What is Acidity?
Acidity refers to a common digestive disorder characterized by a burning sensation in the chest and upper abdomen caused by the regurgitation of gastric acid. It is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux.
Causes: The main cause of acidity is a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This muscle allows food and liquids to pass into the stomach but prevents stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. Certain factors can weaken the LES and cause acid reflux, such as obesity, lying down after eating, pregnancy, hiatal hernia, alcohol and nicotine consumption, and certain medications.
Symptoms: The most common symptoms of acidity are heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and a sour taste in the mouth. Some people may also experience a hoarse voice, cough, and wheezing.
Diagnosis: Your doctor may diagnose acidity based on your symptoms and medical history. They may also perform tests such as an endoscopy, which allows them to examine the inside of the esophagus and stomach, or a pH test, which measures the amount of acid in the esophagus.
Treatment: Acidity can be managed through lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications such as antacids, H2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. Lifestyle changes include eating smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, losing weight, and avoiding lying down after eating.
In severe cases, surgery may be required to reinforce the LES. This procedure is called a fundoplication, and it involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the lower esophagus to strengthen the LES.
Prevention: To prevent acidity, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet, avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, losing weight if necessary, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption. It is also important to avoid lying down immediately after eating and to sleep with the head and chest elevated.
In conclusion, acidity is a common digestive disorder caused by the regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus. It can be managed through lifestyle changes and medications, and can be prevented by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you experience symptoms of acidity, it is important to seek medical advice.