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Hydrochloric Acid in the Stomach: Functions and Problems

Linda Crampton is an experienced teacher with a first-class honors degree in biology. She writes about the scientific basis of disease.

A stomach enzyme called pepsin needs an acidic environment in order to digest protein. Fish, meats, eggs, dairy, and beans are all rich in protein.

A stomach enzyme called pepsin needs an acidic environment in order to digest protein. Fish, meats, eggs, dairy, and beans are all rich in protein.

Hydrochloric Acid Made by the Stomach

The inside of the stomach is a very acidic environment, especially after food has just been eaten. The acidic pH is created by hydrochloric acid, which is secreted by cells in the stomach lining. The chemical is needed in order to activate an enzyme that digests the proteins in food. Hydrochloric acid also kills many harmful bacteria that enter the stomach.

Stomach acid is a helpful substance but is potentially harmful as well. Fortunately, our body has ways to protect us from any harmful effects. The lining of the stomach is coated with mucus, which prevents the acid from reaching the lining and damaging it. In addition, when the mixture of food and acid leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine, it's neutralized by the basic environment of the intestine.

Too much or too little acid can cause problems. A circular muscle called a sphincter closes the entrance to the stomach. If the sphincter doesn't work properly, food and acid may move up into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation known as heartburn. Stomach acid can also aggravate ulcers, making them more painful. Sometimes cells in the stomach lining are unable to make hydrochloric acid. Without enough acid, protein digestion in the stomach is difficult and bacterial overgrowth can occur.

In acid reflux and GERD, acidic stomach contents move up from the stomach into the esophagus.

In acid reflux and GERD, acidic stomach contents move up from the stomach into the esophagus.

Anatomy and Functions of the Stomach

Gastric Glands

Stomach acid and other important chemicals are made in the gastric glands in the stomach lining. The glands are located in tubular pit-like structures located inside the lining. Technically, the start of a tube is called the gastric pit. The connected area below the pit area that makes chemicals for digestion is the gastric gland. The structure of the stomach lining is shown in the illustration below.

The gastric glands secrete a liquid called gastric juice. Around two to three litres of this liquid are secreted each day. Gastric juice contains water, a protein called mucin, hydrochloric acid, intrinsic factor, pepsinogen, and other chemicals.

Hydrochloric Acid and Pepsin

Hydrochloric acid (HCl) plays an important role in food digestion. The acid is made by parietal cells in the gastric glands. HCl does its job in the stomach cavity, or lumen. The parietal cells also secrete intrinsic factor, which is necessary in order for vitamin B12 to be absorbed in the small intestine.

Other cells in the gastric glands known as chief cells make a substance called pepsinogen. Hydrochloric acid converts pepsinogen into an enzyme called pepsin. Pepsin begins the digestion of protein in our food, breaking up the long, folded chains of amino acids into shorter and simpler structures. The enzyme requires an acidic environment to do its job. Enzymes in the small intestine complete the breakup of the protein molecules, allowing individual amino acids to enter the bloodstream.

Stomach pH and Microbe Death

The pH in the stomach varies. If a person hasn't eaten for a long time, the pH of stomach fluid is generally around 4. When food enters the stomach, hydrochloric acid production increases and the pH may fall to as low as 1 or 2, a very acidic condition. Components of the food often raise the pH slightly as digestion proceeds. The acid not only provides a suitable environment for pepsin to work but also kills many potentially harmful microbes that enter the stomach in our food.

Gastric Glands

In the stained sample of stomach lining shown below, the gastric glands are located in the indentations on the right that lead to the lumen of the stomach.

Making Hydrochloric Acid: The Proton Pump

The production and secretion of hydrochloric acid is a complex process. A major contributor to the process is a proton pump in the membrane of the parietal cells. A proton pump is a special protein inside a membrane, which is either the cell membrane or the membrane of an organelle in the cell. The protein transports protons across the membrane by active transport, a process that requires energy.

A hydrogen atom is made of a positively charged proton and a negatively charged electron. When the atom loses its electron to form a hydrogen ion, all that remains is a proton. A hydrogen ion (H+) is therefore the same thing as a proton.

Hydrogen ions are moved through the membrane of a parietal cell and into the duct of a gastric gland by a proton pump known as H+/K+ ATPase. Chloride ions (Cl-) move through the parietal cell membrane by diffusion, a process that doesn't require a protein carrier or added energy. (Hydrochloric acid consists of hydrogen ions and chloride ions.) The video below shows the process in more detail.

An Important Note

The information about digestive disorders shown below is given for general interest. Anyone with unexplained digestive problems or with symptoms that may be related to stomach acid should consult a doctor.

Acid Reflux and GERD Facts

The entrance to the stomach is protected by the lower esophageal sphincter, or the LES. A sphincter is a circular muscle that closes or opens the entrance or exit of a tubular structure. Under normal circumstances, the LES closes the entrance to the stomach once food has entered its lumen. If the LES doesn't close or if it opens while food is still in the stomach, the churning, acidic mix in the stomach may be pushed up into the esophagus. The hydrochloric acid may then irritate the wall of the esophagus, producing pain and a condition known as heartburn. There may also be a sour taste in the mouth.

Acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) are closely related conditions, but GERD is more serious than acid reflux. Many people seem to experience acid reflux occasionally. In GERD, the reflux is experienced regularly. The regurgitated acid produces heartburn, a sour taste, and sometimes additional symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, chest pain, and difficulty in swallowing. Anyone with these symptoms should visit a doctor for a diagnosis.

GERD requires medical treatment. If the esophagus is exposed to acid frequently over a long period of time, its cells may be damaged or its lining may change its nature and resemble the tissue that lines the intestine. The latter condition is known as Barrett's esophagus. It's linked to a slightly increased risk of esophageal cancer. Patients should visit a doctor regularly if they are advised to do this so that any precancerous cells can be treated.

Stomach Ulcers and Helicobacter pylori

An ulcer is a sore that forms on the stomach lining or on the lining of the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). Ulcers in the stomach are known as stomach, gastric, or peptic ulcers. Ulcers in the duodenum are known as peptic or duodenal ulcers.

It used to be thought that a person under stress produced excess stomach acid and that this acid damaged the stomach lining and caused an ulcer. It's now known that stomach ulcers are usually caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori. They may also be caused by long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which reduce the amount of protective mucus made in the stomach. Aspirin is an NSAID. Although stomach acid doesn't cause an ulcer, it may make it more painful.

H. pylori is an interesting creature, even though it can cause pain. It evades the acid that kills most bacteria and lives in the mucus coating on the stomach lining. Strangely, in some people the bacterium lives harmlessly in the digestive tract while in others it causes stomach ulcers or inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis).

Possible Treatments for Excess Stomach Acid

Proton Pump Inhibitors and H2-Receptor Agonists

Doctors often treat an H. pylori infection by prescribing antibiotics as well as medications that suppress acid production in the stomach. A popular medication is a type known as a proton pump inhibitor, which blocks the production of hydrochloric acid. It joins to the protein pump, preventing the pump from attaching to hydrogen ions and transporting them to the duct of the gastric gland.

Sometimes other types of drugs called H2-receptor antagonists are prescribed to reduce the acid level in the stomach. These drugs block the receptor on the parietal cell membrane that normally binds to histamine. Histamine joins to parietal cells to trigger the process that makes hydrochloric acid. Proton pump inhibitors and H2-receptor antagonists are also prescribed for some people who suffer from GERD.

Potential Problems With the Treatments

Proton pump inhibitors are powerful reducers of stomach acid. They are often prescribed instead of H2-receptor antagonists because they are thought to be more effective, but their long-term use may increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. A limited amount of evidence suggests that proton pump inhibitors may block hydrogen ion transport in the bones as well as the stomach.

Use of Antacids

Some people take simple antacids to neutralize the acidity in their stomach. These aren't as effective as the more modern drugs because they don't prevent the acid from being made. They may provide temporary relief from a mild case of acid reflux or pain caused by acid in the stomach, but anyone who finds themselves repeatedly taking antacids needs to visit a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

In some places, proton pump inhibitors and H2-receptor antagonists are sold over the counter without a prescription. If someone is tempted to use these because antacids aren't working, it's very important that they see a doctor to get his or her advice instead of performing self-treatment. It's also important to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each treatment, which may change as new varieties of the medications are created.

Hypochlorhydria and Achlorhydria

Significant hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) seems to be uncommon. It‘s more prevalent in elderly people than in younger ones, however. In severe cases, acid production stops and the condition is called achlorhydria.

Hyochlorhydria and achlorhydria are often associated with other disorders, including some autoimmune ones that affect the stomach. In an autoimmune disorder, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. Some evidence suggests that medications that are designed to reduce acid production in the stomach may sometimes cause hypochlorhydria.

Some Possible Consequences of the Disorders

Without activated pepsin in the stomach, protein will pass into the small intestine in an undigested form. An enzyme called trypsin is present in the small intestine after we eat and does the same job as pepsin. It works in the basic environment of the intestine, where most nutrient absorption takes place. Other intestinal enzymes complete the digestion of proteins into individual amino acids, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. Nevertheless, without the action of pepsin, digestion may be reduced.

Although the small intestine as a whole is basic, at the start of the duodenum (the section connected to the stomach), the pH is still slightly acidic. This acidity helps the absorption of certain nutrients. People with low stomach acid may need to take specific supplements to compensate for the lack of acid.

Chronic hypochlorhydria may reduce bone density. A low level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach cavity can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori. The bacteria may travel into the small intestine. Here they may compete with human cells for the absorption of nutrients, including the calcium and other minerals needed to make strong, dense bones.

The abdomen and the sections of the small intestine

The abdomen and the sections of the small intestine

Enzyme Activation

Trypsin is made in the pancreas in the form of trypsinogen, which is inactive. (The pancreas can be seen in the first illustration in this article.) Trypsinogen is sent to the duodenum, where it’s converted to trypsin. Like pepsin, trypsin digests proteins, but it requires a basic pH instead of an acidic one.

Possible Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of low stomach acid may include stomach discomfort, bloating, heartburn, and/or nausea. These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, however. A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms are present in order to receive a diagnosis for the problem.

Someone with either hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria should be under a doctor’s care. Treatment will likely be aimed at removing the cause of the low acid production and/or at compensating for any chemical or nutritional deficiencies.

A Very Useful Chemical

Like the myriad of other processes that occur in the amazing human body, hydrochloric acid production and action generally occur as required and without our awareness. The chemical is very useful in our lives. Unfortunately, sometimes people are aware of the effects of too much or too little acid in the stomach. Luckily, methods to relieve or help these conditions exist, although a doctor's aid is generally required to solve the problem.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: How can the effect of hydrochloric acid be cured?

Answer: If you are suffering from an excessive amount of hydrochloric acid in your stomach, you need to visit your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor should be able to discover why you are making too much acid and will prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your problem and overall state of health.

Question: I have been taking a magnesium chloride supplement recently, and my gastritis has become worse lately. Could the chloride part of the supplement somehow cause my stomach acid production to increase and cause this issue?

Answer: Since your gastritis has become worse, you should visit your doctor to find out why. WebMD says that a magnesium chloride supplement may cause a stomach upset as a side effect, but this may not be the reason for your increased discomfort. It's important that you discuss the advisability of taking the supplement with your doctor (if you haven't already done so) and get his or her recommendations for relieving your pain.

Question: The digestive juice in our stomach contains HCl. It normally doesn't damage the stomach lining. Sometimes it does and causes considerable pain. What is the name given to the damaged area?

Answer: The mucus layer covering our stomach lining normally protects the stomach from an acid attack. If the mucus is removed by some factor, the acid may damage the lining of the stomach and cause a sore. A sore on the stomach lining is called a gastric, stomach, or peptic ulcer. Most gastric ulcers are caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, or by the long-term use of medications known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Question: If we have natural buffering systems in our stomachs, why would we have to take antacids?

Answer: The stomach lining produces sodium bicarbonate, which helps to reduce the acidity in the stomach up to a point. Gastric fluid must be acidic in order for protein to be digested. The pancreas also produces sodium bicarbonate in order to neutralize the stomach acid that enters the small intestine and produces a basic environment so that intestinal enzymes can work.

If the stomach fluid contains a lot of acid, the natural sodium bicarbonate production in the organ may not be of much help. Under these circumstances, a person may take antacid tablets, which often contain sodium bicarbonate.

Question: I have a lot of gas in my stomach. For a year I have had this strong hot odor in my mouth and nose, mostly at night after I have been lying down. It is so strong I have to get up. My heart doctor said it might be due to hydrochloric acid in my stomach?

Answer: Your doctor is the expert. It's normal to have hydrochloric acid in the stomach, but In your case perhaps it's affecting your mouth and nose. You need to ask your doctor for more information about your condition and about suggestions for treating the problem.

Question: What will happen if the stomach fails to protect us from hydrochloric acid?

Answer: If the mucus layer protecting the stomach lining is damaged, the hydrochloric acid and other components of gastric juice may reach the lining and injure it. As a result, a sore may appear on the lining. The sore may bleed if the acid attack continues.

If there was no mucus at all in the stomach, its lining would be destroyed by the hydrochloric acid. The damage would then extend deeper into the stomach wall. The wall would eventually be destroyed (if the person received no medical treatment and survived long enough for this to happen).

Question: What will happen if the stomach walls don't produce gastric juice?

Answer: Lack of gastric juice would cause multiple consequences. I'll describe three of them. Without the hydrochloric acid located in gastric juice, pepsinogen wouldn't be changed into pepsin in the stomach. Pepsin is an enzyme that digests proteins. The small intestine also digests proteins, so we would still get nourishment from them without pepsin. If the stomach digested no proteins at all, however, a doctor might suggest that a patient take supplemental enzymes to avoid malnutrition.

Another potential problem with achlorhydria (no stomach acid) is bacterial overgrowth in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid kills many of the dangerous bacteria that enter the digestive tract, so without the acid bacteria could multiply.

Gastric juice contains intrinsic factor as well as hydrochloric acid. The acid is required to separate vitamin B12 from food. Intrinsic factor is necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12 in the small intestine. Doctors can prescribe a way to overcome these problems if no gastric juice is made.

Question: Is there a procedure other than gastric bypass that can reduce the amount of stomach acid a person produces?

Answer: This is something that you should ask a doctor who is familiar with your particular problem and your overall health. A variety of lifestyle, medical, and surgical techniques are used to treat problems linked to too much stomach acid or to stomach acid entering the esophagus, where it doesn’t belong. (A problem with the movement of acid into the esophagus may be diagnosed as GERD.) Not all of the surgical techniques are applicable for every patient’s problem or for their physical state and general health, however. This is why it’s important to get personal advice from a doctor, who is an expert in medical and surgical treatment.

Question: What structures prevent tissue damage from secreted hydrochloric acid?

Answer: Multiple factors protect the stomach lining. The epithelial cells on the surface of the lining are tightly bound to each other, which enhances their ability to act as a barrier. Epithelial cells secrete mucus and bicarbonate, which protects the lining from acid. The stomach lining is frequently renewed in order to replace the old one, which may have been damaged.

Question: Why does stomach acid burn the esophagus?

Answer: Since the stomach must make hydrochloric acid in order for digestion to occur inside it, it has methods to protect its lining from acid damage. The esophagus doesn't produce hydrochloric acid or carry out digestion, so it lacks some of the stomach's protective mechanisms and is far more sensitive to damage from acid. This damage causes the burning sensation.

Question: Are vitamins K and B made with bacteria?

Answer: Yes, vitamin K and the B vitamins—including vitamin B12— are made by certain bacteria. The situation in the human digestive tract needs some further explanation, however.

The nutrients from digested food—including the vitamins—are absorbed in the small intestine. The main functions of this organ are digestion and absorption. Most of the bacteria that release are potentially helpful vitamins for us live in the large intestine, which is located beyond the small one. Some vitamins are absorbed in the large intestine. There is uncertainty about the quantity of vitamins that are absorbed in this location, however.

Absorption of vitamin B12 from food is a particular problem. It requires the presence of a chemical called intrinsic factor, which is made by glands in the stomach lining. The intrinsic factor enables the vitamin to be absorbed in the last part of the small intestine, which is called the ileum.

Vitamin B12 is found in foods from animals but not in those from plants. Vegans who fail to take vitamin B12 supplements can develop serious health problems. This indicates that we don’t absorb enough vitamin B12 from the bacteria in our large intestine to be helpful. People whose stomach doesn’t make enough intrinsic factor can also develop problems if they fail to take supplements.

Obtaining sufficient vitamin K may be less of a problem. It's found in food from plants and to a lesser extent in certain types of food from animals and a few fermented foods. Also, it doesn’t require intrinsic factor to be absorbed. Obtaining a small quantity of the vitamin from the bacteria in our large intestine may be a bonus.

Vitamin K2 exists in different forms. Plants make vitamin K1 or phylloquinone. Leafy green vegetables are a good source of this vitamin. Food from animals contains vitamin K2 or menaquinone, which exists in slightly different forms. Intestinal bacteria also make vitamin K2. Our body can convert vitamin K1 into the form of vitamin K2 that we require.

Question: I have chronic gastritis, awful indigestion, gas, and belching. I have been malnourished for two years. I'm showing signs of being prediabetic and have arthritis. What can I do?

Answer: If you read my biography at the start of the article, you’ll see that I’m a writer and a teacher with a degree in biology. I’m not a doctor. Someone who has chronic gastritis and is malnourished must be under a doctor’s care. A person with prediabetes or arthritis must also visit a doctor.

You need to discuss your symptoms with your physician and follow their instructions for dealing with your problem. If these instructions don’t solve your problem, you need to see your doctor again or visit another one. The underlying cause of your stomach condition must be treated so that you can regain your health.

© 2013 Linda Crampton


Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 30, 2018:

I'm sorry, Mary, but I can't offer any suggestions to help you because I'm not a doctor. Even a doctor would have to be familiar with your specific case in order to help you. Perhaps you could see your doctor again and explain that you need help or perhaps you could even see a different physician. I hope you find relief soon.

Mary mcclement on December 29, 2018:

I have GERD and have been on 3 different proton inhibitors,but none of them seem to work .I wake in the early morning with acid in my oesophagus , I have changed my diet ,raised the head of my bed, do not eat late in the evening .I do not know what else to do .I went for a gastroscopy, but I was too combative to have them do it. I am 79 ,and am at the end of my tether I am on pantaloc at the moment BID Have you any suggestions?Mary

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 21, 2018:

It may, depending on the nature of the medication. Drug manufacturers take this into account, however. The dose that they prescribe is based on the amount of drug that's likely to be broken down before it's absorbed.

Gurshakat on June 18, 2018:

Do HCL in stomach effect the oral medication ?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 28, 2018:

Hi, Sushant. You need to return to your doctor and explain how bad your symptoms are. Perhaps you could ask to see a specialist if you haven't already done so. If your present doctor can't help you, maybe a different one can.

I can't offer more specific help because I'm not a doctor. Even a physician would need to see you and check your health records before they could make any helpful suggestions. I hope you find a solution to your problems.

Sushant on May 28, 2018:

Hi Linda,

I have gastric problem from last 1 year. I gone through complete treatment. Doctor gave me rabeprazole and dempradin and antacid.

But I am still having same problem no improvement. Can you please suggest why it happens to me. When I feel gastric I feel to much discomfort. Feeling like I am unable to breathe. Please help

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 22, 2018:

Thanks. I appreciate your comment.

anonymous on May 22, 2018:

very helpful... keep up the efforts...:):):):) thank you

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 26, 2018:

Hi. There are many different causes for digestive problems. If you are personally experiencing a problem with digestion, the best thing to do would be to visit a doctor so that he or she can give you a diagnosis.

Umama on March 26, 2018:

Hi one Q When and Why our stomach dose not digest normally food? Like vegetable.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 26, 2018:

Thank you very much!

Mahendra Jain Delhi, India. on March 26, 2018:

Wonderful and very useful information ! Thanks !!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 22, 2018:

Thank you very much, Dr Ashish.

Hashp from india on March 22, 2018:

Great article. Nice information regarding GERD, gastritis and acid peptic disease.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 22, 2018:

Hi, Matthew. This is probably a question that you should ask your doctor because he or she can tell you exactly why your stomach is burning (if you don't already know). The doctor will be able to advise you about the best diet for your specific health disorder.

Matthew Lopez on March 22, 2018:

What foods would you recommend to help ease the burning sensation in your stomach.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 08, 2018:

Thanks for the comment, Paul.

Paul Hermes on January 08, 2018:

Thank u Linda...I have actually learned alot

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 01, 2017:

Thanks for the comment, Bombay resident. I'm sorry, but I can't diagnose specific problems for individuals because I'm not a doctor. I hope you eventually find a physician who can help you.

Bombay resident. on December 01, 2017:

Good educative article. One question. I have to take PPIs daily. Otherwise,I get bitter taste in oesophagus and swelling on high cheekbones. Doctors unable to diagnose. What could be the reason?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 04, 2017:

Thank you for the comment, Ramesh.

Ramesh Patil on November 04, 2017:

This article is very useful. i have benefited a lot from it. thank u very much

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 16, 2017:

Thank you, Juma.

Juma on September 16, 2017:

Thank you very much

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 13, 2017:

Thank you very much, Janice.

Janice on September 13, 2017:

One of the best articles I have read, and I have read many about this subject. Well done Linda.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 12, 2017:

I appreciate your comment.

Great article on September 12, 2017:

Thanks Linda

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 29, 2017:

There's a condition called laryngopharyngeal reflux in which acid from the stomach gets into the throat and larynx. The affected person sometimes feels like they have mucus in their throat. You should seek a doctor's advice if you're experiencing a mucus problem.

Char on August 19, 2017:

Can mucous backing up into the throat be a sign of low stomach acid?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 08, 2017:

This is not a generally accepted idea. Doctors often prescribe proton pump inhibitors for excess stomach acid.

Digestive Flora on August 01, 2017:

Proton Pump Inhibitors are a no no in fixing acid reflux problems. The problem really comes from TOO LITTLE stomach acid. More acid production is the key.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 09, 2017:

Hi, Fehzab. Thanks for the comment. You may be thinking of gastritis, which is inflammation of the stomach lining.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 11, 2017:

You should visit your doctor and ask him or her about this problem, Jasvir. You need a physician's advice.

Jasvir Singh Bariyal on May 11, 2017:

Sometimes when I have suffered from acidity. A very large amount of acid reverse into my food pipe and it attack on my neck (Larynx) perhaps and which cause difficult in swallowing and have smell like burning all the day.what should I do?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 23, 2017:

Hi, J.O. I'm sorry about your health problems and the fact that you haven't found an explanation for the ulcers. If the possible causes listed in this article don't apply, I think it's best if you consult a doctor. A physician should be able to give you advice about your specific situation, although from what you say it looks like it might take a while to get an explanation. I hope you find an answer soon. The situation must be frustrating for you.

J.O on April 22, 2017:

How is it possible for stomach ulcers to form in the duodenum etc, if one has been tested for H.Pylori and received a negative result? I have had esophageal pH monitoring, gastroscopy, upper GI series etc and have been loosely diagnosed with a probably type of IBS, but no strict diagnosis. I have ulcers however they were said not to be caused by H.Pylori, what are some other possible causes?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 28, 2017:

Thank you very much, Kohl.

Kohl on March 28, 2017:

.... I have a bookmark folder of just your articles and i just realized wow please keep up the amazing work

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 04, 2017:

Hi, Nna. There are medical tests that a doctor can perform to determine the amount of acid in the stomach. You might want to talk to your doctor about the advisability of getting one of these tests. Doctors can also perform a variety of tests to help them diagnose pernicious anemia.

Nna on March 04, 2017:

How do you know that the amount of acid is enough? What happens if it is all gone? How do you know that? I just found out this month I have autoimmune atrophic gastritis. Also have alpha thalesemia. In Dec, I was very low in iron, so took pills. Drs thought it was low iron due to thalesemia but how do I know it wasn't pernicious anemia?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 03, 2017:

I'm not a doctor, Genie, but I suspect that your self-treatment could backfire. I think that it's important that you consult your physician to find out what's happening in your digestion system. If for some reason this consultation doesn't help you, you might want to see a different doctor.

Genie on February 03, 2017:

I have been taking Hydrochloride acid prior to meals for months. Acid reducers were not helping the burning in my throat and stomach discomfort. I have reflux that hasn't been identified, I know it is not Acid!

I feel better, could this backfire?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 18, 2013:

Crafty, I'm very sorry about all your stomach problems. I very much hope that you find the cause of your gastritis and a solution to the problems that you're having. Thank you for the comment. I know that you're having a difficult time right now, but I hope your Christmas is as happy as possible.

CraftytotheCore on December 18, 2013:

I truly found this educational, informative, and interesting. I was diagnosed with gastritis recently. I have suffered from stomach issues since the beginning of this year. I went to a few emergency rooms with horrific pain and eventually discovered through various testing that I have gastritis, and my gallbladder had to be removed. I ended up in a hospital this past spring with heart issues....which turned out to be something to do with my asthma and lungs. Anyway, one question remains is why do I have gastritis. I took nexium for some time. But then I stopped eating gluten and soy. I am doing better overall, but I still suffer with stomach pain at night. And I can no longer eat tomatoes at all because the acid hurts.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 05, 2013:

Thank you very much, wabash annie! I appreciate your comment.

wabash annie from Colorado Front Range on February 05, 2013:

I really found this Hub interesting and the pictures/diagrams helped as I am visual. I intend to read it over a couple of times more. Thanks for writing it!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 15, 2013:

Thank you for the comment and the votes, Crystal. I'm sorry about your digestive problems!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on January 15, 2013:

Well, this is a bit over my head, but I relate to it through experience, if not intellectually. I've had a lot of digestive problems. Great job! Voted up and interesting


Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 15, 2013:

Thank you so much for the visit and the lovely comment, Peggy. I appreciate all the votes and the share as well.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 15, 2013:

You do such a great job with these health related hubs Alicia. This one should be of interest to many people who know or who suffer from some of these maladies caused by too much or too little hydrochloric acid in the stomach. You took us from A to Z with this hub. It was not that many years ago that doctors realized the cause of ulcers and began treating it with antibiotics. Medical learning keeps advancing and treatments are altered with the times. It is a fascinating subject. Up, useful and interesting votes and will share. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this hub.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 14, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, drbj. I appreciate them both!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on January 14, 2013:

Very thorough as usual, Alicia. The videos are especially revealing. Thank you for all your time and excellent effort. Voted Up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 14, 2013:

Thank you, Prasetio. I appreciate your comment and visit!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on January 14, 2013:

Once again...I learn something new related with stomach and digestive problem. Good job, Alicia. You always brought many knowledges here, especially for health. Voted up and take care!


Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 13, 2013:

Thank you very much, Deb. It is strange that some people don't get ulcers even when they have a Helicobacter infection. It would be very interesting to know why!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 13, 2013:

Fantastic work. My mother had ulcers when I was growing up, and she popped tums, etc. like crazy. I eat loads of spicy foods, and have never been bothered by such things, so I suppose that I am lucky.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 13, 2013:

Hi, Bill. It sounds like you have a great immune system! Thank you very much for the visit and comment.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 13, 2013:

You know, Alicia, I read hubs like this one, and others on the subject of health, and I realize just how lucky and blessed I am. I am a very healthy person; never had any major health problems...rarely even have the flu. Great DNA, wherever it came from. :) thanks for the information