I see many patients who come with self-diagnosis of acidity and self-medication. Most of them feel surprised when I tell them they actually not suffering from acidity. The fact is self medication is not only harmful but
also counter productive.
What is Acidity?
Burning sensation just below the chest bone in the centre either before or after food. If acid is coming upto chest then burning sensation in chest (heart burn) (Hiatus hernia/LAX LES will be discussed in separate blog). Some times it is so severe that you can confuse this with heart attack.
Other symptoms like pins and needle sensation/burning sensation in chest/abdomen alone is probably not.
Pain moving around different parts of abdomen alone is probably not. Back pain alone is probably not. These symptoms alone are not symptoms of acidity. These might be somatization of acidity if associated with symptoms discussed in the first paragraph. These symptoms alone are probably not diagnostic of acidity/GERD.
What symptoms are not acidity?
1 Feeling bloated,
2 Sounds in abdomen,
3 Rigid abdomen,
4 Pain in different parts of abdomen at different time
5 Altered toiletry habits
6 Feel full after eating little food.
7 Pricking sensation all over the abdomen
All these symptoms are not related to acidity at all. In fact, acidity medicines can make these symptoms worse. These are symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This needs careful evaluation to rule out colorectal cancer in people who are over the age of 50 years. You may also need colonoscopy to rule out colorectal cancer if symptoms are new and you are above the 50 years.
Generally this affects females above 40 years. Worrying problem is that it is now affecting young professionals because of their highly sedentary life style.
These symptoms might also be caused from medicines and some diabetic medicines are most common cause. Poor control of diabetes aggravates these symptoms.
Some people suffer from these symptoms after they had food poisoning (gastro-enteritis). This is usually self-limiting. Some experience these symptoms after taking antibiotics for different conditions and
again this is also self-limiting.
What are the home remedies for IBS?
1 Drinking at-least 3 lts of water.
2 Eating more fiber (all fruits, vegetables and greens)
3 Eating less sweets
4 Exercise (walking or any form of physical activity)
While the above life style changes bring around life long relief of symptoms, medicines (Anti spasmodic/Pre& pro biotics) will help initially to overcome these symptoms.
If you are suffering from above described you do not need medicines for acidity and in fact these medicines can make the symptoms worse.
What food to avoid in Acidity?
As such there is no prescribed diet for acidity. There is no need to avoid any food.
Food habits leads to acidity not food items.
Neither does spices cause acidity when consumed in limited quantity on time.
If you put together the foods that lead to acidity that are listed by 100 people then there will be no items left to eat. So we should be able to eat all items. If there is any particular food that increases the symptoms then avoid it, it is particular to that person.