Hyperacidity- Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Hyperacidity is a common condition these days due to various causes such as your diet. Acidity in the stomach starts during digestion, where it produces hydrochloric acid to help break down the food you consumed and absorbs its nutrients.

However, the secretion of hydrochloric acid sometimes gets out of hand and produces excess amounts in the gastric juice. This results to Hyperacidity, or also known as high stomach acid and acid dyspepsia.

Do you experience this kind of stomach discomfort after every meal? If this sounds like you, then you this article is for you. I will discuss the important aspects of Hyperacidity such as its causes, symptoms and possible treatments. Read on to learn more.

What is Hyperacidity?

We all need adequate amounts of gastric acid in the stomach because it is essential for a number of reasons. Acid acts like a sterilizer, killing all harmful organisms from your ingested food. It helps digest protein, reduce ingested bulky food into a smaller particles, nutrient absorption and many others.

But having excess acid can be harmful and leads to various stomach problems including hyperacidity. This condition occurs after a meal which is characterized by a bloating feeling or gasiness, that inevitably lead to flatulence (farting).

As mentioned above, hyperacidity affects approximately 25% of the world’s population, mostly young adult men. The increase in hydrochloric acid during digestion can be caused by your diet, stress or an existing underlying conditions.

People with heartburn, acid reflux, abdominal bloating, GERD and cramping episodes are all associated with hyperacidity. Most cases can be cured by over-the-counter medications such as Antacids or a physician’s prescription acid blockers, which aims to reduce the excess acid in the stomach.

Some of the symptoms of hyperacidity includes the following:

  • Burning sensation in the gastrointestinal area
  • Chest pain (heart burn)
  • Acid regurgitation
  • Appetite loss
  • Sour and unpleasant taste
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Too much farting
  • Dry mouth, throat and thirst
  • Loose stool
  • Improper digestion of food
  • Severe hunger feeling

Causes of Hyperacidity

There are many causes why hyperacidity occurs and why some individuals are much more prone compared to others. The common cause of high stomach acid is your diet. Foods that are high in oil, spicy, junk products, fried and protein-rich foods are common triggers of hyperacidity.

This includes the following:

Spicy foods

  • Chilli
  • Curry
  • Other spices such as amalgamating and tangy

Caffeinated and Alcoholic Beverages

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Sodas
  • All types of alcohol drinks

Dairy Products

  • Skim milk
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Yogurt

Sweet Products

  • Doughnuts
  • Pastries
  • Chocolates

Acidic Fruits

  • Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, etc.)
  • Berries
  • Apple
  • Pineapple

Pasta Foods

  • Macaroni cuisines
  • Spaghetti types of foods

Next common cause of hyperacidity is bad lifestyle such as irregular schedule of your meal. Not eating on time affects your normal digestion cycle which triggers your stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid, which then leads to hyperacidity.

Another lifestyle factor that leads to high stomach acid is your eating behavior. Most people have mastered the hurried eating habit. This is probably due to work or other reasons. But if you don’t chew your food enough (especially when your meal is meat), your digestive system will work double time just to finish the job. To successfully do this, the stomach raises its acid level which triggers hyperacidity.

Smoking is another lifestyle that you should abolish immediately if you want to overcome hyperacidity. If you think that smoking cigarettes can only harm your lungs, think again! Smoking can also raise your stomach acid level as well as increasing your risk of other serious conditions such as cancer and heart attack.

Aside from your diet and bad lifestyles, being obese is another cause of hyperacidity. Actually, suffering from obesity is already a precursor to dozens of diseases, not only high stomach acid. This includes heart problems, cancers, diabetes, liver and kidney problems and many others.

Medical conditions are also a factor in triggering hyperacidity. This includes gallstones, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, hypercalcimia (too much calcium in the body) and many others.

Emotional issues are also considered as a factor in increasing your risk of hyperacidity. This includes anxiety, anger, fear, stress and even depression.

How to Diagnose Hyperacidity?

hyperacidityHyperacidity can be diagnosed incorrectly as hypoacidity, and many sufferers experienced improper treatment because of wrong diagnosis. If you think you have the aforementioned symptoms above, you need to undergo either a home or clinical examinations to identify your true condition.

There are three types of commonly used hyperacidity diagnostic procedures. These are the following:

  • Burp home test
  • Stomach-acid test (gastric acid secretion test)
  • Heidelberg gastric analysis test

Burp Home Test

The most common procedure is mixing a teaspoon of baking soda into four to eight ounces of water. You have to drink this mixture in the morning with an empty stomach. You have to monitor your burping sequence.

If you burp a lot, then it means that the baking soda reacts quickly with your stomach prompting an excessive acid production. If you burp less as expected, then you don’t have hyperacidity.

Stomach-acid test or Gastric acid secretion test

This test is also performed with an empty stomach for at least four hours. The procedure starts by injecting a hormone gastrin and by inserting a tube into your stomach (through mouth or nose) to collect fluid. The normal measurement should fall within 20 to 100ml and with 1.5 to 3.5pH. Beyond that level means that you have too much acid in the stomach.

Heidelberg Gastric Analysis Test

Heidelberg are commonly not applied as it is an expensive procedure. It starts by swallowing a capsule containing a pH meter and radio transmitter. You then need to drink a bicarbonate soda drinking solution to help stimulate the stomach’s acid release. The pH meter will then sends the stomach acid value to a receiver placed near your stomach.

This test uses a gastro-gram, which will give you a graph plot representing your stomach pH value. The capsule is naturally excreted through the intestinal tract.

How to Treat Hyperacidity?

As common as hyperacidity is, it can easily identified by its symptoms. A diet-caused hyperacidity can typically prevented by avoiding the foods that causes your stomach acid to increase.

If you are not prone to this disease, proper diagnosis is required to pinpoint the cause of symptoms. Whether you are suffering from hyperacidity or not, treatment would not be possible with wrong diagnosis.

Medications such as antacids can temporarily give relief while proton pump inhibitors and H2 receptor blockers are the common prescribed drugs to manage hyperacidity.

Below are some tips on how to control hyperacidity

  • Practice eating small portions of food at regular intervals
  • Eat less spicy and oily foods
  • Stop smoking and drink less alcohol
  • Regularize your sleeping pattern
  • Avoid foods that are hard to digest
  • Try anti-stress programs such as yoga, meditation or breathing exercise techniques

If you think your high stomach acid is persistent, then it is time to visit your physician for medical help. The symptoms might be a sign of an underlying disease that are much more serious than hyperacidity.

References:

High Stomach Acid – Gastro Digestive System

Hyperacidity – Dr. Health MD

Images from: Free Digital Photos

Noah Mark Rodolfo

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