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Slow Digestion?

Thank you for responding to my question.

I was diagnosed a couple of years ago with GERD and a small hiatus hernia.  I take 10 mg of Pariat once per day.  I also am on Prozac and Synthroid for depression and slow throid.  I have been suffering from cronic stomach problems and was hoping you could help me figure out what's next.

I am scheduled for an upper GI in 2 weeks, but I'm wondering what could possibly be causing my continue discomfort and bowel problems.  I am approx 100lb overweight, have mild high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Have recently had a stress test and my heart looks OK.  I still have pain in my chest in 2 different areas.  One is where the hernia is and about 2 inches higher in the esophagus.  I have problems swallowing sometimes and still have some reflux.  I have a third pain, which is not sharp, but cronic, about 1 inch up from my navel in the middle of my abdomin.  

I was wondering if these problems could affect my bowels?  I have regular BM, but mostly they are very soft, light brown (almost yellowish) and are narrow.  Occasionally I have a regular BM, but generally my stool and narrow and light coloured.

I eat a diet that is high in fibre (5-6 fresh fruits/veggies per day, protein 2 X - mostly chicken, whole wheat bread).  I eat like this for 6/7 days per week.  Occasionally I eat some foods that I probably shouldn't, but only about once per week.  I've been trying to eat properly for the past year without dieting.  I get mild exercise, walking about 30 minutes per day.  I've lost about 30 lbs in the last year doing this.  I know that isn't much, but I've been a yoyo dieter for years and have given that up and just want to get healthy, even if it's slowly.  

I will be 50 this year and I realize that I should have done this long ago, but I am seriously trying now.

Can you help me understand if I should be concerned about my bowels or what I might expect as a possible explanation for my pain?

Thank you for your help!!!
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The upper GI series is a reasonable initial test to evaluate the upper GI tract.  An upper endoscopy would be more comprehensive - and can evaluate for inflammation as well.  

A hernia (i.e. hiatal or paraesophageal) can certainly lead to some of the symptoms you are describing.  

Liver, gallbladder or pancreatic disease can also be possible.  If the upper GI workup is non-revealing, you can consider a CT scan or ultrasound ofr further evaluation.

Light-colored stool can be indicative of biliary duct blockage.  In addition to the imaging studies suggested above, I would suggest blood tests looking at the liver enzymes.

Marked changes in the stool pattern necessitates a colonoscopy.

These options can be discussed with your personal physician.

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.

Kevin, M.D.
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