In our previous post, we talked about how acidic foods can damage the enamel of our teeth, contributing to teeth sensitivity. Not only can our teeth take a beating from acidic foods and drinks, but for some of us, other body parts may be irritated by ingesting them.
As you might recall from junior high science class, all substances can be measured on a 14-point pH scale, with 0 being most acidic and 14 being most alkaline (a base). 7 is the neutral pH point where substances such as water fall. Just like the acids you tested using litmus paper, some acids can be harmful – and acids in foods are no exception.
Eating acidic foods can most often result in irritation of the stomach or bladder. In particular, people with the following medical conditions have sensitivities to acidic foods:
- Acid reflux: a condition where stomach acid splashes up from the stomach into the esophagus. Acidic foods can trigger such splashing. Heartburn is the pain one feels when the acid splashing upward takes place due to acid reflux.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): a more severe form of acid reflux where heartburn is more frequent and extreme.
- Interstitial cystitis (IC)/Painful bladder syndrome (PBS): a bladder condition where the lining of the bladder wall is irritated, resulting in pain and the need to urinate frequently. This irritation is exacerbated by the acid in foods and drinks.
For people who suffer from sensitivities to acidic foods, the most effective action to take to reduce painful symptoms is to avoid acidic foods, which include:
- Citrus foods (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, etc.)
- Spicy foods
Over-the-counter medications are available like antacids and acid reducers to counter heartburn. Many IC/PBS sufferers have also found relief using a supplement called Prelief, an acid reducer that can also be used for heartburn. More serious symptoms may require prescription medications or other types of interventions.
If you believe you have a sensitivity to acidic foods, schedule an appointment to see your doctor.