Stomach acid or gastric acid is a problem caused by indigestion in the stomach. Acid is normally produced in the stomach and it has its function in it, mainly to help digest the food before it passes to the intestines. A change in acid production in the stomach can lead to indigestion and stomach acid problems.
Cause of stomach acid problems
The most common cause of stomach acid problems is hyperacidity. It means increased levels of acidity, which can be caused by ingestion of certain foods, like coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate, deep-fried foods, greasy foods and similar. Eating very hot food can also cause hyperacidity, as can stress, anxiety, irritability, exposure to sun and irregular meal times.
Another significant cause of stomach acid problems is deficiency of certain vitamins or minerals that are necessary for proper production of stomach acid. In addition, alcohol, certain medications and certain diseases like Helicobacter pylori can hinder the stomach’s ability to produce acid.
Symptoms of stomach acid
The usual symptoms that indicate a problem with gastric acid include bloating, upset stomach, flatulence, undigested food in the stool, heartburn, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, restlessness, brittle nails. The symptoms usually occur when problems are caused by excess stomach acid.
Treatment for stomach acid
It is important to realize that problems with stomach acid can be caused by overproduction or insufficient production of acid, and the treatment will depend on that.
One of the most widely used medications for stomach acid problems are so called antacids. These products neutralize acid in the stomach and provide great and almost instant relief. Some of the popular brands include Maalox and Mylanta, and they are available as tablets or in liquid form.
Acid blockers control the excess acid, and the most famous are cimetidine, nizatidine or ranitidine. Acid blockers are usually prescribed in situations when antacids are unable to provide relief for problems with stomach acid.
In case the problems with gastric acid are caused by the bacteria H. pylori, it is important to diagnose the presence of the bacteria and then proceed with the treatment which usually consists of a combination of two antibiotics.
Those who wish to try a more natural approach to the problem, there are numerous herbal remedies that are efficient against stomach acid. Mentha piperita herb is very beneficial for the stomach, it can relieve many stomach ailments, it relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract and protects it.
Natrum sulphate is another effective remedy that regulates the function of the digestive tract.
Stomach acid problems can be prevented by avoiding hot, greasy and spicy foods, keeping hydrated and avoiding stress.