Diseases

Stomach Acidity – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Gastric acidity

Gastric acidity or hyperacidity is triggered by many different diseases and other factors. It can lead to different, but also very typical complaints.

What is gastric acid?

In the case of gastric hyperacidity , also known as hyperacidity , there is a significantly increased production of gastric acid through the gastric mucosa.

It is not actually a disease, but merely a symptom with which the stomach reacts to various diseases and stressful conditions . The so-called parietal cells of the gastric mucosa produce hydrochloric acid to enable the digestive processes and kill pathogens. The amount of gastric acid required is determined by certain stimuli and then produced by the gastric mucosa.

However, when the stomach is too acidic, there is an excessive production of hydrochloric acid due to an exaggerated reaction in the stomach. If there is permanent gastric hyperacidity, there are not only unpleasant symptoms, but damage to the stomach, the small intestine or the esophagus is also possible.

causes

Hyperacidity in the stomach can have a wide variety of causes, since the production of hydrochloric acid is regulated by various processes. Excessive consumption of coffee , nicotine , fatty foods or alcohol , for example, stimulate the stomach’s acid production. But personal problems, major annoyances or stress also irritate the stomach and lead to gastric hyperacidity.However, certain medications, especially those containing acetylsalicylic acid , also have the same effect . For long-term use, so-called proton pump inhibitors should therefore be taken. These drugs specifically reduce the production of stomach acid.

If the Helicobacter pylori bacteria have nested in the gastric mucosa, this also leads to increased production of gastric acid, as the stomach tries to fight the bacteria in this way. Certain diseases, such as inflammation of the gastric mucosa and an ulcer of the gastric mucosa or duodenum, can also lead to gastric hyperacidity.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

The signs of gastric acidity (hyperacidity) can vary in intensity. In many cases, the symptoms subside on their own as a reaction to eating too much fat or drinking too much alcohol. Symptoms of gastric hyperacidity can present themselves as minor impairments, but they can also be painful. Acid regurgitation, heartburn and bad breath are typical signs of gastric hyperacidity .

In many cases, there is also a feeling of fullness . The many symptoms also include a stabbing pain in the stomach area and a burning pain in the area of ​​​​the esophagus and stomach entrance. Abdominal pain , nausea , and vomiting may also occur. Harmless consequences such as flatulence can also occur as a side effect of gastric hyperacidity.

In individual cases, there may also be a loss of appetite . If the stomach acid rises drastically in the esophagus, this can lead to coughing or hoarseness in the person concerned. Damage to the teeth can also develop over a longer period of time. This leads to increased unpleasant bad breath. Inflammation of the gastric mucosa can develop as a result of long-lasting, intense gastric hyperacidity .

Therefore, it can also present itself as a symptom of gastric hyperacidity. Stomach ulcers or asthma can even provide conclusions about gastric hyperacidity . A sore throat can also be a sign of excess stomach acid . Changed eating habits, especially a stronger craving for milk, can also be signs of gastric hyperacidity.

Diagnosis & History

The diagnosis of gastric hyperacidity is always based on the medical history and a thorough physical examination. The main symptoms are: heartburn, bloating, acid regurgitation, nausea or vomiting. However, if it is already a chronic condition, it can proceed with almost no symptoms.

A gastroscopy can be performed to further clarify the diagnosis, especially in the case of long-term illnesses . Here, a special endoscope is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum and enables an insight into these areas.

A biopsy, a sampling of the gastric mucosa, can also be carried out. The transition to the duodenum can also be examined as part of the gastroscopy and a duodenal ulcer can be ruled out.

Gastric hyperacidity, which is only short-term, does not lead to serious damage. However, if the course is chronic, the gastric mucosa can be damaged. But the duodenum and esophagus can also be damaged. Possible consequences of gastric hyperacidity can therefore be: inflammation of the gastric mucosa, a stomach or duodenal ulcer, reflux disease and a tumor of the esophagus.

complications

As a rule, the further course of this disease depends greatly on its cause. In most cases, those affected suffer from gastric hyperacidity with a bloated stomach and a feeling of fullness. As a rule, this also leads to heartburn, which can significantly reduce and restrict the patient’s quality of life.

Furthermore, gastric hyperacidity is associated with relatively severe stomach pain. It is not uncommon for those affected to vomit and suffer from severe nausea. There may also be a loss of appetite, resulting in patients losing weight or becoming deficient in nutrients. Complications from gastric hyperacidity usually occur when it persists for a long period of time and does not go away on its own.

It can also lead to the formation of ulcers or cancer. For this reason, a doctor should always be consulted. In most cases, hyperacidity in the stomach can be treated with a strict diet and medication. There are no particular complications. However, the life expectancy of those affected may be limited if a tumor or ulcer has formed.

When should you go to the doctor?

Heartburn, bad breath or belching are often perceived as unpleasant by those affected. The symptoms should be discussed with a doctor as soon as they persist for a long time or are perceived as a disturbance in everyday life. A feeling of fullness despite a healthy and balanced diet is considered unusual. In the event of a loss of appetite or a decrease in body weight, it is advisable to consult a doctor. If you experience abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting, you need to see a doctor.

Painkillers should not be taken without consulting a doctor. There is a risk of further discomfort and additional complications. If the person concerned suffers from an unpleasant taste in the mouth, flatulence occurs or a general feeling of illness develops, a doctor’s visit should be made. Changed eating habits or the rejection of foods that have been eaten up to now are indications of existing irregularities.

A check-up visit to a doctor is recommended so that the cause of the changes can be determined. Patients suffering from gastric hyperacidity often report an increased need for milk. If something like this is noticed, it is advisable to clarify the observation. If you have a cough, hoarseness or a sore throat, you have a health problem that should be examined by a doctor.

Treatment & Therapy

In order to treat hyperacidity in the stomach , triggering factors such as smoking , alcohol consumption, stress , fatty and spicy food should first be avoided.

The consumption of medication should also be reduced to a minimum. If this is not possible, proton pump inhibitors can be taken. These block excess stomach acid production.

It is also possible to minimize the production of gastric acid with drugs based on the active ingredient ranitidine or to neutralize the gastric acid that has already formed with the active ingredient antacids.

If the gastric hyperacidity is due to an infestation with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, these bacteria must first be combated. In such a case, in addition to the proton pump inhibitors, an antibiotic is administered to eliminate the gastric hyperacidity.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis for gastric hyperacidity remains constant if the person affected does not make any changes to their lifestyle. Nutrition must be optimized and adapted to the needs of the organism so that the situation improves and freedom from symptoms can be documented. The menu has to be revised and the intake of harmful substances such as alcohol and nicotine or coffee has to be reduced to a minimum. It is advisable to completely avoid using the above-mentioned products during the healing process. In addition, it is important to check which medications are being taken. In some cases, the active ingredients in the preparations can cause the stomach to become too acidic. Spontaneous healing can be expected here if alternative medicines are used.

If the patient sticks to his lifestyle and thus to his diet, at best the existing symptoms will remain. An unfavorable course can lead to complications and secondary diseases. Stomach ulcers may form or a chronic condition such as asthma may develop. In addition, the risk of suffering from a tumor increases. In these cases, the prognosis is considerably worse and, if left untreated, can lead to a life-threatening course in individual cases. If there is a loss of appetite, the person concerned is at risk of an eating disorder . If left untreated, it can also become a life-threatening condition.

prevention

In order to prevent gastric hyperacidity, you should try to avoid stress and the triggering factors such as medication, alcohol, nicotine, coffee consumption, fatty and spicy food. But eating very quickly under time pressure also irritates the stomach and should therefore be avoided.

Basically, it may be necessary to rethink and change your entire eating habits. However, if you approach food with time, desire and an interest in healthy nutrition, there is no risk of gastric hyperacidity. People who are prone to gastric hyperacidity can keep their stomach in balance by using healing earth.

aftercare

The need for follow-up care for gastric hyperacidity is closely related to whether the symptom was caused by a one-time occurrence of food intake or by a medical condition. Sometimes it is a short-term phenomenon that usually resolves spontaneously and therefore does not require any further aftercare.

However, if the gastric hyperacidity was pathological, the family doctor (or pediatrician) or internist can be asked for advice as part of the patient’s aftercare after the end of the illness. In many cases, however, the aftercare can also be the sole responsibility of the person concerned. If it is a recurring event caused by an intolerance or allergy, it is important to consistently avoid these foods.

Dieticians or nutritionists can also help here when it comes to choosing food. Some foods can also be taken together with certain tablets in order to become compatible. In this context, aftercare also includes ensuring a healthy diet despite intolerance and the need to avoid certain foods by ensuring the balance with alternative foods. Close coordination with the doctor treating you can also ensure that serious illnesses are diagnosed in good time and treatment initiated. Those affected should therefore not wait long to see a doctor if the symptoms persist.

You can do that yourself

Anyone who regularly suffers from gastric hyperacidity should consult a doctor and have the causes clarified. Occasional disorders of this type can also be treated with home remedies. Acid regurgitation is very common after drinking too much coffee or alcohol . Very greasy, very spicy or very acidic foods can also lead to this effect. Those affected should observe each other to identify their specific risk factors, which can vary greatly from person to person.

Gastric acid is best prevented by avoiding these risk factors. Anyone who likes to eat animal foods and regularly reacts to them with gastric hyperacidity should try plant-based alternatives, which usually contain around 30 percent less fat and are therefore more tolerable. Black coffee, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to hyperacidity and irritation of the gastric mucosa. Anyone who is sensitive should eat a little something in the morning and drink their coffee with (plant) milk. In addition, you should generally pay attention to a healthy, low-fat and high-fiber diet.

Acute gastric hyperacidity can be combated with antacids , which are available over the counter in pharmacies and drugstores. Those who prefer natural remedies can take Bullrich salt or healing earth.

People whose stomach acidity is regularly a result of stress should learn relaxation techniques.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.