Sour Stomach And Acid Indigestion – Harmless, Or Not?
Sour stomach, which is also known as acid stomach, acid indigestion, or dyspepsia (the names will be used interchangeably in this article) occurs more often than any other gastrointestinal problem. The Johns Hopkins University reports that approximately one-fourth of Americans suffer some form of acid stomach or acid indigestion at any given time. Five percent of those who visited their general practitioner in a recent year did so because of sour stomach symptoms. Women are more likely to get sour stomach than men.
Symptoms of acid indigestion make you feel uncomfortable because your digestive system can’t process the contents of your stomach after a meal. In fact, the most common causes of sour stomach are overeating, eating too fast or eating something you have trouble digesting. A lot of different medications can cause acid stomach symptoms too: aspirin and other NSAIDs, digitalis, corticosteroids, iron, a number of antibiotics, theophylline and niacin, among others. Some chemotherapy drugs can also cause sour stomach
Someone with acid indigestion is likely to experience bloated stomach, burping, belching, gas and sometimes pain above the abdomen. Symptoms that can be uncomfortable and annoying but are usually harmless and temporary.
Sour stomach could, however, also be an indication of a digestive problem that requires a doctor’s attention.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a cause of dyspepsia that is characterized by upper abdominal pain. GERD, which is better known as acid reflux, occurs when powerful stomach acid erupts into the esophagus and irritates the lining of the throat.
Peptic ulcer disease, which results in pain in the upper abdomen, is another of the causes of sour stomach. Pain from a stomach ulcer can be so intense that it keeps you tossing and turning at night.
Stomach cancer is another of the causes of dyspepsia, but it is unusual.
What are the remedies for acid indigestion? Well, if you have episodes of acid stomach, you can generally get relief by taking antacids and histamine (H2)-blockers. These remedies for acidic stomach can be obtained over-the-counter. Antacids neutralize stomach acid, which in turn reduces inflammation (also known as gastritis). Antacids are designed to give you quick relief from dyspepsia symptoms. Examples include calcium carbonate (which is found in Tums and several other medications) and magnesium salts (found in Mylanta, among other things).
H2 blockers work by suppressing the secretion of stomach acid, giving irritated tissues a chance to heal. H2 blockers include cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid entirely) and ranitidine (Zantac).
If such medications don’t work and sour stomach symptoms persist or return over and over, it’s time to talk with a medical professional.