Acidity | Causes | Symptoms |Risk factors | Remedies | Acupressure technique | Lifestyle changes | Prevention tips
Many of us may suffer acidity every now and then. It not only makes us uncomfortable but also invites several other pain and problems. Those who suffer acidity more frequently than normal, have to suffer a lot. But not anymore, here is all you need to know about acidity, with home remedies and prevention tips.
What is acid reflux or acidity?
Gastric acid, gastric juice, or stomach acid is a digestive juice formed within stomach linings. Gastric acid plays an important role in the digestion of food we eat, with a pH level between 1-3. The food we eat goes to the stomach through the esophagus, and then gastric acid breaks it into small particles. But when our body produces more acid than needed, then it can come up through the esophagus and create a burning sensation with heartburn, chest pain, etc. This condition is called acidity or acid reflux.
If one suffers acidity twice or more than twice a week, the. The person may be suffering from acid reflux disease, also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease ( GERD).
Causes of acidity or acid reflux:
- Excess production of gastric acid in the stomach
- Hiatal hernia (Stomach abnormality)
- Skipping meals
- Eating at irregular time
- Straight going to sleep after having a meal
- Consumption of too spicy foods
- Low dietary fiber diet
- Consumption of too much salt than needed.
- Consumption of carbonated drinks and caffeine-rich drinks
- Consumption of fat-rich foods like pizza, doughnuts, etc.
- Consumption of fried food
- Side effects of medications
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Stomach disorders like stomach ulcers, tumors, etc.
- Excessive stress
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of physical exercise
- Alcohol consumption etc.
Symptoms of acidity:
- Pain or burning sensation in stomach, chest, and throat
- Bad breath
- Frequent burps
- Indigested food coming back to the mouth
- The heaviness of the stomach after eating
- Bloody or black stools
- Dysphagia – the sensation of food being stuck in the mouth
- Chronic sore throat
Common risk factors for acidity or acid reflux:
- Lying down just after having a meal
- Snacking close to the bedtime
- Consumption of certain foods like tomato, mint, garlic, onion, citrus, or spicy fatty acid foods.
- Drinking certain beverages like carbonated drinks or caffeine consumption.
By keeping in mind the above-mentioned symptoms, one can easily predict the condition of acidity. But if one has some other or complicated symptoms or condition, then your doctor may order tests to confirm a diagnosis and check for other problems. Some tests which can be done to confirm the condition are:
- Barium swallow (esophagram)
- pH monitoring
Home remedies to treat Acidity at home:
- Simply chew 5 – 6 basil leaves after a meal or can boil the leaves in water and drink the water. Mint leaves can also be used in place of basil leaves.
- Chew a clove ( to treat heartburn)
- Drink a glass of plain chilled milk
- Grind 2 cardamom, add it in 250 ml water and boil it for about 15 minutes. Sieve the water and drink it.
- Coconut water: One can consume 2 glasses a day. It soothes the stomach and helps in digestion too.
- Watermelon juice: To cure acidity, drink a glass of watermelon juice for breakfast.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk contains lactic acid which helps to neutralize the acid present in the stomach. Can consume after having a spicy meal.
- Drink a glass of lukewarm water after every meal
- Include banana, yogurt, cucumber-like cold-natured food in your diet to get instant relief
- Ginger helps indigestion. You can add ginger to your meals or can also make a drink. Just add grated ginger in a cup of water and boil them till half, then strain the water and consume it.
- Cumin water: Simply munch a tsp of cumin or make its drink. For this, add 1 tsp of cumin seeds in a glass of water, and boil it till reduced to half. Strain the water and consume it in the morning, empty stomach.
- This is the simplest one, just drink loads and leads of water daily.
- Chewing gum, yes you read it right. Chewing gum helps to relieve acidity. As by munching chewing gum, there is an increase in alive production which helps may help to get rid of acidity and heartburn as well.
- Almonds: Almonds helps in acidity. Almond milk is also one of the best options to soothe your stomach and helps with indigestion.
- Jaggery: It has a cooling effect, this helps in acidity and heartburn.
- Aloe Vera pulp: Just extract the pulp from aloe vera leaves, add it to the water, and have it 2 to 3 times a day.
- Pineapple juice: Drink a glass of pineapple juice after having a heavy meal, to get rid of acidity.
- Fennel: Consuming a tsp of fennel seeds followed by a glass of warm water is an amazing remedy to cure acidity and its other symptoms like heartburn etc.
- Papaya: Papaya has the ability to reduce the production of gastric acid. Hence, you know why to consume it.
- Baking soda: Add half tsp of baking soda in half glass of water and drink it slowly. It helps to neutralize the excess acid present in your stomach.
Foods to avoid:
- Avoid consuming onions, especially in raw form.
- Carbonated drink
- Avoid too much consumption of chocolate
- Avoid tea and coffee
Acupressure to treat acidity in no time:
- To perform this, you need a partner. Your partner needs to hold your right hand, place two fingers few inches down to your palm, where you can feel the meeting of the center and thumb nerve. Pressurize this point for 15 – 20 seconds, 10 – 20 times maximum. Whereas the patient needs to lay down and the left hand of the patient should be on his/ her stomach accompanied with deep breaths.
- Lay down, place two fingers right below your chest, at the center. Now, pressurize this point with the help of your fingers, by sliding down your fingers, as if you are scratching that point.
Treatment of acidity:
Based on your condition and severity of the acidity —
- The doctor may prescribe you an antacid that contains aluminum, magnesium, or calcium.
- Histamine blocking agents like cimetidine, ranitidine, etc.
- To treat severe conditions, proton pump inhibitors may be prescribed by doctors.
- In extremely severe conditions, vagotomy surgery can be done.
Must Lifestyle changes:
- All the above-mentioned tips and remedies will work for sure, but only if it is being followed with healthy lifestyle habits. Lack of healthy lifestyle habits will ruin your all efforts.
- Be physically active as much as possible.
- Eat healthy foods only.
- Quit smoking and alcohol.
- Try to eat in small chunks and intervals rather than in bulk, 2 to 3 times a day. Eat 4 to 6 times a day, but smaller meals only.
- Have your dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed.
- Don’t wear too tight clothes
- Don’t hesitate to lose weight if needed.
- Make sure you got checked your medications by a doctor, In case the reason for your acid reflux is medications.
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Try to raise the head end of your bed while sleeping.
And that’s all, these tips and remedies will surely help you to get rid of acid reflux fully, only if followed by a healthy diet and lifestyle.