Causes of Excess Stomach Acid

Excess stomach acid production can lead to upset stomach, acid indigestion, abdominal pain, bloating or intestinal problems. Many people experience acid reflux or heartburn problems when the stomach produces too much acid. It can become a serious problem when gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, develops, causing frequent bouts of heartburn or acid indigestion. Changing the diet or lifestyle can help reduce or eliminate excess stomach acid.

Large Meals

Eating a large meal can lead to excess stomach acid production. The Cleveland Clinic recommends eating small meals and eating slowly to give food time to digest. Avoid lying down or sleeping for at least two to three hours following a meal, suggests the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Certain foods increase production of stomach acid for some people, so note which foods trigger your stomach problems. Common foods that cause excess acid production include fatty or fried foods, tomato-based products, citrus fruits, garlic and onions.


You may think that drinking milk will soothe your stomach, especially at bedtime, but milk can cause the stomach to produce excess acid during sleep, warns Milk can have a rebound effect and encourage more stomach acid secretion, sometimes causing heartburn in the middle of the night.


Caffeine encourages stomach acid production. Avoid beverages that contain caffeine, including coffee or sodas.


Stress can lead to stomach problems and increase the production of stomach acid. If you find that stress is causing your stomach disorders, find ways to manage your stress, including relaxation techniques.


Smoking contributes to acid production by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, which then allows stomach acid to back up into the throat, resulting in acid reflux. Smoking also irritates the stomach lining.


Alcohol leads to an increase in stomach acid production by irritating the stomach lining. It also causes acid reflux problems.


Losing weight can reduce stomach acid production for people who are overweight. Too much weight on the abdomen increases the risk of acid reflux symptoms. Overweight people can wear loose fitting clothes to avoid putting pressure on the abdomen, but they should also try to lose excess pounds. Pregnancy may cause temporary acid indigestion symptoms, but the problem usually goes away shortly after delivery.