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Question: High or Low Stomach Acid??

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 wiccawoman1 - Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:12 pm

Hi there.

I am a 35 year old female who is suffering from burning pain in the stomach and chronic indigestion. This problem started in 2002 and has recurred quite badly. I can currently not digest anything without severe burning and burping which is very uncomfortable and upsetting. In the past the only way of settling this is to fast just on liquids for days until it settles, but I am hoping there is another answer to this.

I have had an endoscopy in 2005 which showed nothing, have not responded to PPI's and find the condition is perhaps much more aggravated by fats and sugars. I have read that burning stomach and indigestion can be due to, too low stomach acid production. Do you think this is feasible? I also suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and had a history of bulimia from ages 15 to 28. Is it safe to supplement diet with HCL capsules to test if this is causing the problem? If so how long should I test for to see if it is working, and is increased burning a sign that I don't need the HCL? Many thanks.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Apr 28, 2007 5:31 pm

User avatar The stomach typically has a pH in the range of 3-4 and can tolerate this quite well as long as the mucosa is intact. Gastric ulcers, such as can be caused by H. pylori can decrease the protective effect of the lining causing pain.

Generally the pain from indigestion is due to the acid refluxing back up into the esophagus that does not have the protective lining of the stomach. Essentially, the stomach acid is burning the esophagus.

As such, I would advise against using HCl caplets.

At this point, the strongest acid blockers we have are PPI's. If this was not sufficient to help your symptoms, you should see a GI doctor to have a 24 hour pH probe test performed. This will assess how much of the time you are refluxing. If it is severe enough and medications are not helping there is a surgical procedure known as a fundoplication that can dramatically help.

Best wishes.

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