Stomach acidity is a very frequent sensation characterized by burning of the abdomen and acid regurgitation, which in many cases is linked to the consumption of irritating foods or excessive stress. Find out the possible causes and how we can alleviate this symptom.
The stomach acid is very common in Western populations nuisance that can be described as a burning sensation localized in the abdomen, between the end of the breastbone and the navel, and often accompanied by a feeling of real acidity that goes up from the stomach to the mouth. This sensation, which is a symptom of various pathologies, is often indicated with the term “heartburn”.
The stomach acidity may be an indication of some much more serious diseases such as peptic ulcer, especially where it is charged frequently. When the patient reports that he or she suffers from this problem more sporadically, the cause of the problem could be gastritis, an inflammation of the walls of the stomach caused by poor nutrition or lifestyle. Among the possible causes, which we will explore later, we can mention smoking or excessive consumption of coffee or spicy spices or excessive consumption of food, or even excessive stress and nervousness.
It is difficult to meet adults, especially belonging to the western countries of the world, who can claim to have never suffered from stomach acid. However, this sensation is more common in the elderly, during pregnancy or in the case of frequent intake of certain foods that can irritate the mucous membrane of the stomach itself.
Symptoms of stomach acid
As we have anticipated, stomach acid is itself a symptom of other pathologies. This sensation is easily recognizable because it is characterized by a burning sensation, sometimes very intense, at the level of the stomach, in the upper area of the abdomen.
In addition, stomach acid can also be accompanied by a sensation of acid regurgitation, which goes up the body, from the stomach to the mouth. In some cases stomach acid could be accompanied by a feeling of nausea or vomiting and real pains in the stomach mouth, under the breastbone.
The most common symptoms are, therefore, the following …
- Stomach ache;
- Acid regurgitation;
- Sense of bitterness in the mouth.
Possible but less common symptoms are …
- Nausea and vomit;
- Pain in the mouth of the stomach.
Causes of stomach acid
The causes that can lead to heartburn are numerous. In any case, stomach acid is due to an excessive production of gastric juices in the stomach or, vice versa, to a decrease in the production of the protective layer.
The stomach is in fact a fundamental organ for our digestive processes. At the stomach level, most of the digestion of food proteins takes place and for this digestion to take place correctly the pH of the gastric juice must be very low (about 1). In order not to suffer injuries, a protective mucus is also produced at the stomach level, capable of protecting the mucous membrane of the stomach itself.
The reasons for which the balance between aggressive and protective agents is interrupted can be manifold, among which we can remember the frequent intake of foods that can irritate the gastric mucosa, such as citrus fruits, coffee, chili peppers, peppers, tea or chocolate. In other cases, it is excessive alcohol consumption or smoking that can cause this unpleasant sensation.
In other cases, it is still frequent that stomach acid can be associated with states of stress, which can also be accompanied by excessive consumption of food. In all these cases there is an irritation and inflammation of the stomach wall, known as gastritis, which is reflected in the symptoms, we have spoken to you about and which, if not treated properly, can become chronic and lead to unpleasant consequences.
However, when the sensation of acidity is no longer sporadic, but it is frequent and regular, it is probably the symptom of real pathologies such as gastric or duodenal ulcer or gastroesophageal reflux.
In summary we can say that the main causes of stomach acid are …
- State of pregnancy;
- Excessive consumption of irritating foods: coffee, tea, chocolate, citrus fruits, spices;
- Excessive alcohol consumption;
- Anxiety and stress
- Peptic ulcer
- Gastroesophageal reflux.
Stomach acid after meals: causes and advice
The acidity of the stomach may also be charged after the main meals, especially if abundant. In these cases, if the problem is persistent and continuous, it can be the alarm bell of a possible gastritis or gastric ulcer. In the first case, the pain appears immediately after the end of the meal, in the second case; however, stomach acid appears within half an hour after the end of the meal. In these cases, it is advisable to contact your doctor and report the problem.
If, however, the burning is sporadic and occasional, it could simply be a meal that is too abundant, rich in saturated fat, spicy spices or fried, often the cause of heartburn. Tomato, aged cheeses and carbonated soft drinks can also cause burning.
But what to do against heartburn after meals? It is possible to mitigate acidity by consuming moderate portions, avoiding (or in any case reducing) foods that favor acidity and avoiding to sit at table for a long time after a meal or, even worse, go to bed immediately after a meal. In addition, it can be useful to drink herbal teas against stomach acid after meals.
There are many natural remedies for acidity and heartburn and they can be very useful. If you want to know what they are read our study: Stomach Burning: the most effective natural remedies
Diagnosis of stomach acid
Due to possible complications, anyone who often complains of heartburn should report this suffering to their doctor and be tested. In particular, the doctor, based on the history and the story of the individual patient, will be able to evaluate whether the sensation of acidity can be symptomatic of other pathologies and then proceed with radiographic investigations, gastroscopy or esophageal manometry.
Stomach acidity: Feeding advice
As we have already mentioned in many cases, stomach acid is sometimes caused by errors in one’s eating style. In case of heartburn, it is advisable to consume not very abundant meals and to increase their frequency: in practice in these cases, it is advisable to consume 5 meals a day and to limit the consumption of food before bedtime.
It is also important to avoid the foods that most irritate the stomach mucosa: coffee, tea, chili pepper and other irritating spices. In particular, in the table below you will find a list of foods that are recommended and those that it is preferable to limit or exclude for a short period. Finally, it is important not to consume alcohol and to stop smoking as soon as possible or to reduce the consumption of these toxic agents.
The possible consequences if left untreated
Stomach acidity, even if not treated, does not always bring about negative consequences, but as we have repeatedly repeated during this article, heartburn can be a symptom of other pathologies. Therefore, if we do not treat the gastric problem as soon as possible, it is possible to incur the negative consequences of the pathologies themselves.
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