Epigastric Pain

Epigastric Pain

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What is Epigastric Pain?

This is the pain which a person experiences in the upper or middle abdominal region right below their ribs. In the United States there are approximately ten million people suffering from this type of pain. Many times a person will have this type of pain during a meal or right after they are finished. They may also experience it if they go lie down right after they have eaten. It is often associated with your gastric contents coming up in the back of your throat causing a burning sensation and inflammation. Sometimes the pain is mild, happens after you eat, and goes away quickly. Other times you may have a burning sensation in your abdomen.

Epigastric Pain Symptoms

In addition to the pain associated with epigastric pain there may also be other symptoms that accompany this pain. What the other symptoms might be depends on what is causing the pain. Usually the symptoms that are affecting your digestive tract may also involve other systems of your body. Epigastric pain is a symptom that is common to heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). On its own it is not a serious symptom.

Epigastric pain along with gastrointestinal symptoms may include:

  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Abdominal bloating, swelling, or distension
  • Constipation
  • Having a burning feeling your upper chest or abdomen
  • Belching
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Pain in the upper part of your chest
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea

There are some cases that the symptoms of epigastric pain can also be the symptom of a serious medical condition, even having a possible heart attack. If you experience all of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms can include:

  • Tightness in your chest
  • Pain in your chest
  • Pressure in your chest
  • Palpitations
  • Pain that radiates down your arm and shoulder
  • Breathing or respiratory problems such as having trouble breathing, breathing that is labored, shortness of breath, wheezing, etc
  • Vomiting black material that looks like coffee grounds or blood

Causes

There are many different reasons that you might experience epigastric pain. The most common causes include:

  • Overeating
  • While eating you are drinking alcohol
  • You are eating spicy or greasy foods.
  • Indigestion also known as dyspepsia
  • Heartburn
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medication side effects such as NASD’s or aspirin

Digestive conditions that may also be the cause include:

  • Lactose intolerance
  • Acid reflux
  • Cancers or inflammatory diseases that affect your stomach, pancreas, or gallbladder
  • Inflammation of the lining of your stomach known as gastritis
  • Cellular changes in your esophagus that could lead to esophageal cancer
  • Inflammation of your esophagus
  • Protrusion of your stomach into your chest through a hole in your diaphragm known as Hiatal hernia
  • Gallstones
  • Ulcers such as a intestinal ulcer, or peptic ulcer or perforated peptic ulcer that results in bleeding in your stomach

The pain could be a symptom of cardiovascular problems like angina or heart attack.

Epigastric pain is very prevalent in young children for a variety of reasons that include:

  • Medical conditions
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Food poisoning

Treatment

As Epigastric Pain is more of a symptom the exact treatment would depend on what the underlying cause is. Basically your physician will want to make sure that the elevated levels of acids that are in your stomach are normalized and balanced. There are many different over-the-counter medications you can try buy to treat this pain. If it does not go away in a few days or seems to be getting worse, then you need to see your physician.

Some of the over-the-counter medications you can use include:

Antacids

Many times you can reduce the minor pain in your upper abdominal area by taking antacids. You can get them in tablet or liquid form. These medications help to prevent the symptoms of an ulcer or acid reflux and help to neutralize your stomach acids.

Ibuprofen

It will help with any pain that is associated with this symptom and helps in ceasing the inflammation.

Zantac

This is a medication that helps to block the production of your stomach acid.

Your physician may also prescribe Ranitidine, which is a prescription form of Zantac and is a histamine2 blocker.

Normally epigastric pain is not a life-threatening condition. It can usually be controlled by taking the right dose of medication, either over-the-counter or prescription. You may need to only take a few doses of the over-the-counter medication or you may have to take prescription medication or the generic over-the-counter brand on a daily basis. You will also have to watch what you eat as certain foods and drinks can cause this problem.

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