Acid-related diseases

Dyspepsia, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastroesophageal reflux have as a common denominator the excessive presence of acid in the stomach.

What are they

The term acid-related diseases indicates dyspepsiagastritispeptic ulcer and gastroesophageal reflux, all disorders that have as a common denominator the excessive presence of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Causes The common cause of these disorders is an overproduction of acid in the stomach, which irritates and damages the gastric wall (and in the case of gastroesophageal reflux, also the wall of the esophagus).

The factors triggering the increase in acid production are changes in the psychophysical state mainly due to:

  • poor nutrition
  • stress

Read also the in-depth article Gastric reflux, how much stress matters.

Daily tensions can in fact lead to:

  • smoking more
  • skip meals and eat poorly and quickly
  • drinking too much coffee and neglecting physical activity

All this has negative effects on the gastric environment, which acidifies, impairing good digestion.

In the case of gastroesophageal reflux, the cause is generally a malfunction of the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, which may be associated with a stagnation of gastric contents.

Gastric ulcers can also be caused by infection by Helicobacter pylori, a microorganism that, settling in the stomach, causes gastritis.

Or, from prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids (which reduce the natural protection mechanisms of the stomach wall), from smoking, from excess coffee, alcohol or spices.


The most common symptom in all these pathologies is heartburn. In gastritis this is usually accompanied by pain in the upper part of the stomach and disturbances in digestion; In the presence of ulcers the discomfort tends to be particularly recurrent.

In case of reflux, the burning extends to the stomach and is associated with a sensation of acid up to the throat and, sometimes, pain in the chest and stomach, which are exacerbated at night and in a lying position.


Gastric disorders can strongly influence the quality of life, even going so far as to limit social relationships and work activities.

If left untreated, ulcerative lesions can worsen to bleeding and perforation of the stomach.


Correcting your lifestyle is the first useful strategy to counteract hyperacidity problems.

Better to stop smoking, do not exceed with coffee, alcohol and food (neither in quantity, nor with regard to fried, fatty and poorly digestible foods in general), eat regularly and taking care to chew every bite well and try to limit stress, perhaps even relieving tension with a little physical activity, which, by the way, helps gastric emptying.

In pharmacies you can buy antacid products, which buffer gastric acidity, prokinetic drugs (particularly useful in case of dyspepsia), which, instead, promote gastric emptying or, again, anti-H2 drugs or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs, such as omeprazole), which directly counteract the production and acid secretion in the stomach.

If you want to learn more about reflux treatments read this article.

When to consult your doctor

Many over-the-counter drugs allow you to treat the problems associated with gastric hyperacidity, without having to resort to a specialist consultation. If, however, the problem persists, it is better to contact your doctor.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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