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"Can taking hydrochloric acid tablets help my stomach?"

ZocdocAnswersCan taking hydrochloric acid tablets help my stomach?

Question

With continuing stomach problems, I went to an alternative medicine specialist. He gave me hydrochloric acid tablets to take in order to help with my digestion. Is this a risk to my health? I thought that stuff was dangerous for your body...

Answer

I would strongly recommend against taking these hydrochloric acid tablets unless you get it cleared with a medical doctor. There are several reasons for this. If you have problems with your digestion for any reason, you should have a workup of these problems so that you can be properly treated. If you are having abdominal pain that is associated with food, then there is a significant possibility that you have a stomach or small intestine ulcer. If this is the case, the treatment regimen may include reducing acid in your stomach, not increasing it. I cannot think of any scenario in which increasing the amount of hydrochloric acid in your stomach would be a good idea. If your digestive problems are caused by a problem with your pancreas or gall bladder, then your problem will not be helped by taking these pills. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can review your current symptoms, your past medical history, and perform a thorough physical exam. If your doctor then finds something wrong, you may undergo more diagnostic testing. If not, then your doctor can discuss a medication to help with your symptoms. Almost certainly, this doctor will ask you to stop taking the hydrochloric acid.

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