I was wondering if you could give me some advise. I started suffering from stomach problems around two weeks after I returned from Canada on a Ski trip, around the middle of January. I get wind trapped under my rib cage which is quite painful. It seems to happen most after I have eaten something. Generally, I can bring up mouthfuls of air which sometimes tastes of the food I have recently eaten. I also sometimes have pains in my stomach.
I went to see my doctor and he gave me liquid Gaviston and advised me not to eat spicy or fried food and cut out caffeine. I, at that time, typically would drink around ten to fifteen cups of tea or coffee a day, which was probably not good for me. I now drink none. Milk also seemed to cause problems, so I no longer drink it.
Gaviston seems to control the problem, so took it as and when required. The problem would come and go. Typically I'd have three days with the problem, then nothing for a few days, then the problem again. After six weeks I returned to my doctor because I'd run out of this Gaviston and the problem was still there.
I was concerned because Gaviston simply treats the symptoms of this problem and I wanted this to be resolved. He therefore gave me Nexium tablets to take, which initially seemed to work better than the Gaviston liquid, but again are to control excess stomach acid. He also referred me to have a blood test to test for some bacteria, which came back negative, and also referred me to have something where they put a camera down into your stomach to have a look around.
I received the referral letter recently and it can take anything up to six months, but typically up to three months, before I can have this procedure done. I also have the option of paying for this privately and having it done in around one month.
I have a number of questions. Firstly, what are the typical causes of a problem such as mine? Are any of these serious illnesses, for which early treatment is important? If this is the case, then I will pay to have the camera thing done asap. I am most concerned about the time I'm likely to have to wait for this, as I've been suffering with this problem for around ten weeks already.
Secondly, I read in some of the other discussions, you can have an ultrasound and CT scans performed. These seem somewhat more pleasant than the camera one. I was wondering what conditions, exactly the ultrasound and CT scans detect and what's involved in these checks.
Finally, concerning treatment. What treatment is usually given where the bacteria blood test comes back negative? Thanks for your help.
Your symptoms are known as dyspesia, simply defined as discomfort in the upper abdomen region. The causes for this is many.
The procedure that you are scheduled for is a gastroscopy, and is one of the best tests to evaluate for this. It involves a camera on the end of a scope to visualize the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel. It is a day-procedure and conscious sedation is used.
There are multiple causes for dyspepsia. Examples include peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, esophagitis, GERD, gallstones, pancreatitis, esophageal or gastric cancer and irritable bowel syndrome.
The bacteria test is known as H Pylori - it is the most common bacteria that causes gastritis and is associated with ulcer disease. If the test was positive, then a course of antibiotics would be prescribed.
The gastroscopy would be the first test I would suggest since this can directly diagnose an ulcer, cancer, or gastritis/esophagitis. If this is negative, then I would proceed to an ultrasound/CT scan to evaluate for gallstones on pancreatic syndromes. Other tests to consider would be a 24-hr pH study to evaluate GERD.
A lesser alternative to the gastroscopy would be a barium swallow, which can also diagnose ulcers or a possible mass. It is not as definitive as the gastroscopy.
Followup with your personal physician is essential.
This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
Any time you suffer gastrointestinal symptoms shortly after a trip between states or countries, there is a chance you picked up some sort of pathogen. I know of someone who picked up giardia from Canada when he ate some Canadian snow, that had apparently been contaminated with animal feces.
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