Acid Stomach is a term that covers a variety of symptoms. Usually it refers to regurgitation of acid or partly digested food from the stomach into the esophagus (food pipe) or mouth.
 The Process
When we eat, food passes down the esophagus into the stomach. The stomach contains acids and other chemicals that aid the digestion process. Stomach cells also make mucus which protects them from damage from the acid. But the cells lining the esophagus are different however and have little protection from acid. There is a circular band of muscle, also called a sphincter, existing at the point between the esophagus and stomach. When we are eating, this sphincter relaxes to allow food to pass. The sphincter automatically tightens up and stops food and acid from leaking back into the oesophagus. This process is called refluxing. Thus the sphincter acts like a valve. In the case of acid stomach, the acid manages to move back into the esophagus causing problems. And because the lining of the oesophagus is more sensitive than that of the stomach, it cannot deal with the harsh acid.
Symptoms include heartburn or a burning sensation behind the breastbone, belching, burping and a feeling that food is becoming stuck after swallowing. Occasionally, the symptoms also indicate a more serious disorder such as a stomach ulcer or hiatus hernia.
The causes for Acid stomach include overeating or drinking, wearing constrictive clothes and /or bending, lying down or physical exertion after eating. Regular attacks accompanied by a constant feeling of burning or constriction in the throat may be caused by a loose muscle at the back of oesophagus, allowing acid to flow back from the stomach.
 Alternative Therapies
Naturopathy --There are several self help techniques for treating acid stomach in Naturopathy.
- Eat small, regular meals based on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and moderate amount of proteins such as lean meat, eggs, fish, cheese and nuts.
- Cut out fatty foods and those that contain possible irritants such as chemical food additives or hot spices.
- Avoid drinking water before meals and drink sparingly after meals.
- One should also reduce the stress factor in one’s life.
In addition to advice about diet and way of living, practioners may recommend marsh- mallow root and slippery elm to reduce irritation and inflammation of digestive organs. Purslans and marsh mallow root has to be taken as a decoction though it can also be taken as an infusion.
To tone and heal the entire digestive system, the Bitter herbs hops, Rue, Gentian and Golden seal is often suggested but should not be taken for long periods or in large doses. This is particularly true for pregnant women because these herbs tend to stimulate uterine muscles or especially in the case of rue, can cause vomiting.
 Other alternative treatment
Acupuncture This is said to relieve many digestive disorders, including excess acidity and inflammation of stomach lining.
Homeopathy – Nux vmica is used to relieve discomfort due to overeating .
 Some Do’s and Dont’s for acid stomach
- Do take time to relax, allowing about 20 minutes of leisure before and after eating. Eat slowly and chew each mouthful.
- Do try and eat at least three hours before bedtime.
- Do not drink Milk. It is a myth that milk eases the burning sensation.
- Don’t smoke- it will irritate the stomach lining
- Do make sure you get enough sleep
- Don’t take aspirin in large quantities- It can cause gastrointestinal bleeding
- Do reduce the amount of coffee and tea and avoid them entirely during an attack
 Did You know...
- The mature dried coconut is valuable in the treatment of acidity. Its oil reduces the acid secretion of the stomach and gives relief.
- Starting one's day with a milk based breakfast along with papaya also helps prevent acid stomach.
- Inspite of its sharp taste, the fresh fruit of grapefruit helps in the prevention and treatment of both acidity and other diseases caused by too much acid in the stomach.
- A teaspoon or two of honey also prevents an acid stomach.
- Excessive use of groundnuts can cause acidity just like Brinjal, Capsicum and apple can make things worse.
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