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Acidity Causes

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Acidity Causes

There are different mechanisms which can cause acidity in any individual. As explained earlier, when the stomach produces more gastric juices than required, then the excess fluids try to move backward into the food pipe, causing acidity. There is a door-like muscular structure, known as the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), at the opening of the stomach which prevents the back flow of food and gastric content into the esophagus. In normal circumstances, this sphincter remains sturdy and closed. But when there is too much pressure on the stomach or there is any mechanical damage to LES then its function can be disrupted. This would allow the gastric content to move back, causing discomfort. There are a number of factors that can increase gastric acid production or affect the functioning of LES, and thus cause acidity:

  1. Food: Excess consumption of spicy foods, acidic foods, foods rich in fat content (fried and junk), caffeine, carbonated beverages, etc., produce more gastric acid. Fatty foods also relax the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter, thus causing acidity.

  2. Stress: When a body is under stress, there is hormonal imbalance which can affect the production of the acids in the stomach. Under stress, body can become sensitive to even small amount of acid in the food pipe and thus can show symptoms like heartburn or regurgitation. This when clubbed with stress-related overeating can further aggravate the reflux.

  3. Body weight: When a person is overweight or obese, then the extra abdominal fats exert more pressure on the stomach which forces acid to move upward.

  4. Pregnancy: As the size of the uterus increases, especially towards the end of the second trimester & beginning of the third, pressure on the stomach also increases. Also, the hormonal changes during pregnancy further relaxes the LES thus causing acidity in most of the pregnant women.

  5. Unhealthy eating habits: Unhealthy habits like skipping meals, keeping long gaps between meals, lying down immediately after eating, overeating can also trigger acidity.

  6. Alcohol & Smoking: Overindulgence of alcohol and tobacco consumption (both cigarettes and hukkah) are likely to worsen the heartburn. They delay the gastric emptying and relaxes the LES, together this can aggravate the condition.

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