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How can I treat Acidity?

Acidity leads to various other health problems, and it is better to control it at first recognized symptoms, before facing dire consequences. Prevent or control acidity by opting for a healthy lifestyle. Always remember, prevention is better than cure!

To avoid recurrence of acidity

  1. Avoid eating junk and spicy food
  2. Avoid irregular and hurried meals
  3. Avoid lying down immediately after eating
  4. Drink lots of water
  5. Stop smoking and cut down on alcohol
  6. Try some home remedies which include the intake of lime juice, mint juice, watermelons, cucumbers, basil leaves, coconut water and similar food which is either non-acidic or reduces acid formation

The medical examinations for acidity include:

  1. X-ray of the upper digestive system or Esophagram
  2. Endoscopy for examining the esophagus and stomach
  3. Biopsy during endoscopy to check samples of tissue for infection or abnormalities
  4. Other Tests include ambulatory acid (pH) probe test and esophageal motility test

Treatment Modalities Available

The best way to treat acidity is by changing eating habits and by intake of oral medicines which mainly include antacids. If antacids do not help, doctors prescribe some alternative medication. However, if none of the medications resolve the problem of acidity, the last resort is a surgery called Fundoplication.

Fundoplication Surgery

During Fundoplication surgery, the upper curvy end of the stomach (the Fundus) is wrapped around the lower end of the esophagus and sewn into place so that the lower portion of the esophagus passes through a small tunnel of stomach muscle. This surgery strengthens the valve between the esophagus and stomach (Lower Esophageal Sphincter), which stops acid from easily backing up into the esophagus. This allows the esophagus to heal.

There are two ways to carry this procedure. Through the abdomen and through the chest. The chest approach is considered if a person is overweight or has a short esophagus.

This procedure is often done using a laparoscopic surgical technique. Outcomes of the laparoscopic technique are best when the surgery is done by a surgeon with experience using this procedure.

If a person is suffering from a Hiatal hernia, which can cause Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Symptoms, it will also be repaired during this surgery.

Complications in Management

Antacids and other medicines prescribed for acidity may cause diarrhea or constipation, especially if overused. It is advisable to use antacids that contain both magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide which help counteract these side effects.

Precautions during treatment:

  1. Stop smoking and cut down on alcohol
  2. Avoid eating junk and spicy food
  3. Drink plenty of water
  4. Avoid irregular and hurried meals
  5. Avoid lying down immediately after eating

Diet:

  1. A balanced diet, which includes light and healthy food, is best for the patient. Intake of non-acidic fruits, vegetables, coconut water, garlic, mint juice, herbal tea and similar food items is advisable.
  2. Increasing intake of water helps tremendously.

Activity:

  1. The patient should exercise regularly and keep check on the body weight
  2. Should not lie down immediately after eating. Sitting for a while or taking a walk before going to bed is ideal.

Risk of Infection to other family members:

Acidity is not infectious.

Precaution to avoid recurrence

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