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Why Do I Have A Stabbing Pain In My Upper Stomach

Indigestion, Tummy Aches, Gas Pains, Side Aches, Ulcer Pain, Stomach Acidity, Rib Pain

Everyone experiences stomach pain at least once. The good thing about stomach pain is that it disappears on its own and usually requires no further medical intervention. On the other hand, severe cases of stomach ache pertaining to infections and disorders require immediate medical assistance.

So, what are the causes of upper stomach pain? It can be anything from a ruptured spleen to excess gas in the intestine. Knowing the location, trigger, and kind of pain will help doctors accurately identify the cause of upper stomach pain.;

Whats The Difference Between Radiating Pain And Referred Pain

Radiating pain isnt the same as referred pain. With radiating pain, the pain travels from one part of the body to another. The pain literally moves through the body.

With referred pain, the source of pain doesnt move or get larger. The pain is simply felt in areas other than the source.

An example is jaw pain during a heart attack. A heart attack doesnt involve the jaw, but the pain can be felt there.

Pain can radiate from and to many parts of the body. The pain may come and go, depending on the cause.

If you experience radiating pain, pay attention to how it spreads. This can help your doctor figure out whats going on and whats causing the pain.

Below are some of the most common causes of radiating pain by body region.

Pain that travels down either leg may be caused by:

H Pylori Infection With Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the lining of the stomach. It may also form in the lining of the first part of the small intestine . Symptoms of a peptic ulcer include stomach pain and upset. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, or bleeding may sometimes occur. In many cases, bacteria called H. pylori are thought to be involved in the development of a peptic ulcer.

Many people have H. pylori in their bodies. Most of the time, it causes no problems. In some people, though, the H. pylori infection causes irritation of the stomach lining. This may make the lining more likely to be damaged by normal stomach acids. H. pylori may also increase the amount of acid in the stomach. It is not clear why this infection leads to problems in some people and not in others.

Tests may be done to check for H. pylori infection. These include a blood test, a breath test, and a stool test. In some cases, a test called endoscopy may be done. During this test, a thin, lighted tube is put into the mouth and down the throat. The healthcare provider can look at the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum through this tube. During this test, a tiny sample of stomach lining may be taken and tested for H. pylori.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers

Each persons symptoms may vary. In some cases ulcers dont cause any symptoms.

The most common ulcer symptom is a dull or burning pain in your belly between your breastbone and your belly button . This pain often occurs around meal times and may wake you up at night. It can last from a few minutes to a few hours.

Less common ulcer symptoms may include:

  • Feeling full after eating a small amount of food
  • Burping
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Vomiting blood

Peptic ulcer symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.

When To Seek Medical Advice

Burning Sensation In Chest

You should visit your GP if you think you may have a stomach ulcer.

Seek urgent medical advice if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • vomiting blood; the blood can appear bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance, similar to coffee grounds
  • passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools
  • a sudden, sharp pain in your;tummy that gets steadily worse

These could be a sign of a serious complication, such as internal bleeding.

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What Is The Gallbladder

Shaped like a tiny pear, your gallbladder resides on your right side, just below your liver. It stores bile, which is a vital fluid your liver manufactures that plays an essential role in digestion. Every time you eat, your gallbladder releases bile that travels through ducts into your small intestine.;

Upper Left Abdomen Anatomy

The upper left part of the abdomen contains several structures including:

  • Pancreas
  • Left lobe of the liver
  • Left kidney
  • Left adrenal gland
  • Upper left sections of the large intestine

Pain in the upper left abdomen is also called pain in the left upper quadrant, pain under the left ribcage, or pain in the left hypochondrium.

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What Causes Peptic Ulcers

In the past, experts thought lifestyle factors such as stress and diet caused ulcers. Today we know that stomach acids and other digestive juices help create ulcers. These fluids burn the linings of your organs.

Causes of peptic ulcers include:

  • H. pylori bacteria . Most ulcers are caused by an infection from a bacteria or germ called H. pylori. This bacteria hurts the mucus that protects the lining of your stomach and the first part of your small intestine . Stomach acid then gets through to the lining.
  • NSAIDs . These are over-the-counter pain and fever medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Over time they can damage the mucus that protects the lining of your stomach.

Treat Stomach Pain For Good

Healing Racing Thoroughbred’s Shoulder Pain, Bad Attitude, Hoof Cracks, and Ulcers

Learn more about the various causes of abdominal pain in general by getting in touch with us. At the Gastro Center in New Jersey, we are always ready to help patients learn more about their concerns.

Book an appointment today and let us diagnose and treat your pain.;

59 Main Street, Suite 1 West Orange, NJ 07052

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How Stomach Ulcers Are Treated

With treatment, most stomach ulcers will heal within a month or two. The treatment recommended for you will depend on what caused the ulcer.

Most people will be prescribed a medication called a proton pump inhibitor; to reduce the amount of acid their stomach produces and;allow the ulcer to heal naturally.

If an H. pylori infection is responsible for the ulcers,;antibiotics;will also;be used to kill the bacteria, which should prevent the ulcer coming back.

If the ulcers are caused by the use of NSAIDs,;PPIs are usually prescribed and your doctor will discuss whether you should keep using NSAIDs.

Alternative medication to NSAIDs, such as;paracetamol, may be recommended.

Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed.

Read more about treating stomach ulcers.

You Have Pain Specifically In Your Upper Abdomen

One of the most common ulcer symptoms is a severe pain in the upper abdomen, according to Neil Sengupta, MD, a gastroenterology specialist at the University of Chicago. Ulcers can develop anywhere in the upper digestive track, but Dr. Sengupta says we often think about those occurring in the stomach or small intestine, where we feel pain. This pain usually occurs between the breastbone and belly button, and can bring on a burning, aching, or dull feeling. The sensation may begin as a light, mild pain but often progresses into something more serious as the ulcers develop.

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Common Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcer And When To Seek Medical Help

The very mention of the word ulcer is likely to cause an internal, evidently physical discomfort. Thats exactly what peptic ulcers do. They cause a;difficult-to-ignore;burning pain in your stomach, sometimes in the dead of night, capable of stirring you awake. Misjudging this pain to be a simple case of indigestion may be your natural reaction. However, if this has been happening;frequently, do not carelessly dismiss it because pain is your bodys way of signaling you to take care of yourself.

To make some sense and understand where the malfunction lies,;we first need to understand what peptic ulcers are.

Ulcers And Back Pain:

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In some cases, abdominal pain caused by ulcers may radiate to the back and result in mid to low back pain. Usually, such pain lasts for a short duration, but some people experience intermittent back pain for a few days or even weeks. Excruciating and persistent back pain could be a sign of a perforating peptic ulcer that penetrates the pancreas. This condition needs immediate medical assistance in order to avoid further complications. Those who experience back pain due to ulcers may not be able to recall any event or injury that triggered such pain. Sometimes, they may relate the pain with intake of food.

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Youre More Bloated Than Usual

If you notice your stomach feeling particularly bloated, it may be more serious than a little bit of gasit could be one of the signs of an ulcer. Of course, bloating can also be caused simply by eating something your body doesnt agree with, but when combined with these other symptoms, its worth checking out. Find out how to tell if you should worry about your belly bloat.

What Is A Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a break in the inner lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum. A peptic ulcer of the stomach is called a gastric ulcer; of the duodenum, a duodenal ulcer; and of the esophagus, an esophageal ulcer. Peptic ulcers occur when the lining these organs is eroded by the acidic digestive juices that the cells of the lining secrete of the stomach secrete. A peptic ulcer differs from an erosion because it extends deeper into the lining and incites more of an inflammatory reaction from the tissues that are involved, occasionally with scaring. Peptic ulcer also is referred to as peptic ulcer disease.

Peptic ulcer disease is common, affecting millions of Americans yearly. Moreover, peptic ulcers are a recurrent problem; even healed ulcers can recur unless treatment is directed at preventing their recurrence. The medical cost of treating peptic ulcer and its complications runs into billions of dollars annually. Recent medical advances have increased our understanding of ulcer formation. Improved and expanded treatment options now are available.

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Peptic Ulcers And Spinal Subluxations

by HealthStar Clinic | Feb 26, 2013 | < Back, Archive |

Peptic ulcers are sores, craters, or lesions, either in the small intestine or the stomach. The term peptic comes from pepsin, an enzyme which works in harmony with hydrochloric acid to digest food. Normally those digestive chemicals do not affect the lining of the stomach and intestine, but when the linings resistance breaks down or too much acid is consistently produced, an ulcer is likely to develop.

NOT LIFE THREATENINGGenerally ulcers are not considered life threatening, though they do make the lives of millions miserable and anxious, and complications of ulcers do kill about 6,000 Americans each year.

The two main types of peptic ulcers are: Duodenal ulcers.;Occur in the duodenum, the first few inches of the small intestine where digested food leaves the stomach. Most often strike people in their productive years. Much more common than gastric ulcers, especially in men. Gastric ulcers.;Occur in the stomach itself. Rarely develop before age 40. The peak incidence is from age 55 to 65.

SYMPTOMSSymptoms dont always distinguish between a duodenal or a gastric ulcer. In some cases, particularly early on, no symptoms prevail, but usually a burning, gnawing pain occurs in the area between the navel and breastbone tip. Pain may awaken the victim at night.

WHO GETS ULCERS?While it is not always clear precisely what is causing a particular case of peptic ulcers, some of these factors are frequently present:

How Are Peptic Ulcers Treated

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Treatment will depend on the type of ulcer you have. Your healthcare provider will create a care plan for you based on what is causing your ulcer.

Treatment can include making lifestyle changes, taking medicines, or in some cases having surgery.

Lifestyle changes may include:

  • Not eating certain foods. Avoid any foods that make your symptoms worse.
  • Quitting smoking. Smoking can keep your ulcer from healing. It is also linked to ulcers coming back after treatment.
  • Limiting alcohol and caffeine.;They can make your symptoms worse.
  • Not using NSAIDs . These include aspirin and ibuprofen.

Medicines to treat ulcers may include:

  • Antibiotics. These bacteria-fighting medicines are used to kill the H. pylori bacteria. Often a mix of antibiotics and other medicines is used to cure the ulcer and get rid of the infection.
  • H2-blockers .;These reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes by blocking the hormone histamine. Histamine helps to make acid.
  • Proton pump inhibitors or PPIs. These lower stomach acid levels and protect the lining of your stomach and duodenum.
  • Mucosal protective agents.;These medicines protect the stomach’s mucus lining from acid damage so that it can heal.
  • Antacids. These quickly weaken or neutralize stomach acid to ease your symptoms.

In most cases, medicines can heal ulcers quickly. Once the H. pylori bacteria is removed, most ulcers do not come back.

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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider

See your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Vomiting blood or dark material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Extreme weakness or dizziness
  • Blood in your stools
  • Nausea or vomiting that doesnt get better, or gets worse
  • A sudden, severe pain that may spread to your back
  • Losing weight without even trying

Untreated peptic ulcers may cause other health problems. Sometimes they bleed. If they become too deep, they can break through your stomach.

Ulcers can also keep food from going through your stomach.

What Is A Stomach Ulcer

Peptic ulcers are painful sores that line the stomachand they;affect about 4.5 million people per year. Normally the stomach has a protective layer that keeps the acidic juices in the stomach from getting to sensitive tissue and causing an ulcer. However, some people are at risk for developing stomach ulcers, most often due to long-term use of NSAIDs, the class of pain reliever that includes ibuprofen or aspirin, or an infection with a type of bacteria called H. pylori. The good news is that treatment can help many ulcers to heal. Here are the signs of an ulcer you shouldnt ignore.

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What Are Peptic Ulcers And How Are They Caused

Duodenal ulcers are common in the middle-aged and in men, whereas stomach ulcers are common in;the elderly and in women.1

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum when the protective mucus overlaying this lining is eroded.

The acid-resistant gut mucosa can be compromised because of:

  • An H. Pylori bacterial infection2: This infection disrupts the integrity of the muscosal lining.
  • Long-term use of NSAIDs 3: NSAIDS include common OTC drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome4: In this condition,abnormal gastrin secretion by tumors in the duodenum or pancreas cause;stomach acids to be produced in excess of the normal. High concentrations of acid become too overbearing for the mucosal layer to counteract.

Whatever the reason for erosion of mucus, it leaves the stomach and duodenal lining exposed, vulnerable, and at the mercy of strong stomach acids.

What Causes Perforated Ulcers


A hole will form if peptic ulcers go untreated. To find the cause of your ulcer, your healthcare provider will give you an exam and review your health history. He or she may also order tests. The main causes of peptic ulcers include:

  • Infection with the H. pylori bacteria. This damages the stomach lining. Digestive juices can then harm the digestive tract.

  • Long-term use of some over-the-counter pain medicines such as NSAIDs . These include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. This makes stomach or intestinal damage more likely.

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Youve Had Unexplained Vomiting

From time to time, nausea brought on by ulcers may become so intense that it could actually cause you to vomit. If that happens, stay away from medications like ibuprofen and aspirin. According to Dr. Sengupta, these over-the-counter pain medications actually put you at a higher risk of developing ulcersor make your current ulcers worse.

Can Ulcer Pain Be Distinguished From Gallstone Pain

When referred to a gastroenterologist for intermittent pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen , my friend was told that she probably had an ulcer and the doctor needed to do an endoscopy to confirm.

My friend has gone to two doctors so far regarding intermittent but intense pain in the upper right quadrant of her abdomen . Her GP considered it to be possibly gallstones and referred her to a gastroenterologist to get an ultrasound and further treatment. The gastroenterologist, however, thought it was most likely an ulcer and that he would need to do an endoscopy.

I’m not looking for an internet diagnosis for her 🙂 Her primary concern is that an ultrasound is less expensive and doesn’t involve sedation or require a day of fasting, and she wonders whether the gastroenterologist has chosen a less likely avenue to pursue since he would get paid much more for it. To that end, she wants to know what symptoms can distinguish the two conditions, and potentially consult another specialist before undergoing an endoscopy.

These are the symptoms we think we know:

  • Symptoms of gallbladder issues

  • Pain in upper right abdomen
  • Hurts when you push on it
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Symptoms of stomach ulcer

  • Pain in upper central abdomen
  • Pain goes away with antacids
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Even a gastroenterologist may not be able to reliable differentiate between the stomach ulcer and gallstone pain just from history/physical examination.

    This is typical :

    Gallstone pain:

    NOT typical:

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