What is the reason for acidity and burning sensation in the chest after eating spicy food?

When food in the stomach moves in wrong direction (toward esophagus instead of small intestine) it creates a burning sensation which is popularly called acidity. In medical terminology such reverse movement of food is called reflux. The condition of reflux is mainly experienced by those persons whose stomach is not emptied timely. Food remains logged in the stomach for a long time and if more food is taken then the pressure of accumulated food opens the valve wrong way towards esophagus. Partly digested food (chyme) containing hydrochloric acid then causes irritation on the tender membrane of esophagus.

Another reason for reverse movement of food in the stomach is gastritis. In such a case inside layer of the stomach becomes swollen. Very spicy food, food items causing allergy or side effects of aspirin can cause swelling inside the stomach. Swollen muscles are not able to pass the food towards small intestine so the food is moved in the reverse direction through reflux.

Result? Acidity! Burning sensation in the chest. And thereafter a dash for the chemist’s shop for antacid tablets, and then ‘instant relief‘! Antacid gives some relief but it does not remove the underlying cause of acidity.

Additional reading:
Gastric acid (Wikipedia)

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