Analysing acidity and antacids
An analysis of acidity with its symptoms, reasons for occurrence, treatment with the need to avoid taking antacids and tips for a healthy gut
Life without any discipline might seem exciting if not for the plenty of health problems that follow. Going behind shortcuts for our diets and lifestyle choices plunges us into the grappling hands of acidity. Be it heartburn or indigestion, the discomfort pains us for a long time, and in some cases, setting off a bout of gut-related woes.
“Acidity is a colloquial term and not a medical term. It is a condition caused due to the excess production of acids by the stomach glands,” explains Dr B Mahadevan, senior consultant and head of department—Medical Gastroenterology and Therapeutic Endoscopy, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai. When we surrender to acidity with the help of antacids, we forget to see the underlying issue with the stomach, he says.
Each patient describes the condition based on their experience. Any burning sensation or discomfort in the stomach or upper abdomen is a common symptom. It can also be a constellation of many symptoms including heartburn, burning sensation in the stomach, bloating, flatulence, gastroesophageal reflux, dyspepsia, gastric ulcer, and periodic pain in the abdomen. Also, any discomfort with the organs in and around the upper abdomen including the liver, food pipe, gallbladder, and pancreas.
Causes of acidity
Both overeating and not eating enough or even taking long gaps between meals.
Poor lifestyle, sleep deprivation, and anxiety.
Smoking, consumption of alcohol, junk and spicy food intake, overconsumption of caffeine, reflux due to hyperthermia, peptic ulcer, pancreatic problems and so on can manifest as acidity.
The need to stop consuming antacids
Antacids are only temporary relief. The symptoms may subside after consuming antacids but the problem stays. We have to check and understand the root cause of acidity and then treat it. The underlying disease will only be masked by taking the antacids.
Antacids decrease acid secretion
Since antacids are a combination of different salts like aluminium hydroxides, calcium carbonates or magnesium carbonates, it is not good for those with diseases.
Avoid regular consumption of antacids. After some time, you may become immune to antacids and will need higher doses. They also decrease the stomach acid secretion.
Tips for a healthy gut
Maintain a proper diet. Take more steamed food, fruits, and boiled vegetables. Avoid taking a lot of garlic, onion, and spicy as well as salty food. Consume meals at regular intervals and drink lots of water. Avoid junk and processed food.
Maintain proper physical activity. Exercise for at least 10 minutes every day. People with stress and anxiety issues can practise breathing exercises and meditation.
Since the medication for hypertension, asthma, and antidepressants increase the chances of getting acidity, patients with such diseases should take extra care and put more effort into their lifestyle choices.
Some issues that you label as acidity might be due to underlying diseases such as cancer. If symptoms keep showing up regularly, consult a doctor.