Did you know your stomach has its own line of acid production? This acid is scientifically known as gastric juice. It is like a superhero of pH that plays a crucial role in the breakdown and digestion of food. Understanding the role of stomach acid and its impact on digestive health is essential for maintaining a well-functioning digestive system. While proper levels of stomach acid can aid digestion, high levels of stomach acid can wreak havoc on your digestive health.
Someone with high stomach acid may experience uncomfortable symptoms such as acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion. In other words, when your stomach acid goes into overdrive, it damages the delicate lining of the stomach and esophagus. Excessive acid production can result in the formation of ulcers, which can be painful and may require medical intervention.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Deepak Lahoti, Senior Director, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj, New Delhi to know more about high stomach acid.
Stomach acid, also known as gastric acid, is a digestive fluid produced in the stomach to help break down food. When stomach acid is too high, it can cause a variety of uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms. It is primarily composed of hydrochloric acid (HCl), along with other enzymes and mucus. The stomach acid’s nature is vital for creating an optimal environment for the digestion and absorption of nutrients, explains the expert.
Stomach acid also serves as a critical defence mechanism against pathogens. The low pH of gastric acid helps to kill or inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that may enter the digestive system through ingested food or beverages.
Here are the most common signs and symptoms of high stomach acid, as explained by Dr Lahoti.
An imbalance in the production of stomach acid or excessive acid secretion can lead to various symptoms. One of the most common symptoms of high stomach acid is heartburn. It is a burning sensation that starts in the chest and moves up to the throat and is caused by acid reflux in the esophagus.
Do you feel nauseated after eating? Both are common symptoms of high stomach acid. Nausea caused by high stomach acid ranges from mild to severe.
If you often feel bloated or uncomfortable after eating, you could have high stomach acid. Bloating is another symptom of increased stomach acid, and this can result in feeling full and uncomfortable after eating.
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In addition to these common symptoms, high stomach acid can also cause vomiting, indigestion, and abdominal pain. It can also lead to changes in appetite, such as a decrease in appetite or an increased desire to eat.
High stomach acid can be caused by a variety of different things and can be treated with medications or lifestyle changes. In some cases, lifestyle changes may be enough to reduce stomach acid levels and alleviate symptoms, as per Dr Lahoti. Here are some changes you should make in your life if you suffer from stomach acid:
Stomach acid is an essential component of the digestive system. While stomach acid is crucial for digestion, an imbalance in its production or excessive acid secretion can lead to various digestive disorders. Some of the common symptoms of the problem include heartburn, nausea, bloating, indigestion, stomach ache, loss of appetite, and increased desire to eat. It can also be managed by certain lifestyle habits such as weight management, avoiding spicy foods, taking medications regularly, and more. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms so that they can suggest you the proper treatment based on the cause of the problem.