Acidity or Acid Peptic Disease or Heart Burn or Dyspepsia
The stomach normally secretes acid that is essential in the digestive process. This acid helps in breaking down the food during digestion. When there is excess production of acid in the stomach, it results in the condition known as acidity or APD. Normally, there are some protective mechanisms against the acid, in the stomach and proximal intestine. But an imbalance between the protective mechanisms and the level of acid secretion can cause acidity.
A weakness of the valve between the stomach and oesophagus (food pipe) can cause a reflux of the acid from the stomach to the lower part of the oesophagus. This gastro-oesophageal reflux can cause heart-burn. Sometimes, a heavy meal or increase in intra-abdominal pressure such as while straining or lifting weights, can bring about this reflux. Excess acid secretion can also cause acidity and ulcers, when the normal protective lining of the stomach and duodenum (the part of the intestine that joins the stomach), is damaged. The resulting ulcer is called gastric ulcer if it is in the stomach and duodenal ulcer if it is in the duodenum. Any kind of break down in the defense mechanisms that protect the stomach and intestine from damage by acid can cause acidity. The body secretes bicarbonate into the mucous layer, which neutralises the acid. Hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins, help to keep the blood vessels in the stomach dilated, ensuring adequate blood flow. Lack of adequate blood flow to the stomach may contribute to ulcers. Prostaglandins are also believed to stimulate bicarbonate and mucous production, which help protect the stomach. Consumption of alcohol, highly spicy foodstuffs, irregular food habits, and Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) also predispose to gastric acidity. There is a higher incidence of acidity in highly emotional and nervous individuals. It is also more common in the developed and industrialized nations, though a recent increase in incidence has also occurred in the developing countries.
The main symptoms of acidity are Heartburn and Dyspepsia.
- Heartburn is characterized by a deeply placed, burning pain in the chest behind the sternum (breast-bone).
- It occurs after meals and is precipitated by increase in intra-abdominal pressure like straining or lifting weights.
- It is more common at night when a person is lying down.
- Heartburn is usually relieved when the person sits up.
- Regurgitation of the gastric contents may also occur.
The symptoms of ulcers are mainly pain that can be either localized or diffuse. Sometimes it radiates to the back or to the chest.
- Dyspepsia is a burning or an aching pain in the upper abdomen, sometimes described as a stabbing sensation penetrating through the gut.
- In rare cases there may be no pain, but only a feeling of indigestion, fullness, bloating, flatulence or nausea. When the cause is a duodenal ulcer, having a meal usually relieves the pain. But in the case of a gastric ulcer there may be no change, or the pain may become worse after eating.
- Peptic ulcer disease can sometimes occur without symptoms. Symptoms may also arise when there is no ulcer present, which is known as non-ulcer dyspepsia.
Acidity can be prevented by avoiding the known causative factors like alcohol consumption, spicy foods, drugs like NSAID's, steroids etc. Regular eating habits and a healthy diet can prevent acidity. People with a highly nervous and emotional disposition and those involved in high-stress jobs could opt for a change in their lifestyle and reduce the stress.
Treatment of the root cause with constituional homoeopathic Remedy, Change in life style. Follw the Do's and Dont's properly. Homoeopathy has got very good results in treating this. The medicine can prevent the ulceration also. The bland ddiet is highly recomended. with Absolutely avoiding Sicy, Fried, Excessive Non vegetarian food. Must avoid Beverages like excessive Tea, Coffee. Smoking and drnking Alcohal should be avoided.
While a doctor may be able to diagnose a simple case of acidity from the medical history, more detailed investigations may be necessary to detect the presence of ulcers in the stomach and the duodenum. The doctor will take a detailed history of use of drugs such as NSAIDs, a history of family members with ulcers, alcohol consumption and smoking to determine the causes of acidity. An assessment of a person's stress level is also important to reach a diagnosis. A doctor may request an Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy to detect the presence of ulcers. If Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome is suspected, blood levels of gastrin may be measured. Barium Meal studies are useful as these may reveal an inflammation, active ulcer craters, or deformities and scarring due to ulcers. In some cases, a doctor may also request a biopsy of an ulcer, to rule out a cancer.