Sour Stomach


What is Sour Stomach?

Sometimes people suffer from indigestion and often complain of having a ‘Sour stomach’. It is a condition where an individual suffers from an upset stomach. This usually takes place when the food is not properly digested or due to a trouble in the digestive system. It is accompanied by a number of symptoms and the causes may also vary from a person to the other. This condition of indigestion is also referred to as ‘dyspepsia’ in medical terms.

Sour Stomach

Causes of Sour Stomach

  • Peptic ulcers: When digestive juices wear away from the lining of the digestive system, it leads to formation of sores known as peptic ulcers. They usually occur in the lower part of the abdomen, the lining of the duodenum and stomach. They may be caused due to infection by bacteria and as a result of consumption of anti inflammatory drugs.
  • Gallstones: Gallbladder is an organ that contains bile juice that helps in digestion of food. The presence of large amounts of cholesterol, salts, calcium or bilirubin sometimes leads to formation of stones that block the bile duct.
  • Gastritis: When the protective lining of the stomach becomes weak, the digestive juices are able to damage the organs easily. Gastrointestinal infection caused by bacteria also results in gastritis. It causes inflammation of the stomach lining leading to indigestion and pain.
  • Spicy or fatty food: Spicy food contains a chemical known as capsaicin which can damage the lining of the stomach. It is naturally present in chilies and other spicy food items. Fatty food items might cause blockage due to accumulation of fat in various organs.
  • Bad eating habits: Eating very quickly does not allow the food to be chewed properly, hence, it is not broken down in a manner to ensure proper digestion. Also eating too much in a single meal burdens the stomach with excess pressure to digest more food within a shorter time.
  • Bad sleeping habits: Sleeping soon after eating affects digestion. Also not getting enough sleep affects the process of digestion. A minimum of 6-7 hours of sleep is required so that the body gets time to work on the food that has been consumed.
  • Beverages: Alcohol, tea and coffee are beverages that contain chemicals and other substances that may disrupt the digestive process.
  • Infection in the gastro intestinal tract: The gastrointestinal tract may be infected by bacteria. This causes damage to the organs that are involved in digestion. It prevents the organs from digesting food efficiently.

Symptoms of Sour Stomach

  • Nausea
  • Stomach bloating
  • Belching
  • Stomach gurgling
  • Metallic or sour taste in the mouth
  • Heart burn
  • Acid reflux or regurgitation
  • Stomach pain
  • Gassy feeling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Body ache
  • Chills without fever
  • Headache
  • Increase in bowel movement
  • Loose stools or diarrhea
  • Feeling of fullness

Tests for Sour Stomach

  • Blood test
  • Examination of stools
  • Examination of breath
  • CT Angiography
  • Colonoscopy
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Radionuclide scanning
  • Upper and lower gastrointestinal tests
  • Abdominal ultrasounds
  • Abdominal x-rays
  • Defecography
  • Colorectal transit study
  • Barium beefsteak meal
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography
  • Oropharyngeal motility study
  • Radioisotope gastric emptying scanning
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
  • Anorectal manometry
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy
  • Esophageal pH monitoring
  • Esophageal manometry
  • Gastric manometry
  • Capsule endoscopy

Treatment

  • Avoid foods that cause gas: Vegetables such as radish, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. are known to cause gas. While suffering from indigestion people should avoid eating these food items to avoid further complications.
  • Carbonated drinks: They may also cause irritation in the gastro intestinal system. The artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives used in these drinks can worsen digestive problems.
  • Diet: People suffering from indigestion must have diets that are rich in fiber, such as legumes, whole grains, etc. They should also avoid processed food and greased food.
  • Meals: It is advisable for people to have smaller meals at specific time intervals, rather than having large meals at a time. This gives ample time for the food to be digested properly.
  • Sleep habits: There must be a time between a meal and the time people go to bed. Going to bed immediately after meals interrupts the passage of the food. Also people must sleep for the required hours to maintain a healthy body. Sleep allows the body to rest and digest the food properly.

Some Home Remedies

  • Warm milk: This helps to ease the pain caused by a stomach upset. People who are not lactose intolerant can try this remedy as it helps to coat the damaged lining of the stomach and esophagus. Honey can also be added to the milk.
  • Carrot juice: The juice helps to absorb the acid that may be present in the esophagus. Hence, it helps to relieve the individual from the symptoms associated with a sour stomach.
  • Cinnamon powder tea: 1 or ½ tablespoon of cinnamon powder can be mixed in a glass of hot water to make cinnamon tea. This beverage has also been recommended to relieve people from sour stomach.
  • Banana and yoghurt: These two food items are helpful in repairing the lining of the stomach wall from the damage caused by the gastric acid. They help to reduce irritation. Bananas are rich in potassium and act as natural antacids, just as yoghurt.
  • Standing upright: This position keeps the stomach and esophagus extended, thus allowing gravity to work and help in movement of food along the digestive tract.
  • Ginger tea: Having this drink about 20-30 minutes after the meals help to ease the pain and relax the muscles of the stomach.
  • Baking soda: A mixture of baking soda and water can also help to relieve the individual from the effects caused due to sour stomach.

When to visit a doctor?

Stomach upsets are quite common and may arise due to trivial causes like over eating or excessive activity soon after meals. The body should be able to get over this state on its own or with the help of some prescribed medication. However, if the symptoms associated with such a condition become unbearable, then a doctor must be consulted as they might be indication towards a more serious underlying health issue.

References

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