What is Acid Indigestion?

Acid indigestion, or hyperchlorhydria, is medically defined as an excess of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. The condition is often used as a term for acid reflux or heartburn, though the two are actually symptoms of indigestion. Dietary factors, stress, and digestive system related diseases may cause acid indigestion and may result in acid reflux, heartburn, or otherwise poor digestion. Taking steps to avoid certain food triggers and alter certain sleeping patterns can help combat these ailments.

Hereditary factors and lifestyle factors can both be catalysts for acid indigestion. Stress is a very common cause, whether emotional or physical. Conditions such as stomach ulcers, intestinal disorders, or diseases of the gall bladder may also contribute to indigestion. Very commonly, the condition is a result of certain dietary issues.

Whether eating healthfully or not, there are certain foods that act as triggers for acid indigestion. High fat foods such as cheese, fatty meats, and just about anything fried may aggravate the condition. Acidic foods such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili peppers, and spicy food items are also infamous culprits. Caffeine and alcohol also may not only cause the stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid, but also allow the acid to come up into the esophagus more easily. Not only are caffeinated and alcoholic beverages usually very acidic, but the actual caffeine and alcohol themselves relax the lower esophageal sphincter, thereby causing acid reflux.


When acid indigestion leads to acid reflux and heartburn, liquid and food particles actually come up into the esophagus, causing burning and irritation in the chest and throat. The sensation of chest burning is what is commonly known as heartburn. Acid reflux often results in an unpleasant taste in the mouth, a burning sensation in the throat, general nausea, and occasional vomiting in severe cases. Pregnant women often experience acid reflux and heartburn in later stages of pregnancy.

Digestive ailments other than acid reflux and heartburn may be a result of indigestion. Sometimes blood or dark coloring may be present from bowel movements, which could indicate a more serious underlying condition. Excessively high metabolism and improper absorption of nutrients sometimes also result in unwanted weight loss. This symptom may also be triggered by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or irritable bowel disorder (IBD), which are also common among sufferers of acid indigestion.

To combat acid indigestion, it can be advantageous to keep track of eating habits in order to help pinpoint foods that trigger the condition. Eating slowly, chewing food thoroughly, and waiting a little while before exercising or performing manual work may be helpful. Some find it helpful to postpone sleep until at least a few hours after eating, and even then it may be best to sleep with the head and neck somewhat elevated. Reducing stress, however possible, may also be beneficial.



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