The duodenum is part of the upper-gastrointestinal system. You might experience pain in this area resembling an ulcer— but have no ulcer present. This is called nonulcer stomach pain. This condition can resemble a peptic ulcer since it shares many of the same symptoms. It may or may not be a chronic condition. A doctor can confirm a diagnosis and provide appropriate-treatment guidelines.
The medical community has not determined the cause of this condition. Rarely, it follows a viral infection. Doctors view it as a functional disorder, which is a disorder with no known origin and is probably not related to any specific illness or condition. Certain aspects of your lifestyle can aggravate nonulcer stomach pain; they include stress, fatigue, unhealthful diet, and the lack of proper rest and exercise.
The following symptoms can indicate nonulcer stomach pain. You usually experience an uncomfortable burning sensation in the upper abdomen or lower chest. This feeling is usually accompanied by bloating, belching and nausea. You might also feel full after eating only a small amount of food.
The following risk factors increase your chances of experiencing duodenum pain. They include overeating or eating too quickly, drinking carbonated beverages or excessive amount of caffeine or alcohol, smoking and eating foods that are either too spicy, greasy or fatty. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen and also antibiotics can affect the stomach. Stress is also a contributing factor.
Consult your doctor if you experience persistent abdominal pain and nausea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, bloody stools and persistent indigestion.
In order to make a diagnosis, your doctor will perform an examination and perform certain tests; your doctor will determine the most appropriate ones. A blood test can help rule out other diseases that cause similar symptoms. A barium X ray or contrast study requires you to drink a barium solution that coats your digestive tract. This produces a contrast that allows your doctor to examine the area to check for problems. An endoscopy involves inserting a thin instrument (endoscope) down the throat so he can examine the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.
Several medications are available to you. Your doctor can determine which ones are most beneficial for your circumstances.
Antacids like Maalox and Mylanta counteract stomach acid and relieve pain. Acid blockers like Zantac and Tagamet reduce acid production in the stomach; they are available in over-the-counter and prescription strength. Proton pump inhibitors interfere with pumps in the stomach cells that secrete acid; they include Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium. Prokinetic agents like Reglan help your stomach rid itself of food more quickly. Antispasmodics relax the intestinal muscles; they include Bentyl and Levsin. Low-dose antidepressants act on neurons that influence intestinal pain. Commonly prescribed antidepressants for this condition include Prozac, Tofranil and Paxil.
You can do certain things to help prevent nonulcer stomach pain and relieve signs and symptoms. Eat small meals more frequently instead of three big ones. Avoid foods you know upset your stomach. Do not rush through your meals. Do not lie down for at least two hours after eating. Excess pounds put more pressure on your abdomen, which causes acid to flow back up your esophagus.
Learning to manage your stress goes a long way in managing this condition. Exercise regularly and use relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation. Find more time to do the things you enjoy.