High stomach acid levels may occur due to several conditions. Symptoms that high stomach acid levels can cause include bloating, abdominal pain, and unintentional weight loss.

Stomach acid is a digestive fluid that breaks down the food a person eats. It also helps destroy harmful bacteria. A person’s stomach lining makes their stomach acid.

Some conditions or infections may cause a person’s stomach to produce high levels of stomach acid, which can contribute to the development of other health conditions.

This article explores the symptoms, causes, and potential complications of high stomach acid levels. It also discusses possible treatments for high stomach acid levels.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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People with conditions that cause high stomach acid levels, or their complications, may have symptoms that include:

People may also have symptoms of bleeding stomach ulcers, such as:

If a person experiences any of the symptoms of bleeding stomach ulcers above, they should seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room.

Stomach ulcers that bleed slowly may cause anemia, which results in symptoms such as:

Some conditions that can cause a person to have high stomach levels include:

Risk factors for these conditions include:

  • ZES: Anyone can have ZES, although healthcare professionals often diagnose the condition in people between the ages of 20 and 50. It is slightly more common in males than females. Additionally, around 20–25% of people with ZES have a rare genetic condition known as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, which may cause tumors in the endocrine glands and affect hormone production.
  • H. pylori infections: H. pylori mainly spreads from person to person through oral contact with bodily fluids. It is more common in children, although complications such as PUD are less likely to occur in children.

Doctors may prescribe PPIs for people with:

  • ZES
  • H. pylori infections
  • esophagitis
  • nonerosive reflux disease, which is a type of GERD
  • PUD

High stomach acid levels may cause people to have other stomach-related health conditions. ZES or H. pylori infections can cause people to develop PUD.

ZES may also cause people to develop GERD-like symptoms. There may be some evidence of a link between H. pylori infections and GERD. However, further research is necessary to support this.


People with PUD have open sores, or ulcers, due to exposure to stomach acid. Their ulcers are commonly in the stomach or duodenum, which healthcare professionals call gastric or duodenal ulcers, respectively. Many people with PUD have no symptoms. Others may have serious symptoms that need urgent medication attention.

People who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for a long time or at high doses are more at risk of developing PUD. Doctors treat nearly all peptic ulcers with PPIs.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

GERD differs from gastroesophageal reflux (GER). If a person’s stomach acid occasionally comes back up into their esophagus, they may be experiencing GER. Many people have GER from time to time. In many cases, people experiencing GER do not have any symptoms, but sometimes it may cause heartburn.

If a person has GERD, they have a more persistent, severe, and serious form of GER. People with GERD have repeated symptoms that may lead to complications.

People should speak with a healthcare professional if they think they are experiencing GERD symptoms, which may include:

Without treatment, GERD may cause people to experience serious complications over time.

Doctors may treat a person’s high stomach acid levels with:

  • PPIs
  • antibiotics, if a person has an H. pylori infection
  • surgery, if a person has gastrin-producing tumors that do not heal following PPI treatment, in some cases
  • dietary or lifestyle changes

However, treatment options may vary depending on the underlying cause of high stomach acid levels and a person’s overall health.

People can have high stomach acid levels due to several conditions. The symptoms of high stomach acid levels vary but may include nausea, abdominal pain, and bloating.

Some conditions that can cause high stomach acid levels include ZES, H. pylori infection, and rebound acid hypersecretion from PPI use.

A person should speak with a doctor about any potential symptoms of high stomach acid levels they are experiencing. A doctor can help determine the underlying cause of the symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.