What happens in the stomach?
Digestion actually begins even before you put food in your mouth. Once you smell or even think about food, you start to produce saliva. Once food enters your mouth the saliva begins to digest the food while teeth break food into smaller pieces, making it easier for us to swallow. Then food passes down the food pipe - the oesophagus. When a ring of muscle (sphincter) at the bottom of the oesophagus opens, the food goes down into our stomachs.
Your stomach is basically like a bag that accepts and stores food entering from the oesophagus. In response to food entering the stomach, cells in the lining of the stomach produce stomach acid and enzymes to help break the food down further. The acid in your stomach also helps to kill bacteria that may have been swallowed. In addition to the stomach acid, the muscles in the wall of your stomach help mix the food and the gastric acid juices together, helping to break down the food into a thick liquid. This liquid is then passed on to the small intestine, where the nutrients from the food you ate are absorbed into your bloodstream.
Can stomach acid cause any problems?
Although the role of stomach acid is very important, it may potentially cause problems. A common problem is stomach acid reflux, sometimes known as heartburn. Symptoms of heartburn are generally described as a burning sensation in the back of the throat and chest area, usually behind the breastbone. Another sign of heartburn is a bitter or sour taste in the back of the throat. This happens when the lower oesophageal sphincter (s-fink-ter) is weakened, which allows the acidic stomach contents to move back up into the oesophagus where they can cause pain or inflammation.
What can you do if stomach acid symptoms affect you?
There are a number of ways, such as lifestyle and dietary changes, to help prevent the pain caused by stomach acid. However, if you are affected by stomach acid already, there are various medications that can relieve acid-related conditions, such as heartburn and indigestion. Gaviscon Dual Action Liquids and Tablets are an effective way to help relieve heartburn and indigestion.
How does Gaviscon Dual Action relieve the pain and discomfort of heartburn and indigestion?
Gaviscon Dual Action works in two different ways to effectively relieve the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion:
- The antacid – the antacid in Gaviscon Dual Action neutralises excess stomach acid to relieve the pain and discomfort of indigestion.
- The raft – the sodium alginate in Gaviscon Dual Action forms a thick layer (think of it like a ‘raft’) on top of your stomach contents. The ‘raft’ then acts as a physical barrier that helps keep your stomach contents where it belongs – in your stomach – and not in your oesophagus where it can cause discomfort and burning pain.
So, as you can see, stomach acid is a vital part of the digestive process. Mostly it's our friend - but even if it becomes our foe, there are effective measures that can be taken to help.
*Strugala V, et al. J Int Med Res 2010. [RB sponsored]
This medicine may not be right for you. Read the label before purchase. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.
Article published January 1, 2021