Stomach pain: what does it hide and how to get rid of it?
Whether punctual or persistent, epigastric pain - located in the stomach area - is a common reason for medical consultation. One in four suffer, according to Geneva University Hospitals. The stomach is often involved, but other nearby organs can also cause unpleasant symptoms: the esophagus, pancreas, gallbladder, or upper intestine. Do not take these disorders lightly: if they are often benign, they sometimes reveal a severe disease.
Stomach ache: when it happens suddenly
" An unusual pain should lead to consultation, especially if it is accompanied by an alteration of the general condition: fatigue, weight loss, difficulty eating or discomfort ", says Professor Francisca Joly, gastroenterologist at Beaujon Hospital (Hauts-de-Seine).
Stomach pain: acute gastritis
This inflammation of the lining of the stomach is indicated by tears, an impression of heaviness or burns behind the sternum, the bone to which the ribs are attached. It is sometimes caused by taking drugs, especially anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or aspirin. But the consumption of tobacco, alcohol or irritating foods (spices, vinegar ...) also weakens the wall of the stomach.
What to do ? Gastric dressings and alkaline food (bananas, dairy products ...) soothe burns. If the pain does not go away in a few days, the doctor prescribes fibroscopy. This examination involves visualizing the inside of the stomach with a small camera attached to the end of a flexible tube that the gastroenterologist introduced through the mouth. A sample is often taken to determine the cause of the inflammation.
Stomach ache: hepatic colic
It is recognized by the sudden onset of intense pain in the pit of the stomach or right under the ribs, which can radiate to the shoulder. The disease comes from obstruction of the bile ducts by calculating compounds of cholesterol or bile pigments. Women are three times more affected than men, especially after 60 years because their bladder becomes lazy.
What to do ? Quick consultation is required. The pains are tamed using analgesics and antispasmodics prescribed by the doctor. Even if the crisis has passed, an ultrasound remains essential to check the condition of the gallbladder and galls. If the risk of recurrence seems important, the removal of the gallbladder is often proposed.
Stomach pain: pancreatitis
The inflammation of the pancreas, located just behind the stomach, causes " a sharp pain in the upper belly: a sensation of bar that occurs suddenly and reaches its maximum in half an hour "In 90% of cases, it also radiates in the back.Vomiting is often associated, and a stop intestinal transit.The torture diminishes in position of rifle, but returns immediately After alcohol abuse or blocked gallstones in the cystic duct are responsible for most pancreatitis.
What to do ? Acute pancreatitis requires emergency room visits. The diagnosis is made using a blood test and a medical imaging (ultrasound or scanner). To prevent the pancreas from being degraded, it is often necessary to put it at rest: stop feeding for 2 or 3 days.
When it lasts for several weeks: "Persistent or returning pain should be reported to the general practitioner and explored ", says Professor Francisca Joly.
Stomach pain: gastroesophageal reflux
Acid lift from the stomach induces burning in the esophagus, hoarseness and sometimes a dry cough at bedtime. The causes are multiple: insufficient chewing, hiatal hernia (anatomic anomaly making up a part of the stomach above the diaphragm), taking medication (corticosteroids, benzodiazepines ...) ... The mere fact of bending forward can be enough to trigger symptoms.
What to do ? A drop of tarragon essential oil on a dumpling after each meal provides effective relief. Otherwise try proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), tablets that prevent the stomach from making too much acid. In prevention, limit alcohol, fatty meals and naps after eating. Wait at least 3 hours after dinner for bed.
Stomach ache: and if it was a peptic ulcer
Cramps above the navel relieved by the absorption of food, but which return one to two hours later, are the sign of a peptic ulcer. This lesion of the digestive mucosa can result from the frequent taking of aspirin or anti-inflammatory. But in 70% of cases, a bacterium is responsible: Helicobacter pylori. Present in one person in two after 50 years, it causes an ulcer once in ten. The infection must be treated to prevent perforation or the occurrence of stomach cancer.
What to do ? A blood test can detect the infection. Once confirmed by fibroscopy, antibiotic treatment eradicates it in 90% of cases.
Stomach pain: functional dyspepsia
Gravity in the upper abdomen, accompanied by belching, nausea or epigastric pain just after the meal, indicate a dysfunction of the digestive system: a hyper-sensitivity of the organs or a bad contraction of the walls of the esophagus and the stomach. When the doctor does not diagnose any organic lesions, it is called functional dyspepsia.
What to do ? Changing dietary habits can help: limit heavy and fast meals, as well as fatty foods, coffee and alcohol. If the condition persists, talk to your doctor.
The symptoms that must alert
Prof. Francesca Joly, gastroenterologist at Beaujon Hospital and co-author of Feed our gut (Marabout ed): " Severe epigastric pain that occurs suddenly and quickly becomes unbearable should not be neglected. It can reveal intestinal ischemia, that is to say the obstruction by a blood clot of the main artery that irrigates the intestine. It is a medical emergency: a diagnosis that is too late can be life-threatening. Abdominal pain, which is accompanied by digested blood in the stool, black and pasty like tar, may indicate the perforation of a ulcer gastric or rupture of a vessel from the wall of the esophagus. It's an absolute emergency ".
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