I've had ideopathic constipation all my life. I've tried all the home remedies such as drinking plenty of water, eating fruits and veg., eating a high fiber diet, using fiber drinks, all to no avail. But one thing I have never investigated is low stomach acid. How does this cause constipation? What can I do to determine if this is my problem and if it is how should I treat it? Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you
Low stomach acid is reputed to cause constipation by delaying digestive activities including reduced hepatic (bile) and pancreatic (carbonate and enzymes) post-prandial response. Low-dose betaine hydrochloride supplements are available over the counter - you take 1 capsule (500mg) with half a glass of water 5 minutes after beginning your meal. If there is a sense of food just sitting in your stomach, you may need another capsule towards the end of your meal. These quantities are very gentle and should not be a problem for most people. However, if you have a sense of "acidity" this can be neutralized easily by sipping 1/4 teaspoon baking soda mixed in 1/4 cup water. This advice came from a naturopathic physician about 20 years ago. Naturopaths are able to test stomach acidity but most use symptoms as an indicator of this condition.
My question is this - what are the causes of this condition? I would prefer to address root causes instead of supplementing stomach acid. I suspect coffee and excessive busy-ness make this condition worse but I don't believe they are the cause. H.pylori infection is also known to reduce stomach acidity.
Caution - The presence of ulcers can increase sensitivity to any amount of acidity and someone may mistakenly suspect high rather than low acidity in this situation based on a burning sensation. Never supplement betaine hydrochloride if H. pylori or ulcers are suspected. Refer to a physician for medical advice.
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