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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Acidity- Imbalanced Acid Secretion

Acidity, hyperacidity, heartburn, indigestion, etc are widespread conditions in our fast-paced and stress-based society. It is an addressing task to create and maintain the appropriate acid balance in the stomach.  The digestive glands of stomach secrete hydrochloric acid that helps in digestion of food. Excess production of acid by gastric glands of stomach causes acidity/ heartburn.

The main cause of acidity is overeating, eating wrong food combinations (milk and fish together), eating too rapidly and neglecting proper mastication of food.

Heartburn, which is a painful burning feeling in upper abdomen or chest, occurs when gastric juice from stomach moves in to the lower oesophagus (food pipe). This reflux happens when the valve that separates the esophagus and the stomach does not close properly. Symptoms often worsens by lying down, bending forward or straining.

Over secretion of acids results into ulcer, which are produced by an imbalance between gastroduodenal mucosal defense mechanisms. Burning pain in the gut is the most common symptom of ulcer.

There are 3 types of ulcers:

1. Gastric ulcer which affects stomach.

2. Duodenal ulcer which affects duodenum.

3. Esophageal ulcer which affects esophagus.

Complementary medicine i.e. natural and herbal therapy provides better treatment for acidity and ulcer. Several herbs are effective and were used since ancient time for treating acidity. Herbs which are commonly used for relieving symptoms of heartburn are Yashtimadhu, Amalaki, Shunthi, Shatavari, Usheer, Sariva etc. These herbs improve mucosal defensive functions and reduce acid secretions.

Home remedies:

•    Chewing fennel or ajwain seeds helps to relieve heartburn.

•    Dried ginger and dried amalaki are also good remedy for indigestion.

•    Drink glass of cumin seeds boil water after each meal to treat acidity.

•    A glass of cold milk gives instant relief

Dietary and lifestyle modification helps to relieve the symptoms and prevents its recurrence.

  Diet and lifestyle modification

  • A suitable diet must be strictly followed
  • Avoid spicy, salty and acidic foods.
  • Avoid overeating
  • Sit upright during meals and after meals. Do not lie down immediately after a meal
  • Milk promotes stomach acid so reduce consumption of milk
  • Avoid consumption of smoking and alcohol
  • Use relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, music therapy, acupuncture, massages and acupressure.
  • Should follow regular exercise
Charak Paddahti advices Vaman and virechan as panchakarma therapy under doctor’s supervision.