Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Day 851 - Stomach Acidity

H. Pylori is easily inhibited by raising stomach acid, provided this is done before much damage is done by the bug, which is the reason why people with normal acid levels are generally asymptomatic and don't get ulcers unless they are on certain drugs or consume large amounts of alcohol. Coffee has been found to aggravate the symptoms of H. Pylori infections.

Unfortunately, people with reduced acid levels often times suffer from what they assume is high stomach acid (heartburn, bloating, nausea, frequent burping), and as a result frequently take antacids. By doing so, they encourage greater H. Pylori activity and thus increase the risk for ulcers or gastric cancers, with the bug also being implicated for heart disease, gum disease, asthma, rosacea, and chronic headaches or migraines as well. If patients had indeed high acid levels (as some physicians still have them believe), then why do symptoms quickly improve when stomach acid levels are raised?

The confusion usually stems from the fact that esophageal reflux (GERD) causes heartburn, from acid getting up into the esophagus, which doesn't have the acid-protective mucus coating of the stomach. However, H. pylori reduces stomach acid.

The paradox IS that having enough stomach acid keeps the valve to the esophagus closed so it cannot be harmed by stomach fluids. Also when the stomach produces stomach acid it also produces bicarbonate of soda. Bicarbonate of soda is what protects the stomach lining from being damaged by the acid. Therefore, it stands to reason that IF the stomach isn't producing enough acid it also won't be producing enough bicarbonate of soda which also allows ulcers to form inside the stomach.

Low stomach acid can be a factor with headaches, chronic fatigue, non-specific aches and pains, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and other calcium metabolism-impaired problems -- all the way to various cancers.


I have been reading around on Helicobacter Pylori as my stomach has been playing up again as of late. I felt very weak and dizzy the other day, and slept for 10 hours – even when I woke up I was still exhausted. My body must have been fighting something off (yet again I wish I knew what..) – that total lack of energy must have been due to something.

I got tested again for Helicobacter Pylori a couple of days ago; the result was negative. Odd, given that I have not been feeling too well again, with a painful stomach coinciding with an increase in the headache pain. H. Pylori causes stomach acidity, which I am sure I still have, despite the bacteria having been killed off. As a consequence, I am being extremely careful with what I am eating.

I came across a Helicobacter Pylori specialist’s webpage with plenty of information on the bacteria and how it affects your stomach as well as other parts of your body. What I found very interesting was the relation between Helicobacter Pylori and headaches, as well as many other secondary factors it can contribute to, such as rosacea, sinus problems, sleep problems and cognitive and memory problems, and many more.


  1. I have had H Pylori, other than having an ulcer there were no symptoms. It was found on biopsy during an endoscopy. Took 3 antibiotics at once to kill it. Never noticed a difference except my ulcer never came back.

  2. Hello, my comment isn't specifically about stomach acidity, but rather to say that my own permanent headache is nearing year TEN and, in weird ways, years 8, 9, 10 are better than the first two were. Almost every type of headache you list is a diagnosis I've had or been considered for. Almost every type of medication, hospitalization, procedure, surgery available for chronic headache sufferers -- I've tried it. Honestly, though I know your site exists, it's mostly too painful, emotionally, for me even to look. Which is strange, because the loneliness of my condition is one of the worst things about it, and yet still, reading others' horror stories scare and upset me. Hang in there. I just had a 2 1/2 week migraine. Two trips to the ER, several doses of morphine, nothing seemed to stop it. I'm not sure it has stopped. And I just about got so low I thought I could not crawl back out of the despair. And then I did, somehow, as I continually must do. Are you familiar with Samuel Beckett? "I can't go on. I'll go on," one of his characters says. That's pretty much my motto in life. I'm sorry for your suffering. You are not alone.