Treating Hyperacidity

You’ve just had your fill at a fancy restaurant when all of a sudden you experience a sharp pain in your stomach. The pain appears to extend to your heart and you’re all sweaty. Blame it on hyperacidity – a common condition that happens when you eat spicy or fatty foods.

Hyperacidity re¬fers to the excessive acidity of the stomach that causes a burning pain after meals. The problem is also called acid indigestion or sour stomach and is a common symptom of gastric or duo¬denal ulcer, both of which can be triggered by skipping meals or eating irregu¬larly, smoking, stress, excess alcohol or caffeine con¬sumption, and the use of certain drugs like aspirin or cortisone which irritate the stomach. In others, the cause of excess stomach acid is unknown.

“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,” explained MedicinesBlogger.Com (MBC).

“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,” MBC added.

For relief, you may occasionally take antacids under a physician’s guidance. But these drugs should never be used regularly without consulting a doctor for they have side effects. Calcium carbonate, for instance, can cause constipation and produce rebound acidity, a condition wherein more acid is produced after the product is taken. Magnesium tends to cause diarrhea while simethicone is a questionable ingredient.

“Antacids counteract stomach acid and relieve symptoms, but they can cause complications. For ex¬ample, sodium bicarbonate, a primary antacid ingredi¬ent, contains large amounts of sodium which can ag¬gravate kidney disease or high blood pressure,” said the editors of Consumer Guide’s “Family Medical Guide.”

As for the time-honored remedy of drinking milk to neutralize excess stomach acid, forget it! This habit can cause more trouble since milk tends to increase stom¬ach acid.

“A study at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Los Angeles, showed that milk (either whole, low-fat or skimmed) had a minimal effect on the existing environ¬ment of the stomach. In addition, it actually stimulated the production of more stomach acid,” according to Carole Ann Rinsler in “The Dictionary of Medical Folklore.”

A more practical way to deal with hyperacidity is to drink plenty of water and avoid the risk factors such as alcohol, cigarettes, aspirin and caffeine. There’s no need to stick to a bland diet. People with hyperacidity can eat anything they want to (provided the food they take doesn’t make matters worse). What is important is that the person eats regularly or consumes small frequent meals.

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