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Acidity Reflux and its Causes

One of the common anomalies in the stomach of the human digestive system is the formation of excess acid. It often travels back to the esophagus where there is no protective lining. This causes acid reflux disease. Even though there is a one-way sphincter muscle guarding the pyloric end, it flows back to the food pipe causing a lot of problems. In this article, we will study what causes acidity, its symptoms, and how it can be treated.


What is Acidity?

As mentioned earlier, a one-way valve is present at the lower end of the food pipe or esophagus. It is the junction of the food pipe and the stomach of the gastrointestinal system. This valve is made of sphincter muscles that stop the acidic chyme of the stomach from flowing back into the pipe. In normal cases, this valve closes as soon as a food bolus passes to the stomach. Due to improper closing and opening of this valve, the acid in the stomach travels upward and enters the food pipe, causing acidity. It is also called acid reflux disorder.

The person affected by such anomalous flow of acid will experience heartburn and chest discomfort. If it happens more than twice a week then a person is supposed to be suffering from acid reflux. It is commonly known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is what is acid reflux disease called in physiology.

Causes of Acid Reflux

Here is a list of acidity causes that signifies the above-mentioned physiological incident.

  • Hiatal Hernia

Due to the presence of a hiatal hernia, the upper section of the stomach along with the lower esophageal sphincter moves above the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the stomach and chest. It is responsible for keeping the acid chyme inside your stomach. Due to the presence of a hernia in the hiatus, it can cause acid to travel back to the food pipe crossing the sphincter valve.

  • Overeating

One of the prime acidity causes is overeating. When a person overeats, the food content in the stomach adds an extra load. If the person lies down, the chyme gets disbursed and causes pressure on the sphincter muscle resulting in the infiltration of the acid content in the food pipe.

  • Overweight or Obesity

Due to the presence of excess fat in the belly, a person can experience acidity problems frequently. It also happens for the same reason of creating excess pressure on the stomach resulting in the partial opening of the esophageal sphincter.

  • Postures

It also happens when a person does not maintain the proper posture while sitting or sleeping after eating a meal.

  • Poor and Irregular Food Habits

It also happens when a person does not eat proper food at the right time. Maintaining a routine is mandatory for the apt functioning of the gastro-esophageal system. In fact, eating excess oily food and spicy dishes can also lead to such conditions.

  • Smoking

Smoking is one of the prime reasons that cause acidity. Nicotine present in the tobacco products relaxes the sphincter muscles resulting in the backflow of stomach acid to the food pipe.

  • Consumption of Beverages and Alcohol

Acidity in the stomach can be caused due to overconsumption of alcohol, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, etc.

  • Pregnancy

Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and the growing baby pressing on the stomach, a pregnant woman experiences acid refluxes often.

  • Consumption of Medications

Some of the medications that can cause acidity are ibuprofen, aspirin, antihypertensive medicines, muscle relaxants, etc.

  • Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions that can also cause acidity are stress, anxiety, depression, etc.

  • Sedentary Lifestyle

Another good reason behind acidity is a sedentary lifestyle. If a person is not physically active and does not do any exercise, he is more likely to develop GERD in the future.


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Symptoms of Acidity

  • Heartburn

The cardiac end of the stomach is close to the heart. It is the place where the sphincter muscles guard the esophageal opening. It is a feeling that a suffering person experiences in this location.

  • Regurgitation

One of the acidity symptoms is the backflow of acidic chyme to your mouth, travelling straight through the food pipe. It causes a bitter and sour taste in your mouth or throat.

  • Stomach bloating and burping

  • Nausea

  • Hiccups

  • Black stools

  • Vomiting (with or without blood)

  • Unusual weight loss

  • Wheezing

  • Chronic soreness in the throat

These are the acidity symptoms experienced by the patients. The doctors also check for these symptoms to identify GERD and plan treatment.


Treatment for Acidity

After a diagnosis is done, the level of the disorder is checked. It is then an acidity treatment is planned using various medicines and lifestyle changes. After knowing the reason for acidity, the following things are prescribed and suggested by the doctors.

  • Consumption of smaller meals

  • Quitting smoking and alcohol

  • Changing sitting and sleeping posture

  • Lying down at least 2-3 hours after taking a meal

  • Wearing loose clothes

  • Losing excess weight.

  • Checking existing medicines for adverse effects

  • Using specific medicines on time prescribed by the doctors for acidity cure

  • Exercising regularly and remaining physically fit to promote metabolism


Conclusion

This is all you need to know about acidity and heartburn. Find out the causes and correlate the effectiveness of the treatment plans. The symptoms help the doctors to diagnose acidity and to plan a treatment process for particular cases.

Last updated date: 19th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Acidity

1. What happens due to frequent acidity?

Complications like inflammation in the esophagus and the formation of ulcers can prove to be very harmful to a patient. Proper treatment should be followed to stop the recurring acidity to avoid such complications.

2. Why does the food pipe burn due to acidity?

A food pipe does not have a protective covering similar to a stomach. This is why the acidic chyme tends to digest the esophageal tissues during a backflow. This is why the irritation causes acidity and heartburn.