Sour stomach generally refers to gastroesophageal reflux although for some patients this may also be a manifestation of functional dyspepsia or other more serious disorders.
Acid reflux events generally last for several minutes, and even as long as 2-3 hours.
Other symptoms include nausea, bloating, belching, and a general feeling of discomfort in the upper abdomen.
Symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors including consuming too much food, spicy or acidic foods, stress and anxiety, and underlying medical conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux.
Problematic acid reflux generally occurs more than twice per week. You should see a health care provider if your episodes are increasing in frequency or in severity. The following symptoms should prompt you to make an appointment with your doctor:
In these instances, your health care provider may refer you to a Gastroenterologist or for x rays, blood work, or even upper endoscopy.
The most common bacterial infection associated with reflux and dyspepsia is Helicobacter pylori. Your health care provider can assess for the presence of this infection using blood or stool tests, a specialized breath test, or stomach biopsies. This may require a specialized course of antibiotics to treat. There are increasing rates of antibiotic resistance for Helicobacter infections, so discuss this with your physician directly.
Less commonly, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and gut dysbiosis (altered bacteria) can contribute to a sour stomach. These may be treated occasionally with antibiotics, however as a general rule I would advise you to avoid antibiotics and focus on a strategy to achieve a thriving gut microbiome instead.
Treatment options depend on the underlying cause of the symptoms. General options include:
Probiotics may be helpful in improving the overall gut microbiome and relieving symptoms. However, if you are not getting relief with probiotics after a few weeks, I would advise you to further discuss with your physician.
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