Meaning of Achlorhydria:
A lack of hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid helps digest food.
Achlorhydria can increase your risk of developing iron deficiency anemia. Without stomach acids, the body will have issues absorbing iron.
What Causes Achlorhydria?
Different questions like can gastritis be caused by low stomach acid when it comes to Achlorhydria
Autoimmune disorder: Certain autoimmune disorders can affect stomach acid production.
Gastric cancer: Animal studies have shown evidence of achlorhydria in gastric cancer.
H. pylori infection: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is a condition that causes peptic ulcers. Left untreated, this infection can reduce the amount of stomach acid produced.
Hypothyroidism: This condition can significantly slow down your metabolism, the thyroid hormone plays a role in hydrochloric acid secretion hence hypothyroidism can lead to achlorhydria.
Medications: Antacids are a useful solution to heartburn and indigestion. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can alleviate symptoms from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Both medications reduce acidity in the stomach. Overuse or complications can prevent the body from producing stomach acids at all, leading to achlorhydria.
Radiation to stomach: Radiation to stomach has also been reported to cause achlorhydria.
Surgery: Weight loss surgeries, such as the gastric bypass procedure, reduce the size of your stomach and alter how your body handles food. When the function of a significant portion of the stomach is changed, stomach acid production can decrease.
Symptoms of Achlorhydria
Given that vitamins and minerals such a calcium, folic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin D rely on adequate stomach acid for their absorption into the digestive tract. And the body will have issues absorbing iron.
Symptoms of achlorhydria vary but generally include one or more of the following:
Pain in the upper abdomen below the ribs and above the stomach (the epigastric region)
Other achlorhydria symptoms can includes:
- A feeling of fullness faster than normal after eating (early satiety)
- Abdominal Bloating
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)
- Digestive Issues
- Hair Loss
- Weak, Brittle Nails
- Weight Loss
How is Achlorhydria treated?
Achlorhydria can be treated using simple natural remedies and clinical treatment.
Clinical treatment for Achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria
Treatment for hypochlorhydria depends on the underlying cause. Options include:
Antibiotics for H. pylori: An H. pylori infection requires antibiotic treatment.
A doctor will usually prescribe at least two antibiotics to take at the same time. Taking a combination of antibiotics prevents the bacteria from developing a resistance to one of the drugs.
The doctor may need to check whether the H. pylori bacteria are still present after 4 weeks of treatment. If they are, the doctor may prescribe a different combination of medications.
Always consult a doctor before changing or stopping medications.
Digestive enzymes and HCL supplements: A person may benefit from taking an HCL supplement and a pepsin enzyme to increase stomach acidity. This treatment option may be especially beneficial for older adults experiencing a natural decline in levels of stomach acid.
Natural digestive enzymes are also available in health stores and drugstores. These often contain extracts of papaya and pineapple, which can stimulate the production of stomach acid.
A variety of digestive enzyme supplements are also available to purchase online.
Important: Consult a doctor before taking an HCL supplement.
Natural Remedies for Achlorhydria
Reducing chronic stress can restore digestive function. The following lifestyle changes can help:
- Stress management: Managing and reducing sources of stress
- Yoga: Practicing yoga can help to reduce chronic stress.
- Practicing meditation and mindfulness
- Exercising regularly
- Learning deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation techniques
- Attending therapy