What are the signs of low stomach acid?

Low stomach acid results in a condition known as hypochlorhydria, while achlorhydrin is a complete lack of stomach acid. It is often a secondary symptom of another condition, but it can also result from the use of antacids, radiation therapy to the stomach, or complications from gastric bypass surgery. The risks of this condition are unknown, but it can lead to an increased risk of stomach cancer.

Stomach acid is a very important part of the digestive system. It maintains a low pH in the stomach, which triggers the release of the enzyme pepsin to break down protein in the diet. Also, stomach acid helps prevent the growth of bacteria that cannot survive in a highly acidic environment.

A person suffering from low stomach acid may experience various gastrointestinal symptoms, many similar to those of acid reflux disease. Such symptoms include pain or difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, nausea, heartburn, and excessive salivation. The condition can also contribute to abnormal bacterial growth in the gastrointestinal tract, causing symptoms such as diarrhea and poor absorption of nutrients and vitamins. The risk of certain bacterial infections is increased, including Vibrio vulnificus a close relative of cholera that is often found in shellfish.

Some of the diseases that can cause low stomach acid levels are autoimmune disorders in which the cells responsible for producing stomach acid are attacked; VIPoma, a pancreatic tumor that secretes vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP); stomach cancer; pernicious anemia; Infection by Helicobacter pylori ; and rare diseases, including congenital mucolipidosis. If you experience any of the symptoms, it is important to see a medical professional as soon as possible, whether or not you know that any of the risk factors apply to you. Gastrointestinal symptoms are not only uncomfortable, they can also be extremely dangerous. Low stomach acid is just one of many conditions that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, and it's often just a symptom of something more serious.

Go up