There are (at least) two issues when it comes to stomach acid.
Hyper Producers: Hyper is the medical prefix for too much of something. This means you produce too much stomach acid and it gurgles back up your esophagus. This is the most well known, who knows if it is actually more common. Antacids and PPI's are a huge market, so most assume this is the problem and they consume them. Money talks. End or story (in other words I am not even going to touch the broken state of our Health Care system...yet)
Hypo Producers: Hypo is the medical prefix for too little of something. This means you don't produce ENOUGH acid to properly digest your food. The food sits in your stomach and rots.
Read more about it here
Okay, it doesn't totally rot, but your body doesn't know what to do with it.
the ones that were different enough from 'Acid Reflux' symptoms to make me think I had been mis-diagnosed.
*I have a super hard time vomiting. I have been pregnant 5 times and threw up maybe a dozen times total, including the times I barfed from being sick. Stuff just doesn't come back up.
*Very rarely did I have that acid burning feeling in my esophagus.
*I burped all the time
*I felt like food just wasn't digesting properly, I felt stuck.
*I was always bloated, like looking 3 months pregnant, and could not, as my husband said, "It's just gas, let it go".
*I was constipated ALL THE TIME, except when I had diarrhea.
*I could not pinpoint a trigger food, even with elimination diets.
The Tests to Determine!!
My amazing acupuncturist actually took the time to tell me how to test if i was a hyper or hypo producer. My previous diagnosis was a result of elimination, not a test.
These can be done the same day, but make it a day when you have nothing important to do.
Step 1 - Do not take any antacids or PPI's. NO ACID BLOCKERS for at least a day in advance.
Test 1 - Baking Soda & Water
First thing when you wake up drink a glass of Baking Soda Water.
1/4 tsp of Soda in 4-6 oz cold water
Time how long till you burp. If it takes longer than 3-5 minutes you have low acid (think of the burp as the explosion after mixing baking soda with vinegar)
IF you burp in the first 2 minutes you don't have low acid.
No burps within 5 minutes, proceed to Test 2!
(I use exclamation points because finding out what is wrong is a good thing)
Test 2 - HCl Acid Challenge
Betaine HCL & Pepsin)
2. After the Baking Soda and Before breakfast take one capsule. Wait a few minutes and eat.
one of two things will happen
* Either the extra acid will make you run for a bottle of TUMS,
* or nothing will happen.
If ya eat an entire bottle of Tums, do not proceed.
3. Before lunch take 2 capsules.
Tums = do not proceed
Nothing = proceed
feeling better = proceed, this is awesome!
4. Before dinner take 3 capsules.
If you get to this point you probably won't be running for the Tums. You are probably thrilled that eating isn't quite as painful as before.
I did these tests a couple days in a row, then determined that I was a hypo-producer. I continued with the capsule taking for 6 weeks. I just carried a bag in my pocket and after about a week you learn how much you need for each meal.
After 6 weeks it started hurting to take them. I stopped and found that I could eat with out taking anything!! (except dairy, I have to be careful with dairy)
I did the HCl treatment in conjunction with Acupuncture. The Acupuncturist was surprised how quickly we were able to restore balance to my stomach acid levels. I was just grateful! I believe part of why it balanced so quickly is because it was not a genetic issue. I strongly believe (regardless of doctors saying otherwise) that my issues were caused by the IUD issue.
So there you have it folks. If you are tired of living on Tums and Prilosec and Zantac, give this test a try.
Best of Luck in feeling better.