Having an upset stomach several times a week might be IBS or Hyper Acidity/ Acid reflux. What is the difference between these conditions?
Table Of Contents
- The Reasons Behind Your Acidity
- A Leaky Small Intestine
- A Malfunctioning Large Intestine
You must have experienced abdominal aches, bloating, and sour taste in your throat sometime in your life. Many people do not take their bellies seriously and just keep on pushing inside as much and whatever and whenever they want. Then there are others who go on unplanned fasts for reducing weight.
Inside the belly is situated your bowels or more scientifically speaking the small and large intestines. The bowels play a very important role as to how your belly behaves. Belly also has the sack called stomach with linkages to the organs liver and pancreas.
Medically speaking IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome in short, yet IBS in a layman’s term can also mean Irritable Belly Symptoms. However, in this article, the discussion has been restricted to the medically defined term and it is assumed that your stomach and abdominal organs are functioning well and not causing the trouble.
The Reasons Behind Your Acidity
Acidity is a very irritable condition and you constantly get acidic reflux into your throat from the stomach when you suffer from acidity or hyperacidity. The medium inside your stomach is acidic.
Your stomach has glands that secrete HCL. An acidic medium enables better digestion of food, yet when the level of acid in the stomach crosses normal levels then you suffer from a condition known as acidity or hyperacidity.
Separating your esophagus and stomach is a valve called Lower Esophageal Sphincter or LES. In normal conditions, the food does not come upward in the valve but only goes down.
However, when the food pushes up the valve from the stomach into the esophagus it causes a sour taste in your throat and chest burn and you experience the symptoms of acidity.
The common reasons underlying hyperacidity can be overeating, fasting long hours or eating foods that produce excess acids upon digestion like spicy, fried and sugary foods. Formation of gas inside the stomach can also cause acid reflux.
However certain times there can be an underlying severe medical cause that may require immediate medical counselling like infection or inflammation in the gut or malfunctioning of the stomach glands and even the proton pumps.
A Leaky Small Intestine
A leaky small intestine can really harass your belly and make it lose its flatness. The small intestine part of your belly performs the function of absorbing the food passed down by your stomach.
Yet if there happens to be a problem with your small intestine then your smaller bowels may leak and cause bloating, distention, gas formation among other symptoms. If you eat, sleep and exercise well and still frequently suffer from such symptoms then it is time to seek medical help.
A Malfunctioning Large Intestine
The large intestine in your belly performs the task of moving the waste food matter out of the body and absorbing excess water. Large intestines have muscles to help in the proper movement of waste food matter.
If your large intestines don’t function well you may get diarrhea or constipation depending on whether the matter moves too slow or fast.
Acidity and IBS
According to doctors many people who come to them with belly problems and are diagnosed with IBS also suffer from hyperacidity or acidity.
Though acidity and IBS can occur separately, doctors have found strong linkages with IBS and poor Lower Esophageal Sphincter or LES functioning. Remember LES? It’s the valve that separates your stomach from your throat or esophagus. If the LES valve muscles do not function properly then acid reflux is frequent.
Is there also any relation between acid reflux and diarrhea? Can acid reflux cause diarrhea and vomiting? Can acid reflux cause stomach pain? Medical research has found that IBS patients suffer from poor coordination of lower abdominal and esophageal muscles and hence people suffering from diarrhea due to IBS can also suffer from acidity. Sometimes medications given to cure acidity can also cause diarrhea as a side effect.
Medical science is still exploring the connection with acidity and IBS, yet according to common medical hypothesis, the reason can be traced to overall gastrointestinal motility or the ability of the abdomen to provide inner motility.
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1. How does eating fibrous foods aid gastrointestinal motility?
Our meals should constitute the required amount of fiber our body needs. Though consumption of excess fiber may cause gas and diarrhea its lack can cause constipation. Fiber can be soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber can dissolve in water to form a gel-like substance and yields a full sensation in the stomach thus reducing the need to consume carbs in excess. Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water but combine with the wastes and is thrown out by the bowels along with the wastes.
Hence insoluble fibers aid in the elimination of wastes and unhealthy substances like unhealthy microbes and bacteria. Foods rich in soluble fibers are oats, peas, psyllium, roots and citrus fruits. Foods rich in insoluble fibers are whole wheat, bran, potato among other sources.
2. What can be the reason behind the age-old saying ‘After supper walk a mile’?
Walking is an exercise that is most recommended by doctors. Besides having several other scientific benefits walking is also known to improve gastrointestinal motility and thereby digestion.
3. Can certain herbs also improve motility of the abdomen?
Herbs can aid the digestion process. Several herbs have been known to have a therapeutic effect on the digestive system. Certain bitter herbs can reduce bloating, gas and food allergies. Carminative herbs can warm up the digestive tract and speed the digestion process and muscular movements.
4. Why should we not gulp down food?
Food should not be gulped down unmindfully. Food should be properly chewed in the mouth before sending it down to the stomach. The process of digestion starts in the mouth itself and the saliva present in your mouth is a digestive juice. The food should properly mix with the saliva in the mouth and get masticated before entering the stomach.
5. Why are some people more susceptible to acidity than others?
Some people suffer from poor gastrointestinal motility from birth or a poorly developed digestion system during the childhood years due to poor eating habits. Sometimes acidity and IBS problems can even be due to hormonal and neurological problems leading to malfunction at the cellular level of the proton pumps that release hormones which cause the stomach glands to secrete acid into the stomach. Hyperacidity can also be due to infection, inflammation and also mental conditions like excessive stress and IBS acid reflux anxiety.