Excess stomach acid can be highly painful and ultimately lead to ulcers. If you have any signs of the symptoms, it is important to contact your physician so that he may perform a stomach acid test and determine the next steps to take.
The main cause of excess stomach acid is diet. The stomach naturally produces an acid to break down the food recently consumed. Fattier and spicier foods are harder for the stomach to break down and can lead to a larger production of acid that will typically cause a burning sensation or leave a sour taste in the mouth.
Signs of excess stomach acid include burning, bloating, burping or gas immediately following meals; hair loss; indigestion; constipation or diarrhoea; rectal itch; weak and cracked fingernails; undigested food in stools and an unusual sense of fullness, according to Jigsaw Health.
Too much stomach acid often has the same effect on the body as too little stomach acid, so it is important to perform a stomach acidity test to determine the levels of acid found in the stomach.
Testing for stomach acid is used to determine the quantity and acidity of the stomach's contents. The test checks whether material from the small intestine is finding its way back to the stomach or whether medications are working properly, or examines malabsorption of nutrients. The test involves fasting for four to six hours prior to the test. This allows for only fluid to remain in the stomach, which will then be drained via tubing through the oesophagus.
There are other ways to test for stomach acidity beyond fasting, but all procedures must extract and analyse the fluid. Another test involves providing the body with enough insulin to induce hypoglycaemia, stimulating the release of gastrin, and subsequently extracting the fluid of the stomach and analysing the contents.
The extracted fluid will then be analysed and compared with normal acidity levels. Normal stomach acidity levels have a pH of 1.5 to 3.5 per 20 to 100ml of fluid. High acidic levels can lead to ulcers, while lower acidic levels may be signs of malabsorption.
Jigsaw Health recommends a few natural treatments to help support the health of the digestive system. Beyond proper nutrition, the omega-3 in fish oil is beneficial in treating excess stomach acid as well as essential bundles of digestive enzymes to help break down tougher foods.