Twenty minutes after eating a hearty meal, it happens: a searing pain in your midsection. You feel as though a burning coal is creating a hole inside your gut. You even feel the urge to puke. And when you do puke, it taste sour, as though you have just drank a stale orange puree. When nighttime comes, you wake up sweaty because your stomach hurts: it burns painfully and you even feel as though the pain even extends to your heart. What you experienced is an acute attack of hyperacidity. It is painful, irritating and can cause sleepless nights. And you are not alone.
Every night, millions of people wake up just to ease the pain that hyperacidity brings. It is a common medical condition that distresses people of all races and ages. As they say, sometime in our lives, hyperacidity strikes us, although not as frequently as some do.
Hyperacidity is a condition wherein the gastrointestinal tract’s level of acidity is high enough to cause swelling, soreness, lesions (or ulcers) and even permanent damage to organs within the tract. The gastrointestinal tract is composed of the upper and lower tract. The upper tract is composed of the mouth, the pharynx, esophagus and the stomach. The lower tract, on the other hand, is composed of the small and large intestines and the anus. Hyperacidity can also be a symptom of other more serious illness or disease. Other medical practitioners believe, however, that hyperacidity is related to the psychological condition of a person.
Whenever you chew and swallow that scrumptious slab of steak, your stomach automatically produces acid to digest it until it liquifies. The process is painless and even comfortable since the digestion process eases the fullness that eating brings. However, with certain foods, this normal process is disrupted; the stomach cannot digest the food easily, forcing it to produce more acid. As the level of acidity increases, it starts to destroy the stomach and other intestinal organs’ inner lining, which will eventually leads to painful ulcers.
Causes of Hyperacidity
Hyperacidity, by itself, is not a disease. It is actually an effect to certain stressors. The most common cause is, of course, the easiest and most obvious to blame: the types of food that we eat. It is said that fatty, spicy and hard to digest foods results to hyperacidity.
However, bouts of hyperacidity caused by food can be eased by over-the-counter hyperacidity medications without complications, and the condition won’t recur anytime soon especially if you veer away from food that can shoot up acidity level in the stomach.
However, if the condition persists even after you’ve popped hyperacidity medications and disciplined yourself to stay away from food flagged to cause hyperacidity, it is time for you to consult a physician. A chronic hyperacidity is most probably caused by an underlying medical condition.
GERD is a chronic disease that is characterized by the reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus. This phenomena is called Heartburn. It is a burning and painful sensation in the esophagus area that also radiates in the surrounding area. There are a number of other medical conditions that can lead to GERD such as the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, hypercalcimia, scleroderma, and gallstones.
Peptic ulcer is an ulcer of the areas within the gastrointestinal tract. It is caused by a bacterium living in the stomach acid. This bacteria is the helicobacter pylori. The family of peptic ulcers include gastric ulcer caused by high acidity level in the stomach. There is also the duodenal ulcer that is caused by high acidity level in the duodenum. The esophageal ulcer, on the other hand, is caused by high acidity in the esophagus. Ulcers can also be caused by other medical conditions such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. Tumors can also be one reason for the presence of ulcers. On the other hand, There are instances when the antacids can aggravate instead of treat a peptic ulcer.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a disease caused by the overproduction of gastrin. Gastrin is the hormone that stimulates production of gastric juices in the stomach. Overproduction of this hormone will lead to hyperacidity, which in turn, can lead to ulcers in the doudenum and stomach. This syndrome has been associated with the presence of a tumor called gastrinoma, the cause of excessive gastrin production.
Hypercalcemia is the increase of calcium level of the body that can also lead to hyperacidity. It can be caused by various medical conditions such as parathyroid problems, malignant tumors, vitamin D metabolic disorders, and renal failure. Its treatments consists of initial and additional therapies that includes fluid and diuretics, and medicines such as calcitonin that aims to improve calcium reabsorption.
Gallstones, on the other hand, impedes bile flow to some parts of the body, for example to the doudenum. This condition is caused by abnormal body chemistry, weight, bladder movement, and diet. This process will also lead to high stomach acidity because of impaired ability to stabilize the gastric acid.
Aside from these medical conditions, experts say that hyperacidity can be triggered by stress and other psychological factors. These factors includes anxiety and depression. In fact, hyperacidity has been found to go hand in hand with Insomnia, another medical condition with psychological causes. In such cases, the high acidity level is stabilized by hyperacidity medications, more known as antacids.
There are many medical treatments available today for hyperacidity. Not all, however, were established to be effective. That is why, homeopathic treatment is also available that also considers the psychological balancing of the patient. Usually, using both the conventional and the homeopathic treatment proves to be effective in treating hyperacidity.