Cochin Cardiac Club

Health Blog by Dr.Uday Nair



Nowadays each fifth person suffers from stomach acidity – an imbalance between the stomach and proximal intestine structure and ensuring their safety protective mechanisms.

Our stomach produces acid to digest the food that we eat. This is a regular and natural process. Whenever we eat, cells within the lining of the stomach pump acid to liquefy your sumptuous dinner, from mash potatoes to a slab of steak.

Problem occurs when these cells produce large amount of acid, more than your stomach needs. When this happens, you will suffer from stomach acidity. You would know if you were suffering from stomach acidity if you feel a burning sensation just above the stomach, or right below (the hollow part) your breastbone. This is the most classic sign of acidity. Other people experience acid regurgitation. This happens when you are lying horizontal on your bed. You may have a sour taste in your mouth, which resembles the taste of an orange puree that had gone stale. Acid regurgitation oftentimes results to heartburn, or that pain near the heart area.

Stomach acidity causes such symptoms like heartburn, dyspepsia and erosion of the stomach lining. The latter in most cases provokes formation of ulcers. Similarly, taking alcohol, highly spicy foodstuffs, non-vegetarian diets turn up as preconditions to gastric acidity.

Causes of Hyperacidity

Most of the times, acidity is not caused by a serious medical condition. A person experiences attacks of acidity a few times in a year or at times even just once in a year. Sudden onset of acidity is usually triggered by foods that you eat. Fatty and spicy foods are harder to digest than most food; this, in effect, prompts the cells that pump acid to produce more acid than is necessary.
Sudden onset of stomach acidity is also known as acute stomach acidity attack. This can easily be cured by taking over-the-counter (OTC) antacids to relieve the stomach from pain.
However, there are acidity conditions that persist. This is more known as a chronic acidity condition. Stress and underlying medical conditions are usually the cause of chronic stomach acidity.

Diseases the May Cause Hyperacidity

GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

GERD is a chronic disease that inflicts people with stomach acidity. It is called a ‘reflux’ because gastric acid goes from the stomach up to the esophagus whenever a person with stomach acidity lies down to bed. At times, even mere change in position causes the gastric acid to reflux. This disease is more known to many as heartburn. A person with GERD feels a stabbing like pain near his heart area.
Heartburn is not a heart disease. The condition is called as such because the pain seemed to originate from the heart. Heartburn occurs whenever gastric acid goes up to the esophagus. The acid gives a burning sensation in the lining of the esophagus and its surrounding area (of which include the area near the heart).


There had been a time when smoking, certain foods and stress were regarded as the cause of ulcers, both gastric and duodenal. However, even after these stressors have been removed out of the picture, stomach ulcers persist.
It was discovered only recently that the cause for the stomach to release pepsin, or an acidic enzyme that causes ulcers, is a bacteria, the Helicobater Pylori or H. Pylori.
H. Pylori promotes the production of excess stomach acid, which in effect burns the lining of the stomach (for gastric ulcer) or duodenum (for duodenal ulcer) and creates ulcers and even holes (or perforation) when left untreated.


They eat healthy foods, avoid smoking, and don’t have H. Pylori living inside of their stomach; but still, they suffer from stomach acidity. What’s the reason behind this?
There are people who are, unfortunately, born to be hyper acidic. This is known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. With this disease, a person has a large quantity of gastrin in his body, a hormone responsible for the production of gastric juices in the stomach. Gastrin stimulates the cells to pump acid even when it is not needed.


Increase in the level of calcium in the body can lead to stomach acidity. This condition is known as hypercalcemia. There are various medical conditions that can cause hypercalcemia. A patient may have parathyroid problems or metabolic disorders (calcium is not absorbed fully by the body). Also, it may be that a patient has renal failure (the body has difficulty excreting excess calcium out of the body) or malignant tumors.


Gallstones are pebble-like deposits in the gallbladder. Gallbladder contains bile which is responsible for stabilizing gastric acid in the body. However, with gallstones, the gallbladder cannot function well. Bile cannot flow to some important organs in the body, including the duodenum. With this, excess gastric acid stay in the stomach.
There are many medical treatments available today for stomach acidity. 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 stomach acidity.
Stomach acidity symptoms.

Acidity is caused by the two main symptoms dyspepsia and heartburn. The former is the most common symptom, which in rare cases even may not occur. Sometimes there is no pain at all, but only a feeling of nausea or indigestion. On the contrary, heartburn is characterized by a burning pain in the chest behind the sternum. It usually arises after meals, at night on lying down and is relieved when the individual sits up. Commonly speaking, the pain is very closely related to posture. During heartburn regurgitation of the gastric contents may also occur.

Diagnostics and investigations of the stomach acidity

The patient‘s medical history plays a very important role in the diagnosis.  A history of family members with ulcers, taking alcohol and smoking, any present and past drug use are very important and useful facts in the definition the disease cause. The symptoms may subside when a trial with acid-blocking medication is given. Such course lasts four weeks and the patient is given the acid-suppressing drugs. If the symptoms continue persisting the further testing is required.
Today‘s medicine use the Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscope to reveal the presence of ulcers. To ascertain Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome it is required to measure blood levels of gastrin.  Barium Meal studies are also very important as they reflect active ulcer craters, or deformities and scarring.


There are medical treatments available for people who are suffering from stomach acidity. One, and the most popular way, is by taking antacids that can be bought over-the-counter. For those who are suffering from complications brought about by stomach acidity (such as ulcer and GERD), doctors prescribe medicine such as Ranitidine, Lansoprazole or Omeprazole or pantoprazole to treat hyperacidity. These medicines are used together with antibiotics to treat H. Pylori in case of ulcers.

Please note

To avoid the causative factors the individual must stop alcohol consumption and smoking, the suitable diet must be strictly followed avoiding fatty, spicy, salty and acidic foods.

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