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Stomach pain, gas, and bloating when stressed. Taken Pepto Bismal. What can I do to get normal stomach?

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I am a healthy, fit 49-year-old caucasian female. Asthma, seasonal allergies and alopecia of the eyelashes/eyebrow lashes are my only real health issues. But now, I get stomach pain along with bloating and gas when I'm under stress - it doesn't seem to matter what I eat, it's the stress that I can consistently point to when my stomach feels this way. Last summer, I had an extremely stressful situation that lasted for months and months, and it really mucked up my stomach. My stomach was in near constant pain for a number of months. Now, whenever I'm under stress, my stomach acts up - pain, gas, bloating. Pepto Bismal helps, but it doesn't go away until the stress is alleviated. I also drink a lot of soda pop, and I wonder if that can contribute to the stress-induced stomach issues. What can I do to get my stomach back to normal? Does it need to heal? Should I cut out all soda/carbonated beverages for a given lenth of time so it can heal? Should I take something other than Pepto when it acts up? Thank you.
Posted Fri, 14 Sep 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Om Lakhani 7 hours later

Thanks for writing in.

The symptoms you have described is a very common condition it is often called as dyspepsia in medical terminology. There are some questions I would like you to answer :

1. Is there any problem with motions ?
2. have you lost any weight ?
3. Have you any family history of ulcers or GI cancers ?
4. Do you take any medications ?

Most american guidelines recommend a Upper GI endoscopy for a new onset dyspepsia after the age of 50 yrs. Since you are 49 you are borderline ! However seeing your history I would wait before going for an endoscopy unless you have any weight loss or any history of GI cancer in the family in which case an endoscopy is recommended.

However you need to H. pylori infection which often causes these symptoms. A fecal antigen test for H. pylori is often the best. (you can consult your GP for the same). Don't worry if it turns out positive as it is a relatively common infection of the GI tract. If it turns out positive there is a 2 week H. pylori kit that would be prescribed to you. If it turns out negative , I would recommend a Proton pump in inhibitor with a prokinetic agent for your symptoms (you GP can prescribe you the same)

Apart from that I would advise you to avoid soda pop for atleast 2-3 months. Some of my patients respond to a special diet regimen called a BRATY diet which includes Banana, XXXXXXX sauce, black tea and yogurt. You can try this diet for 2-3 weeks. Pepto bismol is fine and you can continue that.

If your symptoms are not resolved with about 2 months of diet and proton pump inhibitors I would recommend you to undergo an Upper GI endoscopy.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help

Dr. Om Lakhani
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