Hyperacidity literally means ‘excess of acid’ or ‘hyper-secretion of acid from stomach’, when taken in relation to GIT. But not all patients who come to the doctor complaining of ‘acidity’ suffer from hyperacidity in true sense. These patients complaining of ‘acidity’ can broadly be divided into two categories:
|PRIMARY OR FUNCTIONAL||SECONDARY OR PATHOLOGICAL|
|REFLUX OESOPHAGITIS||PEPTIC ULCER|
A. PRIMARY HYPERACIDITY
Common Causes of Hyperacidity
- Prolonged ingestion of aspirin or some anti-inflammatory drugs
- Prolonged alcohol ingestion
- Eating of spicy and highly seasoned food like chilly, pickles, etc.
- Stress is also an important cause for hyperacidity
- Heavy smoking
Also occurs after surgery or burns or with severe bacterial infection
Common Symptoms of Hyperacidity
- A steady pain of short duration in upper abdomen immediately following a large or spicy meal or aspirin ingestion
- Nausea, vomiting, and loss of desire to eat which may persist for 1-2 days
- Heartburn or sour belching
- Early repletion or satiety after meals
- A sense of abdominal distension or ‘bloating’
- Flatulence (burping, belching)
- Vomiting of blood or blood in stools
- If gastritis persists there may be eventual development of anaemia
Long-standing hyperacidity may lead to formation of ulcers in the stomach which may again lead to complications like perforation.
Management of Hyperacidity
Abstinence from smoking and alcohol is a must. Avoiding stress. Eating bland food and refraining from unnecessary medication.
Conventional treatment consists of antacids which cause a lot of side-effects like headache, dryness, hypersensitivity and confusion. They also have only a temporary effect.
On the other hand, homeopathic treatment is safe and gentle, without side-effects. And it treats in totality, leading to an actual cure, rather than a temporary suppression of symptoms.
B. SECONDARY HYPERACIDITY
I. REFLUX OESOPHAGITIS
The disorder may be defined as damage to the esophageal mucosa due to reflux of gastric contents.
Etiology: Increased reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus from reduced pressure in the lower oesophageal sphincter and an increased number of transient relaxation of the sphincter are the main factors in the development of reflux esophagitis.
Clinical Features / Symptoms:
- Heartburn: This is a sensation of burning or burning pain located high in the epigastria or behind the lower end of the sternum often radiating upwards behind the sternum. It occurs after meals and is characteristically brought on by lifting or straining due to an increase in the abdominal pressure. Heartburn may also occur on lying down in bed at night, preventing sleep or awakening the patient several hours after the onset of sleep.It is sometimes precipitated immediately by acid food or drink – tomatoes, orange, cola, and alcohol.
- Painful Dysphagia: The usual cause is the bolus of food passing through an inflamed segment of esophagus.
- Regurgitation of gastric contents into the mouth may occur during bending, after large meal or at night. The patient becomes aware of the regurgitation because of a bitter taste in the mouth.
- Sore throat, Globus sensation (‘lump in throat’), and hoarseness are other consequences.
- Weight reduction
- Stopping cigarette smoking
- Meals should be of small volume
- Alcohol, fatty food, and caffeine should be avoided
- No snacks must be taken after evening meal to prevent nocturnal regurgitation
- Heavy stooping or bending at the waist should be avoided especially after meals
- Head in the bed should be elevated by 15 cm.
II. PEPTIC ULCER
The term ‘peptic ulcer’ refers to an ulcer in the lower esophagus, stomach, or duodenum.
Etiology: Following factors play a role
- Helicobacter pylori
- Chronic stress
- Duodenogastric reflux of bile.
Pathology: An ulcer forms when there is an imbalance between aggressive forces, i.e., the digestive power of acid and pepsin, and defensive factors i.e., the ability of the gastric and duodenal mucosa to resist this digestive power. However, in the majority of patients acid secretion is within normal limits or is moderately raised. In these individuals, damage to the gastric mucosal barrier is necessary to facilitate the damaging effect of acid and pepsin. The initial damage results from Helicobacter pylori, NSAID’s, and smoking.
Clinical Features / Symptoms:
- Epigastric pain: Pain is referred to the epigastrium and is often so sharply localized that the patient can indicate its site with two or three fingers-the ‘pointing sign’.
- Hunger pain: Pain occurs intermittently during the day, often when the stomach is empty, so that the patient identifies it as ‘hunger pain’ and obtains relief by eating.
- Night pain: Pain wakes the patient from sleep and may be relieved by food, a drink of milk, or antacids; this symptom when present is virtually pathognomonic for ulcer.
- Water brash: This is a sudden filling of mouth with saliva which is produced as a reflex response to a variety of symptoms from the upper GIT, e.g., peptic ulcer pain
- Loss of appetite
Hyperacidity and Homeopathy
Based on the above symptoms commonly found in the patients complaining of ‘acidity’, following homoeopathic medicines can be used in such patients:
Medicines for ‘Hyperacidity’ as given in Boericke’s Materia Medica:
Arg. n; Atrop; Cal. c; Carbo v.; Iris; Nux v.; Orexine tan.; Puls.; Robin.; Sul. ac.;
Acet. ac.; Anac.; Ant. c.; Bism.; Caffeine; Calc. p.; Cham.; Chin ars; Cinch.; Con.; Grind.; Hydr.; Ign.; Lob. infl.; Lyc.; Mag. c.; Mur. ac.; Nat. p.; Petrol.; Phos.; Prun. v.; sul.
On doing a general repertorisation of the following symptoms common in acidity,
- Nausea, eating after
- Nausea, morning
- Vomiting, eating after
- Distension, eating after
- Distension, eating after
- Eructation’s, food(regurgitation)
- Fullness, sensation of, eating after
- Ulcers, stomach in
following medicines top the results:
- Nux vomica-27/30
- Calc c.-22/30
- Carbo v./ China/ Phos/ Sulph-19/30
- Nat m.-16/30
- Ars/ Lach-14/30
So here we will discuss and compare some of these important medicines. The symptoms will be listed in following pattern: