Information Source on Stomach Disorders
Stomach Disorders - also called: Gastric Disorders
The stomach is an organ between the esophagus and the small intestine. It is where digestion of protein begins. The stomach has three tasks. It stores swallowed food. It mixes the food with stomach acids. Then it sends the mixture on to the small intestine.
You have probably had a problem with your stomach at one time or another. Indigestion and heartburn are common problems. You can relieve some stomach problems with over-the-counter medicines and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding fatty foods or eating more slowly. Other problems like peptic ulcers or GERD require medical attention.
You should see a doctor if you have any of the following:
- Blood when you have a bowel movement
- Severe abdominal pain
- Heartburn not relieved by antacids
- Unintended weight loss
- Ongoing vomiting or diarrhea
Indigestion - Also called: Dyspepsia, Upset stomach
Nearly everyone has had indigestion at one time. It's a feeling of discomfort or a burning feeling in your upper abdomen. You may have heartburn or belch and feel bloated. You may also feel nauseated, or even throw up.
You might get indigestion from eating too much or too fast, eating high-fat foods or eating when you're stressed. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, using some medicines, being tired and having ongoing stress can also cause indigestion or make it worse. Sometimes the cause is a problem with the digestive tract, like an ulcer or GERD.
Avoiding foods and situations that seem to cause it may help. Because indigestion can be a sign of a more serious problem, see your health care provider if it lasts for more than 2-weeks or if you have severe pain or other symptoms.
Heartburn also called: Acid indigestion, Pyrosis
Almost everyone has heartburn sometimes. Heartburn is a painful burning feeling in your chest or throat. It happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. If you have heartburn more than twice a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). With GERD, the muscles at the end of your esophagus do not close tightly enough. This allows contents of the stomach to back up, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it.
Pregnancy, certain foods, alcohol and some medications can bring on heartburn. Treating heartburn is important because over time reflux can damage the esophagus. Over-the-counter medicines may help. If the heartburn continues, you may need prescription medicines or surgery.
If you have other symptoms such as crushing chest pain, it could be a heart attack. Get help immediately.
Peptic Ulcer also called: Duodenal ulcer, Gastric ulcer, Stomach ulcer, Ulcer
A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of your stomach or your duodenum, the first part of your small intestine. A burning stomach pain is the most common symptom. The pain<
- May come and go for a few days or weeks
- May bother you more when your stomach is empty
- Usually goes away after you eat
Peptic ulcers happen when the acids that help you digest food damage the walls of the stomach or duodenum. The most common cause is infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Another cause is the long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Stress and spicy foods do not cause ulcers, but can make them worse.
Peptic ulcers will get worse if not treated. Treatment may include medicines to block stomach acids or antibiotics to kill ulcer-causing bacteria. Not smoking and avoiding alcohol can help. Surgery may help for ulcers that don't heal.
GERD also called: Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Your esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it.
You may feel a burning in the chest or throat called heartburn. Sometimes, you can taste stomach fluid in the back of the mouth. This is acid indigestion. If you have these symptoms more than twice a week, you may have GERD.
Anyone, including infants and children, can have GERD. If not treated, it can lead to more serious health problems. In some cases, you might need medicines or surgery. However, many people can improve their symptoms by
- Avoiding alcohol and spicy, fatty or acidic foods that trigger heartburn
- Eating smaller meals
- Not eating close to bedtime
- Losing weight if needed
- Wearing loose-fitting clothes
Abdominal Pain also called: Bellyache
Your abdomen extends from below your chest to your groin. Some people call it the stomach, but your abdomen contains many other important organs. Pain in the abdomen can come from any one of them. The pain may start somewhere else, such as your chest. Severe pain doesn't always mean a serious problem. Nor does mild pain mean a problem is not serious.
Call your health care provider if mild pain lasts a week or more or if you have pain with other symptoms. Get medical help immediately if
- You have abdominal pain that is sudden and sharp
- You also have pain in your chest, neck or shoulder
- You're vomiting blood or have blood in your stool
- Your abdomen is stiff, hard and tender to touch
- You can't move your bowels, especially if you're also vomiting
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