Acidity (Heartburn): Causes, Symptoms & Effects

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Acidity is a common occurrence after a particularly heavy dinner or an after-hours party. We might say that the oily, spicy food and the late night shenanigans are to blame. But few realize the unhealthy eating habits and poor lifestyle choices that cause this condition.

What is Acidity?

The food we consume passes through the esophagus into the stomach, where the gastric glands secrete acid to digest the food and kill any pathogens. Acidity occurs when these glands produce high amounts of acid, much higher than what is needed for the process of digestion. A person suffering from this condition might experience a burning sensation in the stomach region, or right below the hollow of the breastbone. Acidity is also known by other names such as heartburn and acid reflux.

A man suffering from symptoms of acid reflux


As mentioned earlier, acidity is caused due to the excessive production of acids in the body. However, there must be some conditions or causes that contribute to this potentially dangerous situation.

  • Consumption of food that lacks fiber and is highly refined and processed
  • Abnormal mental conditions like chronic stress or anxiety
  • Food containing a high content of spices or capsaicin
  • Bad eating habits like overeating and eating quickly
  • Smoking and alcohol
  • Keeping your stomach empty for a long time
  • Insomnia and the lack of proper exercise


The symptoms of acidity in children include vomiting, coughing, and the formation of ulcers in the throat. In the case of adults, it may be recognized from the symptoms like heartburn, pain in the chest, abdominal pain, swelling in the chest, and formation of gas in the stomach. Bloating, nausea, vomiting, and sickness are some other major symptoms; we have discussed them all in detail below:

  • Heartburn: This is the symptom of acidity that when shows up, cannot be ignored without medication. It is a burning feeling in the chest, just behind the breastbone. One may experience it right after eating and it may continue for a minute up to an hour. Heartburn is a very common problem with acid reflux patients and is also one that shouldn’t be left untreated as it can lead to life-threatening conditions like Barett’s Esophagus. It is also important that you check with your doctor if you experience chest pain while exercising or exerting yourself, as this can also be the sign of heart attack. The symptom of heartburn reaches a high when you lie down, resulting from the movement of acid from the stomach (where it actually belongs) towards the esophagus.
  • Regurgitation: Next in line is the symptom of regurgitation. When you get this feeling of acid accumulating in your mouth or throat, it is a sign of acid reflux. It makes the taste of your mouth bitter and makes you feel pukish.
  • Sore Throat: A sore throat in acid reflux can come in many forms. These include esophagitis, which pesters the tissues lining the throat; and dysphagia, wherein the patient suffers from a difficulty in swallowing food. Besides, one may also experience hoarseness, coughing, inflammation, throat pain, etc. as a result of acidity. These cold and flu symptoms can also indicate another issue that is acidity.
  • Asthma: Acidity can also trigger asthma. This is because, with the constant coughing and acid reflux, the air passage and lungs get affected, thereby making it difficult to breathe. Another reason for this is that when acid enters the esophagus, it triggers a nerve reflex which narrows down the airway to keep the acid from entering. This results in asthma or difficulty in breathing.

So, if your abdominal pain accompanies any of these symptoms, then you’re probably suffering from acidity. Although, it is highly recommended that you see a doctor because these symptoms can also be a sign of a more dangerous condition.


Acidity is a serious disorder, which may lead to further problems like acid reflux and dyspepsia. Also, it may give rise to situations like constipation and food swallowing disorders. A person suffering from it is prone to pain while contracting muscles and also, a sensation of pain in the ears. Protection Status
About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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