Almost every one of us experiences acidity or heartburn some times or the other. Blame it on faulty diet or lack of exercise, hyperacidity is one of the commonest conditions we observe in medical practice. The condition gives rise to heartburn (burning in chest), loss of appetite, vomiting sensation, nausea, vague discomfort or pain in upper abdomen, and at times frank vomiting. Today medical community is worried about recurrent acid reflux disease, as it may be the sign of early cardiac malady or esophageal adenocarcinoma too. No doubt, instead of gulping antacid tablets, one must consult physician if he or she is experiencing such spells recurrently.
We all know that hyperacidity results due to variety of causes. But in day to day clinical practice, I have observed some causes those slip our mind while counting the causes of acid reflux disease. Let’s see-
(1) Irregular meals: In almost one third of my patients, I observe this as an important cause. Blame it on packed schedules or just laziness to have timely meals, but this is one of the chief causes of hyperacidity. You skip meals and the condition worsens. Explanation for a layman is simple. Tell me where should all that acid go that is created for digesting your food go? According to ancient health sciences, it is known that there are certain times during the day when the acid (digestive acid or bile) production is at its peak. It is also observed that it is produced maximally around 11am to 1 pm. If you do not have your meals during this time, that acid is not given any task of digestion and it sets out to trouble you. That’s why diet-experts ask us to steer clear of fasting and stuff alike. When I asked my patients to follow stricter meal times, surprisingly 90% of them reported betterment in their acidity symptoms.
(2) Post-meal nap: Today we all agree with the fact that power-nap enhances work efficiency. But when should we have power nap? Immediately after food? No! In my clinical practice, I have seen many patients who say the post-meal dozing is must for them. And they tend to lie down immediately after meals. I studied the patients of acidity those used to sleep immediately after food. Around 70% of patients reported increase in their acidity immediately after getting up from sleep. Those without a tendency of acidity too developed discomfort in stomach when they slept immediately after food. When I told them to leave a gap of about 1 and ½ hours or the least 1 hour after food, they tend to develop fewer acidic spells. Further it also helped them to lessen their fat absorption and thus reduce weight to some extent, as sleeping immediately after food is also one of the causes of obesity.
(3) Taking antacid tablets recurrently: This I would like to explain on the basis of principles of homeopathy. More you suppress the expression of inner disharmony, more it will emerge to deteriorate the system further. Similarly, the antacid tablets try to suppress the acidity and this suppression leads later to exaggerated acidity and heartburn. Reduce the dosage of antacid tablets and opt for some natural acidity reliever like homeopathic medicine and the acidity is gone.
(4) Drinking less water: In the clinical practice, I have seen that if you want to point your finger to a causative factor that leads to largest number of diseases, I will point it to lack of adequate water intake. So many known and unknown symptoms can be relieved just by increasing water intake. Almost all my prescriptions contain a bottom line- drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day, irrespective of the type of disease I am treating. This free ingredient in our body is thankfully available free of cost (I m not talking of bottled water) and we can nullify or prevent the upcoming maladies just by drinking more water. If you fail to keep track of how much water you are drinking, fill in a container with 10 glasses of water. You can go beyond it but not short of it. Acid is diluted with water intake when in excess. That’s why ancient sciences recommend drinking water in between the meals but not immediately after meals that may cause indigestion due to dilution of acid needed for digestion.
(5) Late night meals: In ancient Hindu literature, meals are prohibited after 12 midnight. Going against the body’s circadian rhythm will make you suffer with symptoms like acidity and/or migraine. As mentioned above, after late night meal, one tends to sleep immediately, which is also one of the causes for acidity.
(6) Junk food: When I see children eating bags of kurkure every day and their parents worrying about their lack of appetite and nausea, I wonder! Why can’t we stop the habit of such nasty practices? When our children are young and impressionable, you give them such junk food, they grow with that habit, and when they reach knowledgeable age, you want them to get rid of the habit. Is it sensible? It does not mean deprive them of the food that they love. But putting strings to the frequency of eating is in the hands of parents. Such things lead to acidity in future. Also we can try to give them better food alternatives those are equally tasty but healthy. If you do not want to cater blames of your young ones of suffering from horrendous acidity spells later in life, do something now! It might be late tomorrow!
(7) Lack of physical activity: Well, the last but the most important points. When I studied the female patients of acidity those were housewives and were spending time in sedentary recreational activities like watching TV for many hours in a day, the findings were astonishing. Despite leading a luxury life, these were the women who were the victims of acidity and migraines more than others. To be precise, 70% of women reported acidity at least twice or thrice a month. Same results were observed in people like us; I mean sedentary office workers. Around 60% of so-called brainy people suffer from acidity quite frequently. Intensity-wise, the acidic spells in these people were found to be more intense than the above mentioned house-wives (making us think if stress is also a contributing factor). On the contrary, when I studied working-class women (those who work in fields and earn livelihood by strenuous work whole day), the acidity was found in less than 15% of cases. Nothing more need be said! Exercise and you will steer clear of hyperacidity!
Well, no doubt, there are tendencies to acidity in some people. Genetic factors may play a role too. However, by following certain rules given in above points, we can modify those nasty tendencies. And when this is followed by apt homeopathic treatment, one can get totally cured of hyperacidity; something we all wish for!