Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Have you experienced a painful burning sensation below the breastbone that starts somewhere in the abdomen and extends up your throat? This medical condition is known as acidity or acid reflux. It can range in severity from mild to serious. The burning can occur at any time but is often worse after eating a big, high-fat meal. For many people, this worsens when they lie down soon after eating, which makes it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
Fast facts on acidity
- Acidity is also known as acid reflux, heartburn, or acid indigestion.
- It happens when acids from the stomach go back up into the esophagus.
- The condition creates pain and a burning sensation in the lower chest area.
- It is a very common health condition which affects people of all ages and sex.
- Although common, the disease is often unrecognized – its symptoms misunderstood.
- Acid reflux can be easily cured with over-the-counter (OTC) medications to reduce the excessive production of acid within the stomach.
- However, serious complications may result if is left untreated.
Main acidity symptoms
The symptoms of acid reflux differ from one person to another. However, the most common acid reflux symptoms are:
- burning sensation in the stomach
- burning sensation in the throat and chest
- sour or bitter taste in the mouth, caused by stomach acid
- belching and gas
- regurgitation of undigested food coming back into the mouth
Other symptoms of acidity
There are a few other symptoms that are uncommon. These include the following:
- Bad Breath
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fullness in the stomach after eating
- Frequent burping
Causes of acidity
Acidity is caused due to the production of excessive acid in the stomach by the gastric glands. Factors that trigger an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest, include:
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Skipping meals or keeping long intervals between meals
- Eating at irregular hours
- Eating just before going to sleep
- Eating large meals
- Consumption of oily or spicy food
- High intake of alcohol, carbonated drinks, tea, or coffee
- Food intake low in dietary fiber
- Lack of physical activity
How is Acid Reflux Disease Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing chronic and recurrent symptoms or if medications don’t bring lasting relief, you should see your doctor. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, the doctor may order the following tests to confirm a diagnosis and check for other problems:
- An x-ray of the stomach and esophagus
- pH monitoring to check for acid in your esophagus
- An endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract to examine the lining of the esophagus and stomach.
How to Get Rid of Acidity?
Acid reflux disease can be treated with dietary and lifestyle changes. One of the most effective ways to relieve acid reflux without medication is to avoid the foods and beverages that increase the level of acid in your stomach. Here are some other steps you can take:
- Remain upright for at least two-three hours after eating
- Eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than three large meals
- Limit foods and beverages that could worsen reflux such as high fat, fried or spicy foods, carbonation, and caffeine
- If you’re overweight, take steps to lose weight with exercise
- Quit tobacco and drink in moderation
- Eat slowly and chew your food well while eating
- Reset your sleep habits, and make adjustments in other lifestyle behaviors
- Avoid sleeping on your right side
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Stay physically active and engage in some exercise like swimming, cycling, dancing, or any of your favorite sports.
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