The treatment for acidity is based on either neutralizing the effect of acidity or blocking the production of stomach acids.
On the basis of the mode of action medication for acidity is divided into the following types
These medications neutralize the stomach acid and thus provide relief from heartburn and acidity. Antacids provide quick relief from acidity and are known as “Stomach acid neutralizers”. These medicines are available in both syrups and in tablet form.
Examples of drugs in this class of medicines are:
- Aluminum hydroxide
- Calcium carbonate
- Magnesium carbonate
- Magnesium hydroxide
- Magnesium trisilicate
These medications can have side effects depending upon the type of ingredient. For example, if it contains magnesium hydroxide, it can cause diarrhea and if it has aluminium hydroxide, it can cause constipation. There can be long term side effects such as swelling of hands and feet, gas, diarrhea and constipation.
2: H2 Receptor Blockers
These medications help fight against acidity by blocking the certain receptors present on the cells of the stomach. H2 receptor blockers are also used to treat damaged tissues of the stomach due to stomach inflammation or gastritis and peptic ulcer. A common side effects of these medicines are diarrhea and abdominal pain. These medications are not recommended for pregnant women as they can cause fetal side effects and abortion.
Examples of such drugs are:
3: Coating Drugs
These medicines belong to the protective class of drugs as they protect the lining of the stomach and oesophagus. These medications are considered safe and are recommended for the short term. These medicines are recommended for people suffering from peptic ulcer or stomach ulcer disease.
Examples of this class of drug include
- Colloidal bismuth (CBS)
4: Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI)
These medicines provide relief from acidity by reducing and blocking the production of the stomach. These medications are available both as prescribed and over the counter drugs. PPIs are normally given to those patients who don’t show recovery signs by diet or lifestyle changes. It is also given to patients who regularly suffer from gastric symptoms.
Side effects of these medications include diarrhea, headache and upset stomach. The long term side effects of PPI are not completely known so you need to talk to your doctor before taking it.
Examples of PPI drugs are:
5: Prokinetic Drugs
The mode of action of these drugs depend upon promoting proper oesophagus contraction and helping the stomach in proper digestion and emptying. These medications are mostly recommended for people suffering from GERD. Prokinetic drugs are also used in combination with other drugs such as H2 receptor blockers or PPIs.
Agitation, drowsiness and diarrhea are some of the common side effects of prokinetic drugs. Examples of prokinetic drugs are:
Home Remedies for Acidity
You can also get help from some of these home remedies to get relief from acidity.
1: Cold Milk
Cold, not warm milk, is proven to be beneficial in coping with acidity. You need to drink it alone without adding sugar, honey or turmeric to it. Milk is rich in calcium and plays a role in preventing acid buildup. It neutralizes the acidic effect of stomach acid by absorbing the excess acid.
2: Cinnamon (Dalchini)
It relieves acidity by helping in the digestion process of the stomach. It contains phytochemicals that aid in this process. You need to add a pinch of cinnamon in water or a teaspoon of honey and drink it after every meal to get relief from acidity. However, if you are allergic to any food ingredient, you need to consult your doctor first.
3: Tulsi Leaves
Anti-ulcer properties are present in the leaves of tulsi, due to this, it helps in lowering the level of stomach acid. It also helps in the production of more mucus in the stomach and therefore aids in neutralizing the excess gastric acid in the stomach. You need to chew 4-5 leaves of tulsi and swallow its juice. It will help you get relief from the burning sensation in the chest and stomach.
4: Cumin Seeds (Zeera)
Cumin seeds contain certain compounds that act as natural carminative and digestive agents. Zeera help in fighting off acidity that is caused by gas or indigestion. It also helps in relieving discomfort and stomach pain by relieving the symptoms of acidity.
You need to add ¼ to ½ teaspoons of zeera in a cup of water. Boil it until its colour darkens. Stain it properly and drink it when it’s lukewarm at a regular interval throughout the day.
Can Acidity be treated via Surgery?
If the medications are not working and acidity is affecting daily life activities and overall health in general, then medical health practitioner would recommend surgery.
There are two types of surgeries that are currently approved for acidity treatment. The first one is surgically placing the ring (known as LINX) around the oesophagus. It can prevent the backflow of acid in the oesophagus. If you are allergic to certain metals, you should never get this treatment.
Fundoplication is another type of surgery that can help prevent acidity. Surgeons perform this surgery either by an open incision method in the abdomen or chest or with the help of a light tube that is inserted in the stomach.
It should be noted here that these procedures are recommended as a last resort when all other treatment procedures fail.