Acidity (Acid Reflux)
Stomach acids play a vital role in the digestion of food, but they can cause problems on occasion. Acidity is the most common of these problems, wherein there is an excess of stomach acid or if these stomach acids travel back up the food pipe, called the esophagus. This regurgitation of food and liquids with stomach acids back up the esophagus is described as acid reflux. When the problem is more severe or long-lasting, it is referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The condition affects an estimated 30% of India’s population.
What Is Acidity (Acid Reflux) and What Are the Symptoms?
Acid reflux or acidity symptoms may include:
- Heartburn or burning sensation in the chest.
- Regurgitation of foods and liquids leaving an acidic or burning sensation.
- Throat irritation
- Disturbed sleep
If these symptoms persist despite dietary changes or the use of OTC medications, you should consult a doctor immediately. It is also important to seek medical care in case of other symptoms such as:
- Appetite loss and vomiting
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Presence of blood in vomit or stools
- Sudden weight loss
What Causes Acid Reflux Disease?
Most of us experience acidity occasionally because of overeating, eating high fat or oily meals, or drinking alcohol. In most cases, this is not a regular problem and doesn’t require treatment or can be managed with acidity remedies like OTC antacids. However, acid reflux that occurs frequently and is categorized as GERD occurs as a result of the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter. This muscle which connects the food pipe to the stomach normally prevents stomach contents from travelling back up. It can be weakened because of:
- Certain medications
- Presence of hiatal hernia
Treatment with Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Home treatment for acidity can be extremely effective and includes both dietary and lifestyle changes. These include:
- Weight management – Excess weight increases pressure on the abdomen, weakening the esophageal sphincter and causing stomach acid to travel up the esophagus.
- Avoid overeating – Eating excessively large meals also increases abdominal pressure and consequently the risk of stomach contents travelling back up the esophagus.
- Limit intake of trigger Foods – Certain foods including fatty or greasy foods, alcohol, spicy foods, and tomato sauce can increase the risk of acidity and should be consumed in moderation or avoided.
- Avoid eating just before bedtime – Lying down soon after meals increase the risk of acid reflux and it’s best to consume meals at least two to three hours earlier.
- Use an inclined bed or wedge pillow – Sleeping with your head and upper body elevated can reduce the risk of acid reflux.
- Quit smoking – Smoking is known to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing the risk of acid reflux and GERD.
While these measures may not suffice as a severe acidity treatment, they are essential if you are looking for lasting relief from acidity.
Treatment with Medications
The most commonly used acidity medicine would include OTC antacid medications. However, you can also consult gastroenterologists for prescription medications that can include:
- H-2-Receptor Blockers that block or reduce stomach acid production, thereby providing relief.
- Proton pump inhibitors that reduce acid production for a longer period to allow inflamed or damaged esophageal tissue to heal.
- Some Acid Reflux medicine used to treat acidity and acid reflux can also work by strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter and reducing the frequency of relaxations.
Why Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital for Acid Reflux or Acidity Treatment?
Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital has a reputation for excellence in the field of gastroenterology and is your best choice if you’re looking for gastroenterology hospitals in Hyderabad to treat acidity, acid reflux, or GERD. With experienced and skilled gastroenterologists and advanced diagnostic tools, you can expect the best possi-ble care and treatment outcomes.