Our stomach secretes acid to assist in the digestion of food. When the acid gets produced in more than permissible levels, then it leads to Hyper Acidity. It is due to the malfunctioning of the acid producing mechanism of the stomach.
Reasons for causing Hyper Acidity
One of the common reasons that leads to hyper acidity is stomach abnormality called as “hiatal hernia”. Generally, the diaphragm assists in keeping acid in the stomach. If a person has a hiatal hernia, then acid produced in the stomach reaches into the esophagus. It leads to the signs of hyper acidity.
Some of the common causes that are responsible for occurrence of this abnormality are :
- Eating heavy meals
- Lying down immediately after a meal
- Being obese or overweight
- Snacking at bedtime
- Eating specific foods that increases the production of acid in the stomach. These foods are citrus fruits, chocolate, tomato, garlic, mint, onions, fatty and spicy foods
- Drinking beverages, like alcohol, coffee, tea and carbonated drinks
- Being pregnant
- Taking ibuprofen, aspiri, specific muscle relaxers, or medications for blood pressure management
Signs of Hyper Acidity
A person who suffers from hyper acidity shows following major signs:
- Heartburn : It is a kind of discomfort or burning pain that originates from the stomach and reaches to the throat via abdomen and chest.
- Regurgitation : The excess of acid that is secreted in the stomach may come to the throat. Due to which a person gets a sour or bitter taste in the mouth.
Other signs of hyper acidity include
- Release of blood while vomiting
- Dysphagia – It is a sensation of food getting stuck in the throat
- Unending Hiccups
- Weight reduction without any reason
- Wheezing, severe sore throat or dry cough
How Is Hyper Acidity Diagnosed?
Excess secretion of the acid in the stomach leads to Hyper Acidity, or Acid Reflux. Changes in the lifestyle, and consumption of acid-blocking medicines or antacids, can help greatly to lower these symptoms. If the above symptoms of Hyper Acidity persist for 15 to 20 days and medication is ineffective in treating it, then you must get yourself checked by a doctor. Your doctor may suggest you to perform a few tests to get clarity about the condition. Some of these tests are:
1. Barium swallow of Esophagram
This test checks for possibility of ulcers in the esophagus.
2. Esophageal manometry
This is another test that checks the movement and function of the lower esophageal and esophagus sphincter.
3. pH monitoring
This is another test that checks for the presence of acid in the esophagus. Your doctor will insert an instrument in the esophagus and keep it there for one or two days. This instrument will record the levels of acid in the esophagus.
To perform this test, a lighted tube with the camera is inserted into the esophagus. It helps a doctor to get a clear inside view of the esophagus to determine any issues.
This test is performed by checking the throat tissues to find any abnormality or infection in the throat.
Is it possible to treat Hyper Acidity With Lifestyle Changes and Diet?
One of the effective methods to cure hyper acidity is to avoid consuming beverages and foods that trigger symptoms. Following are the steps you should take to treat Hyper Acidity :
- Eat smaller portions of meals frequently during the day
- Eat only those foods that do not lead to acidity. Avoid those that accelerates production of acid in the stomach
- Quit smoking
- Keep several pillows below your head while you sleep such that it elevates your head to a minimum of four to six inches from the bed. This will prevent the over secreted acids to make its way to your mouth.
- Eat a minimum of two to three hours prior to lying down on bed.
- Sleeping on the chair for daytime naps is a good idea.
- Do not wear tight jeans and tight belts.
- Obese people should take measures to lose their weight with the right diet and exercise
Hyper Acidity can also be caused if any medications that you are taking reacts with your body. So, check with the doctor about any medicine interactions to get more clarity about its cause.
What are the treatments available in Ayurveda to treat Hyper Acidity?
According to Ayurveda, Hyper Acidity is caused due to increase in Amla, or acid in the body. This high acid levels imbalances one of the vital elements in the body as “Pitta” or “Fire“. This imbalance in Pitta element leads to an aggravation of “Pitta dosha” in the body. This situation can be controlled by three main ways – Diet, Regimen and Mental State. We will look at each of them one by one.
- Avoid eating spicy foods
- Don’t use chilly, clove, cinnamon, garam masala powder, garlic and mustard in large amounts.
- Avoid eating sour food, salty foods, fast foods, oily foods, and pickles
- Avoid stale, overcooked, undercooked, contaminated and fermented foods
- Don’t drink beverages and foods when hot. Let them come to luke-warm or normal temperature before you eat them
- Don’t drink tea or coffee in excess. Prefer coconut water and cool butter milk as beverage. The cooling properties of both these drinks will reduce over secretion of acids in the stomach to some extent.
- Reduce consumption of water, and dry food
- Keep a fixed meal times
- Keep a minimum of three hours gap between meals so that the earlier meal gets properly digested before you eat again.
- Don’t eat foods in incompatible combinations such as pizza with milk shake, milk and curd together, curd and oil etc.
- Don’t skip meals and don’t starve.
- Avoid eating very late at night
- Drink a cup of milk after every 2 or 3 hours, preferably with 1 tsp of ghee.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking.
- Eat light and water rich food that possess cooling properties.
- Eat more of foods that taste bitter such as matured ash gourd and bitter gourd,
- Include wheat, barley, green gram and old rice in your diet.
- Take rest in between activities.
- Sleep for at least seven to eight hours in a day.
- Don’t sleep right after having your meals.
- Do not suppress any natural urges.
- Spend time under sun for a few minutes time during the day
3. Mental state
- Avoid stressful life style. Do mental relaxation exercises like meditation, Pranayam and do yoga to keep yourself stress free.
- Stay away from people or things that makes you anxious, worried, jealous, angry, and scared.
- Develop a habit to stay contended and happy.
Medical Management of Hyperacidity
Following are some of the medical ways to manage Hyper Acidity in Ayurveda.
- Avoid the things that causes Hyper Acidity
- Palliative treatment: Measures are taken to pacify the aggravated pitta that is the major cause behind Hyper Acidity.
- Panchakarma treatment: This treatment is given when a person fails to get cured with oral medicines. Panchakarma procedure involves Vamana (emesis), Virechana (purgation) and Asthapanavasti (medicated enema) to cure the disease from the root level.
Important Ayurveda herbs to cure Hyper Acidity
- Amalaki or Indian gooseberry
- Sunthi or Dry Ginger
Home Remedies to treat Hyper Acidity
Hyper Acidity is definitely treatable and that too with the foods that are commonly found in any household. Let us learn some unknown easy hacks that would get you relief from this annoying discomfort instantly and naturally.
1. Basil Leaves
Basil leaves, also popularly called as Tulsi are effective in the treatment of Hyper Acidity. These leaves stimulate the stomach so that it produces more mucus. This helps in alleviating the two major symptoms of acidity such as burning sensation in the chest and nausea. Tulsi leaves minimizes over secretion of stomach acid. It soothes the stomach lining and inflamed esophagus caused due to excessive production of stomach acid in the body. These leaves also exhibit remarkable antiulcer properties that lowers the production and impact of gastric acids in the body.
Another vital food that can counteract Hyper Acidity in the body is chilled buttermilk. It is the best therapy to get rid of heartburn. Drinking up a glass of freshly prepared cold buttermilk after meal boosts digestion. Buttermilk has got lactic acid in it that neutralizes acidity in the stomach. This acid soothes the stomach by forming an interior lining and lessening the acid reflux symptoms.
The beneficial bacteria present in this “probiotic” save one from buildup of the gas and bloating. Butter milk is only a remarkable digestion boosting agent that ensures the food gets properly digested in the body. It lowers the chances of acidity and keeps the gastrointestinal health in the best working condition.
3. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds are also called as Methi seeds. They have a beneficial compound in them called Anethole. It has a mild action on the stomach. Chewing fennel seeds in the morning on an empty stomach prevents flatulence and spasm. Not just preventing acidity, these seeds manages body weight, balances cholesterol levels and aids in digestion. Loaded with minerals, dietary fiber and vitamins, fennel seeds assist in promoting digestion too. It contains “anti-ulcer” attributes that cools the inner layer of the stomach and aids in curing constipation too.
Bananas are highly beneficial for your stomach and gut health. It is rich in fiber that aids in the digestion process. Banana has high levels of potassium that assists in the formation of mucus coating in the stomach and ward off acidity.
5. Pineapple juice
Pineapple is a natural coolant and a time-tested remedy for prevention and reduction of heartburn and hyperacidity. It contains bromelain enzyme that controls hydrochloric levels of acid in the stomach.
Clove is an effective antidote to acidity. It assists in soothing damaged and inflamed stomach lining. Clove is also useful for the cure of stomach spasms and heartburns. It exhibits carminative and alkaline properties that is effective at deterring more than admissible secretion of acid in the stomach. Clove is also seen effecting in preventing formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract.
7. Mint leaves
Mint leaves, also called as pudina is helpful in treating acidity and indigestion. Besides being the best coolant, it is also helpful in reducing the burning sensation and pain that accompanies indigestion and acidity. Mint is powerful in reducing the acid content in the stomach, and improving digestion in the body.
Ginger is another easily available and natural booster of the digestive and immune system in the body. Use of ginger in tea and dishes helps in combatting a variety of intestinal and stomach related disorders. It is an excellent food to alleviate acidity. Ginger shows remarkable properties that destroys the pylori bacteria that is known to trigger acidity. It also reduces inflammation, nausea and soothes the stomach muscles.
Garlic boosts the digestive system in the body and combats acidity. It is loaded with antioxidants that serves as a powerful antidote to acidity. Besides stimulating stomach health, garlic also helps in the efficient prevention against indigestion and acidity.
Gooseberries is another potent remedy for the safe, and effective cure of Hyper Acidity. Amla is considered to be a highly Sattvik food that implies that it has a calming impact on the body. Amla is rich in Vitamin C that makes it a natural healer of the damaged esophagus and stomach lining.
Few Other Household Remedies for Hyper Acidity
- Take coriander seeds with sugar two times in a day.
- Amla has got pitta pacifying properties. Consume 3 to6 grams of Amla at bedtime with water.
- Consume Shatapuspa or Saunf with sugar daily for a week
- Chew one tsp of fennel seeds post consuming food
Frequently Asked Questions About Hyper Acidity
1. Does drinking water after meal leads to Hyper Acidity?
Ans : Drinking little water after meals does not result in Hyper Acidity. Water when enters the stomach will increase the pH of the stomach and make the space alkaline. It will help in diluting the acid and clear the path of esophagus. Do not drink a lot of water after meal as it can dilute digestion boosting acids and bile juice, thereby leading to indigestion.
2. Is there any quickest way to treat Hyper Acidity?
Ans : If you suffer from severe acidity, and indigestion, then take this natural remedy. It will definitely give you immediate relief from the discomfort. Combine one tablespoon of lemon juice and ginger with two tablespoon of honey in lukewarm water. Take this remedy daily. It will definitely reduce the signs of acidity, boost your metabolism, get rid of weakness linked with acidity.
3. Is Hyper Acidity Life Threatening?
Ans : Occasional Hyper Acidity would not kill you. However, you should take its signs seriously. If you don’t treat it within time, then severe Hyper Acidity can increase the chances of development of esophageal cancer. It is a life-threatening condition.
4. What is the initial symptoms of esophageal cancer?
Ans : Some of the signs of esophageal cancer are difficulty to swallow, sudden weight loss, pain in chest, or a burning sensation in the chest.
5. Is milk beneficial for curing Hyper Acidity?
Ans : Yes. Milk can get you temporary relief from hyper acidity. It is a rich source of calcium that aids in maintaining the right ph in the body. Drinking cold milk provides immediate relief from the heart burn. It aids in digestion. Cold milk absorbs excess of acids secreted in the stomach, thereby preventing acidity in a person.
6. What should NOT be eaten in Hyper Acidity?
Ans : Foods that cause more acidity should be avoided completely or consumed in limited amounts. These foods are:
- Refined flour
- dairy products
- fresh and processed meats like turkey and corned beef
- processed foods
- high-protein foods
- sodas and other types of sweetened beverages
Hyper Acidity is one of the common stomach related disorders. Though it brings a lot of discomfort to a person, but it is not life threatening. Most of the cases are due to unhealthy lifestyle, stress and improper selection of foods in the diet. When you adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits, and use the above-mentioned home remedies, then you can definitely notice reduction in its intensity and frequency of occurrence.
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