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Abdominal pain with frequent gurgling sounds and diarrhea. Taking prilosec OTC. What's the problem?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 5319 Questions
Hi. I am experiencing waves of pain in my upper belly right where the rib cage ends along with frequent gurgling sounds. It started on Friday evening as just a sour stomach and progressed from there. Yesterday was the worst as far as pain goes. Today has been much better so far but I'm taking Prilosec OTC. I noticed yesterday when the waves of pain would hit I could relieve it by taking a drink of cold water. It almost felt like that first sip of water would "get stuck" for a second and then push through and I would feel better. I did have some diarrhea since yesterday morning as well. Yesterday when the pain was at it's worst it got really bad when I bent over to get something from the bottom shelf at the drug store. The gurgling doesn't hurt but it's very noticeable.
Posted Wed, 30 Jan 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 1 hour later

Thank you for the query.

Such symptoms can be caused by food poisoning, gallstones(the pain starts after a meal, radiates to the back), pancreas diseases(strong pain with vomiting usually after a meal or drink, associated with previous alcohol intake), peptic ulcers(the pain starts about an hour or two after a meal, chest burning or acid reflux appears), stomach mucosa inflammation. Sometimes, such symptoms do appear with partial intestines obstruction(temporary stool and gas blockage with bloated stomach; after such episode usually diarrhea appears) due to inflammatory bowel disease for example.
If you find this pain does not go away, and/or getting worse, you should not wait anymore and rule out some urgent diseases. It is advisable to have abdominal ultrasound, abdominal X-ray, full blood work, liver tests (AST,ALT,GGTP), amylase, bilirubin, urine analysis. If no findings, upper GI endoscopy should be also performed.
If you find any blood in stool or mucus in stool and have lost some weight recently, colonoscopy seems advisable.
Just note that such symptoms can be caused by food poisoning and all this tests can come back negative. That is why before any test ordering, you should have physical examination.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Abdominal pain with frequent gurgling sounds and diarrhea. Taking prilosec OTC. What's the problem? 6 minutes later
The only symptoms I am having are the gurgling and the waves of pain which have diminished greatly since yesterday. The diarrhea seems to have subsided a bit as well as the frequency and intensity of the pain. Is it possible it could be GERD / Acid Reflux?
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 12 minutes later

GERD does not give such symptoms. Your symptoms seems to come from small intestine and stomach acid does not affect intestines. Typical acid reflux symptoms are chest burning especially after coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, fatty foods; cough due to throat irritation, sometimes shortness of breath due to asthma which is strongly associated with GERD.
If your symptoms are improving, bacterial or viral infection (so called food poisoning) is most probable.

Hope this will help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Abdominal pain with frequent gurgling sounds and diarrhea. Taking prilosec OTC. What's the problem? 7 minutes later
OK thank you. One more question. I am not the type of person to run to the doctor very quickly. My stomach became sour on Friday night and the progressed from there. The pain has reduced greatly today in terms of frequency and severity. How long can I wait before going to the doctor? I had planned on waiting another 48 hours. Will that be acceptable?
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 7 minutes later

48 hours sounds reasonable. You need to listen to your body. If it is getting better (pain reduction indicates that it is getting better, if you have appetite, no nausea, diarrhea does not get more watery, stool frequency does normalize, no fever, no blood in stool all this indicates that it is getting better), no need to visit a doctor. But if you find it has stopped in some level and you have not fully recovered, or the symptoms are coming back and/or getting worse, this is the point you should visit a doctor.

Hope this will help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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