How Does Your Weight
Affect Your Acidity?

Regular acidity can be a pain to live with. But do you think it is only caused by bad eating habits? If you are someone who suffers from acidity on a daily basis, then you should look into the other factors that contribute towards it, especially if you are overweight.

People who are overweight or have a higher BMI (25-30 kg/m2) or are obese with BMI > 30 kg/m2  often suffer from acidity or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).1

Acidity symptoms such as heartburn affect most people at some point in time or the other. However, those with higher BMI have a higher possibility of experiencing these symptoms with the frequency increasing with the increase of weight and decreasing with weight loss measures3.

Acidity Symptoms
Associated With Obesity4

50-70% of the Asian population suffers from some extent of Acidity symptoms or GERS (Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms). The symptoms are experienced spontaneously or in certain positions like while leaning forward, or lying down or during physical activity. Here are some of the acidity symptoms experienced by individuals with a BMI >=30:

Vomiting
You might have to deal with frequent nausea and vomiting.

Early  Satiety
You will start to feel full even after you have consumed a very small amount of food.

Epigastric Pain
You might experience pains in the upper abdominal area right below the ribs.

Heartburn
You might suffer from a burning sensation in your chest area due to indigestion.

Regurgitation
Your body will expel material from the esophagus due to the presence of undigested food.

Postprandial Fullness
You might experience pain or discomfort in your abdominal area due to bloating, fullness, nausea and so on.

Dysphagia
You might also have to deal with difficulty in swallowing.

Risk Factors
Associated With Obesity:

Increased relaxation of LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter): Due to the surrounding adipose tissues in obese individuals, there is a higher degree of gastric firmness. This is one of the major causes of acidity that eventually causes increased relaxation of the LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter). Due to this, there is higher acid reflux and the individual feel the acidity symptoms. In severe cases, this could also cause disruption of the gastroesophageal junction.5

Treatment Of Acidity
In Obese Individuals

Weight Loss
This is the most effective way to get relief from common acidity symptoms like gastric acid reflux and heartburn. Previously uncontrollable, GERD can now be controlled with medication or get resolved completely if weight loss is done in a healthy way which includes

1. Increased physical activity.

2. Controlled intake of food, a healthier diet and smaller portion sizes to manage calorie intake.

3. A regulated diet therapy must be adopted by high BMI individuals to restrict their calorie intake. They should avoid fatty, sour, spicy food and sweets. They should consume peppermint tea and eat one big portion instead of two big portions in the evening.7

Medication
 Antacids, H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) and proton pump inhibitors (PPI) are usually prescribed. The efficacy of the medication may differ among individuals of normal BMI and those with high BMI. For patients with BMI>30, if a combination of weight management and therapy does not work, then surgical interventions are sometimes recommended by medical practitioners8.

Gastric Bypass
For individuals who continue to suffer from GERD, in spite of aggressive acid suppression therapy, gastric bypass is recommended.9

Bariatric Surgery
There are different types of procedures within this segment, some of which aim at restricting the amount of food entering the stomach while others focus on making the stomach pouch smaller and hence more restrictive.10

References:

1 The Association Between Obesity and GERD: A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence
Read More »

2 Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Obese PatientsRead More »

3 Association Between Body Mass Index and Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms in Both Normal Weight and Overweight WomenRead More »

4 Correlation of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptoms with Body Mass Index
Read More »

5 Risk factors for gastroesophageal reflux disease: the role of dietRead More »

6 Barrett’s esophagus: Incidence, etiology, pathophysiology, prevention and treatmentRead More »

7,8,9 Impact of obesity treatment on gastroesophageal reflux diseaseRead More »

10 The effect of bariatric surgery on gastroesophageal reflux diseaseRead More »

Author: Ruchi Rajan

How To Shift Acidity
Into Neutral

Powders are easy to carry and administer, so long
as water is accessible, and they start acting
quickly to relieve acidity symptoms.

Liquids tend to act more quickly on an acidity
problem than tablets and are often the preferred
form for children, but can be difficult to
carry around when you’re on the go.

Tablets are easy to carry, but tend to act more
slowly than either liquids or powders to relieve
acidity symptoms.

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