Everyone knows that the human stomach produces a special juice for digesting food. But not everyone knows that this juice contains real hydrochloric acid, which has bactericidal properties and helps the body to digest what has been eaten.
Sometimes problems arise with the production of acid, and then the gastroenterologist diagnoses increased or decreased acidity of the stomach. What are these conditions, how are they dangerous and how to cure them?
Our stomach is divided into several sections. In one of them there is a special gland that are responsible for the production of hydrochloric acid . During the day, the stomach is able to produce from 1.5 to 2 liters of juice containing this acid. It is necessary for the normal digestion of food, as well as for the destruction of toxins and microorganisms that enter the stomach with food.
“Stomach acidity is measured in terms of pH, ” says the doctor. – And it can be of three types: high – this is when the environment is very acidic, low – when there is not enough acid for normal digestion processes , and neutral is the norm. The latter, alas, does not occur as often as we would like . “
Increasingly, patients are diagnosed with abnormalities that manifest themselves with similar symptoms: heartburn, belching, pain. It is because of the similarity of symptoms that it is very important that only a doctor makes the final conclusion about increased or decreased acidity.
When too much acid is produced in the stomach, the mucous membrane is exposed to its aggressive action, inflammation occurs and, as a result, gastritis . In the end, hyperacidity can lead to peptic ulcer disease and even develop into cancer .
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“According to statistics, every tenth resident of Russia has a peptic ulcer, ” says Yulia Palamarchuk. – And for the most part these are men, since they have 1.5 times more glands in their bodies that produce hydrochloric acid. In addition, men are more likely to lead unhealthy lifestyles than women: they smoke, drink alcohol and eat poorly. And these factors often provoke illness. “
According to the doctor, acidity can be manifested by sour belching after eating, heartburn and pain. This condition is quite common in people who are obese due to increased appetite and overeating. In such situations, the stomach adapts to frequent meals, produces a lot of hydrochloric acid and stretches, starting a vicious circle. Increased appetite – more hydrochloric acid. Therefore, for proper treatment in such conditions, it is necessary to first reduce the production of hydrochloric acid.
How to lower acidity
To reduce the acidity of the stomach, a special diet is prescribed. It is based on barley, rice, oatmeal, which have enveloping properties. As well as light, low-fat broths, dietary meat and seafood. It is necessary to add vegetables and fruits containing soft fiber to the menu – these are zucchini, cucumbers, bananas, pears. But fatty, fried, sour, spicy foods, fast food, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, alcohol and sausages must be excluded.
After eating, it is recommended to drink a glass of milk . This helps to normalize the acidity.
In addition, the doctor may prescribe antacids – anti-acid emergency remedies, antisecretory drugs that maintain a neutral pH in the stomach, or gastroprotectors – drugs that protect the mucous membrane from ulceration and erosion.
“It is very important that a doctor prescribes medications for this pathology, ” emphasizes Yulia Palamarchuk. – Because it can be difficult to distinguish between symptoms of high and low acidity on your own . If you have heartburn, you do not need to run to the pharmacy and buy antacids: you can make a mistake and aggravate the painful condition. “
When too little acid is produced in the stomach, food is no longer digested properly. There is heaviness after eating, belching with a putrid odor, heartburn and bloating. But worst of all, poorly digested food fragments pass further along the digestive tract and can not be absorbed in the intestines. And this means that anemia occurs in the body, a deficiency of vitamins of group B, B12, vitamins A and E, as well as folic and ascorbic acid.
“The bactericidal effect of gastric juice also decreases , ” says the doctor. “This means that bacteria survive in the stomach and can cause all sorts of intestinal upsets, diarrhea and enter the bloodstream.”
Low stomach acidity is considered a precancerous condition. Cells that are supposed to make hydrochloric acid can atrophy and become cancerous. Therefore, this condition must be diagnosed and treated in time .
How to increase acidity
In this case, a diet is also needed. Patients should eat small meals 5-6 times a day. So food, even with small amounts of gastric juice, will have time to digest.
“In such a state, fruits and vegetables with a high acid content are needed , ” Yulia Yurievna comments. – This is sauerkraut, pickled foods. Wheat and buckwheat cereals are good, as they are rich in vitamins and minerals that help increase the production of their own acid. In addition, they are stomach-friendly and contain easily digestible proteins and carbohydrates. “
You will have to refuse spicy and salty dishes . As well as from alcohol and fatty foods. And especially from sweets, as sugar promotes fermentation and putrefaction in the stomach.
The development of both low and high acidity can be prevented. To do this, you need to follow several rules. In – First, do not overeat.
“The best habit that will help maintain stomach health, – it is to get up from the – for the table a little hungry – advises Julia Palamarchuk. – After all, the feeling of fullness comes about 20 minutes after eating. This is a great rule to not overeat and do not overload the stomach. “
It is also important not to overeat at night. It is better to have dinner no later than two to three hours before bedtime. In addition, the doctor recommends eliminating provoking factors: stress, unhealthy diet, bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol. And if you feel a – discomfort in the stomach, it is best not to self-medicate, and seek to a gastroenterologist. If necessary, he will prescribe additional studies that will assess the pH level of the stomach and prescribe the correct and timely treatment.