times even just once in a year. Sudden onset of acidity is usually triggered by foods that you eat. Fatty and spicy foods are harder to digest than most food; this, in effect, prompts the cells that pump acid to produce more acid than is necessary.
Sudden onset of stomach acidity is also known as acute stomach acidity attack. This can easily be cured by taking over-the-counter (OTC) antacids to relieve the stomach from pain.
However, there are acidity conditions that persist. This is more known as a chronic acidity condition. Stress and underlying medical conditions are usually the cause of chronic stomach acidity.
Diseases the May Cause Hyperacidity
GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
GERD is a chronic disease that inflicts people with stomach acidity. It is called a ‘reflux’ because gastric acid goes from the stomach up to the esophagus whenever a person with stomach acidity lies down to bed. At times, even mere change in position causes the gastric acid to reflux. This disease is more known to many as heartburn. A person with GERD feels a stabbing like pain near his heart area.
Heartburn is not a heart disease. The condition is called as such because the pain seemed to originate from the heart. Heartburn occurs whenever gastric acid goes up to the esophagus. The acid gives a burning sensation in the lining of the esophagus and its surrounding area (of which include the area near the heart).
There had been a time when smoking, certain foods and stress were regarded as the cause of ulcers, both gastric and duodenal. However, even after these stressors have been removed out of the picture, stomach ulcers persist.
It was discovered only recently that the cause for the stomach to release pepsin, or an acidic enzyme that causes ulcers, is a bacteria, the Helicobater Pylori or H. Pylori.
H. Pylori promotes the production of excess stomach acid, which in effect burns the lining of the stomach (for gastric ulcer) or duodenum (for duodenal ulcer) and creates ulcers and even holes (or perforation) when left untreated.
They eat healthy foods, avoid smoking, and don’t have H. Pylori living inside of their stomach; but still, they suffer from stomach acidity. What’s the reason behind this?
There are people who are, unfortunately, born to be hyper acidic. This is known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. With this disease, a person has a large quantity of gastrin in his body, a hormone responsible for the production of gastric juices in the stomach. Gastrin stimulates the cells to pump acid even when it is not needed.
Increase in the level of calcium in the body can lead to stomach acidity. This condition is known as hypercalcemia. There are various medical conditions that can cause hypercalcemia. A patient may have parathyroid problems or metabolic disorders (calcium is not absorbed fully by the body). Also, it may be that a patient has renal failure (the body has difficulty excreting excess calcium out of the body) or malignant tumors.
Gallstones are pebble-like deposits in the gallbladder. Gallbladder contains bile which is responsible for stabilizing gastric acid in the body. However, with gallstones, the gallbladder cannot function well. Bile cannot flow to some important organs in the body, including the duodenum. With this, excess gastric acid stay in the stomach.
There are many medical treatments available today for stomach acidity. Not all, however, were established to be effective. That is why, homeopathic treatment is also available that also considers the psychological balancing of the patient. Usually, using both the conventional and the homeopathic treatment proves to be effective in treating stomach acidity.
There are medical treatments available for people who are suffering from stomach acidity. One, and the most popular way, is by taking antacids that can be bought over-the-counter. For those who are suffering from complications brought about by stomach acidity (such as ulcer and GERD), doctors prescribe medicine such as Ranitidine, Lansoprazole or Omeprazole to treat hyperacidity. These medicines are used together with antibiotics to treat H. Pylori in case of ulcers.