Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid

Updated April 17, 2017

Low stomach acid, also known as achlorhydria, can cause a whole long list of mildly uncomfortable and inconvenient symptoms. While these mild symptoms might not concern you too much, you should be concerned by what those symptoms can lead to, which is more serious disease, if low stomach acid goes untreated.

Nutrient Deficiency

Not having enough stomach acid can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria since food isn't properly broken down, giving the bacteria plenty to feed on. This overgrowth of bad bacteria throws off the balance between probiotics and bad bacteria of the whole digestive system. This imbalance hinders the body's ability to absorb vital nutrients, thus causing deficiencies. Long periods of deficiency can leave one prone to more serious conditions.

Effect on Eating

After eating a meal, someone who has low stomach acid may experience a feeling of fullness beyond the normal sense of fullness one feels after a meal. They may also experience bloating, belching and burning. These symptoms are all a direct result of food not being able to be properly digested because of a lack of stomach acid. Constipation or diarrhoea may also be a cause for concern, as well as stools that contain chunks of undigested food.

Symptoms Caused by Nutritional Deficiencies

As a result of the nutritional deficiencies that can be caused by low stomach acid, one may experience hair loss and weak or cracked fingernails. This is in addition to the more obvious symptoms, such as weight loss and feeling lethargic.

Bacterial Imbalance Resulting Symptoms

When the probiotics and the bad bacteria in the digestive track become unbalanced, an itchy rectum may result. A frequently reoccuring candida infection is also a sign of bacterial imbalance and therefore low stomach acid.


Inflammations that aren't successfully treated take a major toll on one's immune system over time, rendering it overtaxed. As a result of an overtaxed immune system, a person becomes more vulnerable to diseases, such as, but not limited to, obesity, cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's disease and lupus. So, while a stomach acid imbalance may not cause these and other diseases directly, a chronic inflammation caused by it, may make one more prone to such diseases.

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About the Author

Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Ainsley Patterson has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles appear on various websites. She especially enjoys utilizing her more than 10 years of craft and sewing experience to write tutorials. Patterson is working on her bachelor's degree in liberal arts at the University of Michigan.