Epigastric pain: what to do when you have a stomach ache?
Epigastric pain is not just a "stomach ache": it is specifically localized pain at the level of theepigastric, that is to say the upper part of the abdomen ... where we find in particular the stomach. Doctors also speak of "epigastric".
"We tend to ignore these pains, even to" do with ": it is a mistake because, in some cases, when the epigastralgie persists for several weeks, a gastroscopy is necessary to see if it There is no ulcer, "says Dr. Alexandra Dalu.
It is therefore necessary to carefully monitor the evolution of epigastric pain. "You should know that people who smoke and people who drink alcohol are particularly sensitive to epigastralgia since these acidifying substances damage the lining of the stomach," says the specialist.
Epigastric pain: where does it come from?
In the majority of cases, epigastric pain is related to heartburn. These occur especially after a meal too rich: during digestion, the stomach produces acidic gastric juices that serve to degrade food.
When one has eaten too much (and / or not enough chewed), these gastric juices inflame the walls of the stomach and, sometimes, go back up into the esophagus - which causes the pain and a feeling of "burning". Heartburn (also known as "heartburn") regularly affect 30% of adults in France: in addition to pain, they are also characterized by a bitter / acid taste in the mouth and worsen in position lying.
"In the case of a hearty meal, and if you take the following meals, the heartburn will be short-lived," says Dr. Dalu, "if the epigastric pain does not pass between meals with appropriate treatment and if it has lasted more than 7 days, it is necessary to make an appointment with his gastroenterologist to proceed to a gastroscopy : there is a risk of ulcer, polyp or tumor, among other pathologies of the stomach. "
How to cure (and prevent) stomach pain?
"In the absence of medical advice, it is better avoid self-medicationwarns Dr. Dalu. However, waiting to see your doctor you can try an anti-acid drug, to buy without prescription in pharmacy.
We favor thesodium alginate, a locally active anti-acid that forms a viscous gel in the stomach to protect the esophagus during acid reflux. To avoid absolutely: anti-inflammatory drugs, aggressive for the gastric mucosa (with a risk of gastritis, even ulcer).
To prevent heartburn, it is necessary to adopt a balanced diet rich in fiber: it avoids very acidic foods (grapefruit, lemon juice, sauerkraut, tomato ...) and very spicy dishes (pepper of Cayenne, to flee!), one takes the time to eat (a meal lasts at least 20 minutes) and one chews well.
To watch too: stress, which can aggravate heartburn and prepare a breeding ground for ulceration. Sophrology, breathing exercises, yoga, relaxation techniques ... There is more to try!
Thanks to Dr. Alexandra Dalu, ex-emergency physician, anti-aging doctor and nutritionist, author of The 100 received ideas that prevent you from going well (Leduc.S ed.)
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