Sour Stomach

What is Sour Stomach ?

Sour stomach is a term often used for various signs and symptoms of common illnesses or diagnosis. Sour stomach is expressed differently in every individual and has many underlying causes.

In this article, you will find the medical terms related to having a sour stomach as well as remedies or cures. In almost all cases of sour stomach prevention is the key to success.

A sour stomach can arise in people of all ages, races and even those who are pregnant. The information provided here should help you understand your symptoms and what you can do about it. Here are some interesting facts before continuing:

  • Up to 30% of Western culture population experiences symptoms such as heartburn, reflux or chest pain which can be considered sour stomach.

  • Managing these symptoms has been considered as one of the most expensive treatments in the US. (1)

Common signs and symptoms of a sour stomach can include and are not limited to:

  1. Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing
  2. Regurgitation is when food comes back into the mouth after being partially digested.
  3. Heartburn is the feeling of burning in the chest. (10)
  4. Hoarseness, sore throat, coughing, and wheezing can all be due to regurgitation.
  5. Abdominal cramping
  6. Nausea or vomiting
  7. Burning in the stomach
  8. Diarrhea
  9. Constipation

Below are a few charts showing findings from a study done to look at gastroesophageal reflux. This will help you to understand the wide variety of symptoms involved in a sour stomach.

Results of Acid Reflux in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Patients

Results of Erosive Reflux Disease and Non-erosive Reflux Disease

Results of Symptomatic Reflux Episodes and Asymptomatic Reflux Episode

Results of Individual Symptom (2)

Causes or Diagnosis linked to Sour Stomach.

Diagnosis – Related causes:

i. Dyspepsia

  • Uninvestigated – means there have been no studies done to prove there are no lesions or ulcers.
  • Non-ulcer – When studies have been done to show there are no lesions or ulcers. (5)

ii. Gastric Hormone fluctuations

  • Cholecystokinin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide.

iii. H. pylori infection
iv. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES)- causes peptic ulceration and diarrhea.
v. Hypergastrinaemia- Increase of gastric hormones being secreted.
vi. Transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs)- gastric distension causes mechanoreceptors. (7)
vii. Peptic Ulcer (5)
viii. Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) – burning sensation in the chest.
ix. Esophageal hypersensitivity.(1)
x. Gastritis- inflammation of gastric mucosa.

  • Non-atrophic – no loss off of appropriate glands
  • Atrophic – loss of appropriate glands. (8)

Environmental causes:

  • Smoking
  • High salt intake
  • Taking Aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. (8)

Studies have shown that sexual intercourse has been proven to not increase or cause symptoms of the sour stomach. (3)

This image shows the various parts involved in issues related to sour stomach. When reading this article you can refer to this picture to better understand what area is being discussed.

Testing that may be done to find the cause of sour stomach.

a. Non-invasive testing of the following:

  • Serum gastrin
  • H. pylori
  • Fecal antigen, serum IgG antibodies, urease activity)
  • Pepsinogen
  • Assessment of gastric emptying.

b. Simi invasive testing

  • Trans-nasal esophageal pH testing.
  • Esophageal multichannel intraluminal impedance (MII)
  • Mild hydrochloric acid infused into the esophagus to check for a reaction.
  • Gastric emptying test (4)

c. Invasive testing

  • Endoscopy and biopsy of the upper GI tract

Remedies or Treatments to help alleviate sour stomach.

a. Medications.

  • Protein pump inhibitors (PPI)
  • Bellow is an example standard procedure regarding PPI prescription and treatment. (1)

b. Lifestyle changes

Which are discussed further bellow and are the best possible management and prevention available.

  • Weight loss
  • Cleaner healthier diet

c. Surgical

  • Endoscopy and removal of ulcer damaged tissue or lesions. In the case of continued dysphagia and new findings of GI blood loss or weight loss, this may need to be repeated. (6)
  • Anti-reflux surgery – Corrects sphincter defects.
  • Fundoplication – the creation of a peri-esophageal ring at the gastroesophageal junction.
  • Gastric bypass

d. More specifics regarding treatments

  • EndoStim– electrical stimulators which are implanted and include an implantable pulse generate (IPG), an external programmer, and a bipolar stimulation lead.
  • Stretta– balloon-catheter system
  • Fundoplication via endoscopy
  • Medigus – endoscopic stapling to do fundoplication. (4)

Prevention and or Diagnosis

a. Lifestyle changes are the most effective prevention available.

i. Six small meals during the day

ii. If overweight, lose weight until you are in your normal parameters. (5)

iii. Dietary changes such as:

  • Do not lie down for three hours after a meal
  • Regular exercises
  • Do not eat three hours before going to sleep for the night.
  • Squat rather than bend when needed. (10)
  • Avoiding foods that cause an increase in acid production or that have high levels of acid.
  1. Chocolate
  2. Coffee
  3. Citric juices
  4. Tomato-based drinks or foods
  5. Mint
  6. Onion
  7. Greasy foods

b. A population who is educated about the digestive flow after food intake will be able to understand how to care for their body. Ask your doctor for more information regarding having a healthy stomach.

c. Screening for H. pylori infection (5)

d. The World Health Organization has a list of key recommendations regarding healthy eating; bellow you will find a summary of this list.

  1. Foods, as well as drinks, should be considered part of the healthy diet.
  2. Foods from all subgroups of vegetables should be ingested daily.
  3. Whole fruits should be considered
  4. Whole grains should cover half of the grains consumed
  5. Protein foods should include a variety of items not just red meat.
  6. Limitations should be placed on the intake of sugars, sodium, and trans fats.
  7. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. (11)

This healthy eating plate was adjusted by the Harvard Medical School. It is an easy way to understand healthy dietary standards. Placing a healthy eating plate image in your kitchen or dining area is a good way to remind yourself of healthy eating standards.

Source :

In conclusion

Sour stomach can encompass many different symptoms and diagnosis. Each person will describe their symptoms differently. All should be reviewed by medical personnel in the case of reoccurrence even if they are able to function during episodes.

Proper healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent occurrence or reoccurrence of a sour stomach. IF medications are prescribed always follow the direct indication of your physician.

References :


Published on by under Diseases and Conditions.
Article was last reviewed on September 11th, 2016.

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