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Excessive Stomach Acid
"Excessive Stomach Acid" is a term that I frequently hear from patients who complain of stomach discomfort. Interestingly, it seems to be all in their imagination. At least I don't know of any modern methods that measure one's stomach acid secretion on a 24hr basis. In most instances this is often just a subjective discomfort, and gets confused with heart burn frequently as well.
Regardless my take is that it's mostly an issue of gastric motility and the state of the diaphragm. In Chinese Medicine, this is not a separate problem---it's frequently tied to other issues. For example, I recently treated a middle aged patient with this problem. He believes he has excessive stomach acid because his stomach feels uncomfortable frequently. There's also sensation of heart burn that can go all the way to his throat. As a result he had to take frequent meals to push down the discomfort.
At this moment if the patient goes to see his MD, he'll likely be told he has helicobacter pylori, or in other words, bacterial infection of the stomach and possibly some gastric ulcer or inflammation if he continues with a gastroscopy exam. Unfortunately in the end the only drug that would be given is still an antibiotic(experience says this doesn't work for many people).
On further inquiry it is revealed, before the onset of this problem, he has a habit of not eating meals on a regular basis. When the stomach doesn't get it's food on a timely manner, it gets confused and starts to show abnormality in juice secretion. It's normal motility is also distorted. The result is stomach discomfort and the frequent sensation of a hungry stomach. The first thing I told him to do was to regularize his time of food intake, and avoid spicy and foods with too strong of flavours such as garlic, onion and chives.
I subsequently prescribed Chinese Medicine to strengthen his stomach and regulate his gastric function. After the first week, his condition has improved. I then prescribed another 2 weeks of herbs for him. After the 2 week period is up I called him to ask how he was. He told me his condition had essentially normalized after the 2nd week. Regardless he felt quite comfortable with the medicine so he continued to take the remainder week's worth. I gave some lifestyle guidelines to follow so his problem wouldn't come back in the future.
Sometimes when there's stomach issues, don't automatically assume it's a stomach acid problem and start taking ant-acids. Or end up believing it's bacteria or yeast. Simply changing one's diet and taking meals on a more regular basis would probably improve it quite a bit.