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Homeopathy for Hyperacidity, Acid Reflux, Esophagitis & Peptic Ulcers

Hyperacidity literally means ‘excess of acid’ or ‘hyper-secretion of acid from stomach’, when taken in relation to GIT. But not all patients who come to the doctor complaining of ‘acidity’ suffer from hyperacidity in true sense. These patients complaining of ‘acidity’ can broadly be divided into two categories: Primary (Functional) Hyperacidity and Secondary (Pathological) Hyperacidity. Secondar hyperacidity is of further two types: Reflux Oesophagitis and Peptic Ulcers.

 

A. PRIMARY HYPERACIDITY

Common Causes of Hyperacidity

  • Idiopathic

  • Prolonged ingestion of aspirin or some anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Prolonged alcohol ingestion

  • Eating of spicy and highly seasoned food like chilly, pickles, etc.

  • Stress is also an important cause for hyperacidity

  • Heavy smoking

Also occurs after surgery or burns or with severe bacterial infection

Common Symptoms of Hyperacidity

  • A steady pain of short duration in upper abdomen immediately following a large or spicy meal or aspirin ingestion

  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of desire to eat which may persist for 1-2 days

  • Heartburn or sour belching

  • Early repletion or satiety after meals

  • A sense of abdominal distension or ‘bloating’

  • Flatulence (burping, belching)

  • Vomiting of blood or blood in stools

  • If gastritis persists there may be eventual development of anaemia

Long-standing hyperacidity may lead to formation of ulcers in the stomach which may again lead to complications like perforation.

Management of Hyperacidity

Abstinence from smoking and alcohol is a must. Avoiding stress. Eating bland food and refraining from unnecessary medication.
Conventional treatment consists of antacids which cause a lot of side-effects like headache, dryness, hypersensitivity and confusion. They also have only a temporary effect.
On the other hand, homeopathic treatment is safe and gentle, without side-effects. And it treats in totality, leading to an actual cure, rather than a temporary suppression of symptoms.

B. SECONDARY HYPERACIDITY

I. REFLUX OESOPHAGITIS

The disorder may be defined as damage to the esophageal mucosa due to reflux of gastric contents.

Etiology: Increased reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus from reduced pressure in the lower oesophageal sphincter and an increased number of transient relaxation of the sphincter are the main factors in the development of reflux esophagitis.

Clinical Features / Symptoms:

  1. Heartburn: This is a sensation of burning or burning pain located high in the epigastria or behind the lower end of the sternum often radiating upwards behind the sternum. It occurs after meals and is characteristically brought on by lifting or straining due to an increase in the abdominal pressure. Heartburn may also occur on lying down in bed at night, preventing sleep or awakening the patient several hours after the onset of sleep.

    It is sometimes precipitated immediately by acid food or drink – tomatoes, orange, cola, and alcohol.

  2. Painful Dysphagia: The usual cause is the bolus of food passing through an inflamed segment of esophagus.

  3. Regurgitation of gastric contents into the mouth may occur during bending, after large meal or at night. The patient becomes aware of the regurgitation because of a bitter taste in the mouth.

  4. Sore throat, Globus sensation (‘lump in throat’), and hoarseness are other consequences.

Management:

  • Weight reduction

  • Stopping cigarette smoking

  • Meals should be of small volume

  • Alcohol, fatty food, and caffeine should be avoided

  • No snacks must be taken after evening meal to prevent nocturnal regurgitation

  • Heavy stooping or bending at the waist should be avoided especially after meals

  • Head in the bed should be elevated by 15 cm.

II. PEPTIC ULCER

The term ‘peptic ulcer’ refers to an ulcer in the lower esophagus, stomach, or duodenum.

Etiology: Following factors play a role

  • Heredity

  • Helicobacter pylori

  • NSAID’s

  • Smoking

  • Chronic stress

  • Alcohol

  • Corticosteroids

  • Duodenogastric reflux of bile.

Pathology: An ulcer forms when there is an imbalance between aggressive forces, i.e., the digestive power of acid and pepsin, and defensive factors i.e., the ability of the gastric and duodenal mucosa to resist this digestive power. However, in the majority of patients acid secretion is within normal limits or is moderately raised. In these individuals, damage to the gastric mucosal barrier is necessary to facilitate the damaging effect of acid and pepsin. The initial damage results from Helicobacter pylori, NSAID’s, and smoking.

Clinical Features / Symptoms:

  1.  
    1. Epigastric pain: Pain is referred to the epigastrium and is often so sharply localized that the patient can indicate its site with two or three fingers-the ‘pointing sign’.

    2. Hunger pain: Pain occurs intermittently during the day, often when the stomach is empty, so that the patient identifies it as ‘hunger pain’ and obtains relief by eating.

    3. Night pain: Pain wakes the patient from sleep and may be relieved by food, a drink of milk, or antacids; this symptom when present is virtually pathognomonic for ulcer.

    4. Water brash: This is a sudden filling of mouth with saliva which is produced as a reflex response to a variety of symptoms from the upper GIT, e.g., peptic ulcer pain

    5. Heartburn

    6. Loss of appetite

    7. Vomiting

 
Hyperacidity and Homeopathy
 

Based on the above symptoms commonly found in the patients complaining of ‘acidity’, following homoeopathic medicines can be used in such patients:

Medicines for ‘Hyperacidity’ as given in Boericke’s Materia Medica:

Arg. n; Atrop; Cal. c; Carbo v.; Iris; Nux v.; Orexine tan.; Puls.; Robin.; Sul. ac.;

Acet. ac.; Anac.; Ant. c.; Bism.; Caffeine; Calc. p.; Cham.; Chin ars; Cinch.; Con.; Grind.; Hydr.; Ign.; Lob. infl.; Lyc.; Mag. c.; Mur. ac.; Nat. p.; Petrol.; Phos.; Prun. v.; sul.

On doing a general repertorisation of the following symptoms common in acidity,

  1. Heartburn

  2. Nausea, eating after

  3. Nausea, morning

  4. Vomiting, eating after

  5. Distension, eating after

  6. Indigestion

  7. Distension, eating after

  8. Waterbrash

  9. Eructation’s, food(regurgitation)

  10. Fullness, sensation of, eating after

  11. Ulcers, stomach in

following medicines top the results:

  • Nux vomica-27/30

  • Lyco-26/30

  • Puls-25/30

  • Calc c.-22/30

  • Carbo v./ China/ Phos/ Sulph-19/30

  • Nat m.-16/30

  • Sep-15/30

  • Ars/ Lach-14/30

So here we will discuss and compare some of these important medicines. The symptoms will be listed in following pattern:

  • Constitution

  • Cause

  • Symptoms relating to GIT indicating hyperacidity

  • Concomittants

  • Other keynotes

  • modalities

Nux vomica

  • Constitution
  • Thin people, with dark hair and dark complexion, who lead a sedentary life, nervous, extremely sensitive to external impressions.

  • Cause
  • Dyspepsia from drinking strong coffee
  • High living, alcohol, highly spiced seasoned food, irregular diet, long continued mental or physical stress, excessive intake of medicines.

  • Symptoms relating to GIT indicating hyperacidity
  • Nausea in the morning, after eating.
  • Weight and pain in stomach; worse eating, some time after
  • Nausea and vomiting, with much retching
  • Epigastrium bloated, with pressure as of a stone, several hours after eating
  • Sour, bitter eructations
  • Sour taste in the morning

  • Concomitants

  • Region of stomach very sensitive to touch
  • Desire for stimulants
  • Loves fat and tolerates them well
  • Constipation, with frequent ineffectual urging; passing small quantity at each attempt; feeling as if part remained unexpelled.
  • Throat: rough, scraped feeling. Tickling after waking in morning.

  • Other keynotes
  • Oversensitive to all external impressions
  • Very irritable
  • Aversion to cold air
  • Irresistible desire to sleep in the evening

  • Modalities

< morning, mental exertion, after eating, stimulants, spices, cold, dry weather

> in evening, damp-wet weather


Lycopodium

  • Constitution
  • Carbonitroginoid constitution. Intellectually keen but physically weak. Upper part of body is emaciated, lower part semi-dropsical. Unhealthy complexion, looks older than he is.

  • Cause
  • Dyspepsia due to farinaceous and fermentable food, cabbage, beans, etc.

  • Symptoms relating to GIT indicating hyperacidity
  • After eating, pressure in stomach, with bitter taste in mouth.
  • Eating ever so little causes fullness
  • Immediately after a light meal stomach is bloated full
  • Incomplete burning eructations rise only to pharynx, there burn for hours
  • Sour eructations
  • Rolling of flatulence
  • Food and drink regurgitates through nose.
  • Wakes at night feeling hungry

  • Concomitants
  • Aversion to bread
  • Desire for sweets
  • Likes to take food and drink hot
  • Excessive hunger
  • Stool hard, difficult, small, incomplete.

  • Keynotes
  • Right sided complaints
  • Fan like movement of alae nasi
  • Half open eyes in sleep

  • Modalities

< 4 to 8 p.m., right side, heat except throat and stomach

> warm food and drink, loosening the garments, open air

 

Lobelia inflata

  • Constitution
  • Best adapted to light-complexioned fleshy people
  • Symptoms relating to GIT indicating hyperacidity
  • Extreme nausea and vomiting
  • Acidity, flatulence, shortness of breath after eating
  • Heartburn with profuse flow of saliva
  • Faintness and weakness of epigastrium
  • Profuse salivation with good appetite
  • Acrid, burning taste; mercurial taste; tongue coated white
  • Acidity with contractive feeling in the pit of stomach
  • Concomitants
  • Cannot bear smell or taste of tobacco
  • Profuse salivation
  • Tongue coated white

Sulphuric acid

  • Symptoms relating to GIT indicating hyperacidity
  • Sour eructations; sets teeth on edge
  • Heartburn
  • Relaxed feeling in stomach
  • Sour vomiting
  • Nausea with chilliness
  • Concomitants
  • Craving for alcohol
  • Water causes coldness of stomach
  • Averse to smell of coffee
  • Desire for fresh food
  • Week feeling in abdomen, with dragging into hips and small of back.
  • Keynotes
  • Debility, tremors and weakness
  • Modalities

> warmth, lying on affected side.


Robinia

  • Symptoms relating to GIT indicating hyperacidity
  • Intensely acrid eructations
  • Nausea, with sour eructations
  • Profuse vomiting of an intensely sour fluid; acrid and greenish vomiting
  • Great distension of stomach and bowels
  • Flatulent colic. Incarcerated flatus
  • Sour stools
  • Acidity in children; child smells sour
  • Nightly burning pains in stomach with constipation with urgent desire
  • Concomitants
  • Frontal headache, dull, throbbing; worse motion and reading

 

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