Internal layers of the stomach produce a hormone termed as gastrin. This hormone stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid. Acidity of the stomach is important to prevent bacterial growth, as food resides in the stomach before it is digested and hence, serves as a good medium for bacterial growth. Acid produced in the stomach is also important for digestion, as it breaks down very complex molecules.
Despite the above benefits of acid production in the stomach, it is unbearable if the acid production extends beyond the limits. The burning sensation is due to the action of the acid on the internal layers of the stomach. The following are some of the causes that are responsible for increased acid production in the stomach.
• Diet, increased consumption of spicy foods and oily foods increases the extent of acid production.
• If you consume foods that are very rich in fiber content, it takes a long time for the food to pass through the stomach. As a result, the acid production continues until the stomach is emptied, resulting in increased amount of acid in the stomach.
• Stomach ulcer or cancers that increase the production of gastrin automatically increase the acid production.
• Stress is the major cause for a great number of ailments in the body. It is found that individuals who are severely stressed produce increased amounts of acid in the stomach.
• Bacterial infection by the bacterium H. pylori is also found to increase the acid production.
• Irregular meals like not having meals regularly at a particular time. Existence of a long gap between meals results in accumulation of the secreted acid in the stomach.
• In some people, lack of sufficient sleep also increases the acid production.
In majority of the cases, increased acid production is mainly due to dietary habits. To know if foods are responsible for increased acidity, cultivate the habit of noting down the foods you have taken and the time you have developed acidity. Correlation of both the details shows the presence of any existing relation between foods consumed and the cause of increased stomach acid. If having certain foods is repeatedly associated with acidity, quit the food to obtain relief from the problem.
If the daily routine is keeping you busy and preventing you from having timely meals, try to nibble something in the middle. This helps to keep the acid levels in the stomach under control.
In some cases, if the acidity is due to infection and if you have mistaken the acidity induced by foods and reduce the consumption of acid producing foods, it will only worsen the condition. As reduced acidity promotes bacterial growth and worsens the condition. Hence, before you start any treatment, even controlling the dietary habits, it is highly recommended to consult a physician and get yourself tested for the condition of increased stomach acidity. If the acid levels are not brought under control with the simple alteration of dietary measures, your physician may recommend antacids.
In most of the cases, positive results can be obtained without drug intervention, by controlling the dietary habits, having sufficient sleep and leading a stress free lifestyle.