ZocdocAnswersDoes my stomach produce too much acid?

Question

Does my stomach produce too much acid?

Can a person's stomach just produce too much acid? I get what feels like heartburn or acid reflux even when I haven't been eating. Does that mean that my stomach produces too much acid?

Answer

Heartburn symptoms are indeed caused by acid from the stomach moving up into the esophagus. Since the esophagus is not made to withstand the acid, this leads to a burning uncomfortable sensation and irritation of the esophagus lining. Heartburn can occur either because of too much acid production or because of a relaxed muscle sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus allowing acid to escape from the stomach. Typically, heartburn is worse when you are exposed to substances which either increase acid production or weaken the sphincter - these substances include tobacco, alcohol, and various foods such as tomato and chocolate. Also, sometimes the heartburn is caused by infection of the stomach with a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. I think that the best first step for you would be to go see your primary care doctor about this issue, especially since the symptoms are persistent and sound like they have been going on for a while. The first step that your doctor will probably take is to encourage you to avoid provoking substances (like tobacco and alcohol) and to prescribe you a regular anti acid medication to see if that makes a difference. They will want to follow up with you a few times to make sure the symptoms are going away.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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