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Suffer pain in upper abdomen and loose stools. Have hot flushes, cramping and burning feeling in chest. Taking giardia. What to do?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
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Hi, I have had ongoing issues with my stomach for 6 months. The first attack was severe enough to take me to hospital. Symptoms were burning spasms of pain in my upper abdomen and loose, yellow/orange stools which were also burning. This lasted from midnight till 9am when I finally took myself to hospital. They did bloods to test for various things and only came up with an infection ( didn't say what). Gave me anti nausea medication and something to settle the tummy. I went on to have diarrhea the rest of that day. Since then I've had recurrent attacks but recently they have become more regular, almost weekly. This last episode has lasted 5 days. Symptoms are hot flushes, cramping, burning feeling in chest that extends through to arms and back (between shoulder blades), nausea, fatigue and frequent bowel movements. I also have the acid taste and the burning feeling spreads across my body. My stomach constantly grumbles. I feel absolutely terrible but can go for a week or two feeling normal. After 6 months of this I'm starting to fear that something serous is wrong. I've taken antibiotics for giardia, had blood tests and an ultrasound for gallbladder. All negative! I've also had the breath test for pylori. My doctor has put me back on Somac for Gord/Gerd for 6 weeks to heal any gastric acid damage that may be present. If this doesnt work she is referring me to a gastrologist. Thankfully I have been on holidays this week but return to work next week. I am a teacher so don't know how I can work feeling like this. Can Gord be causing all of this?
Posted Thu, 8 Aug 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 34 minutes later

Thank you for the query.

It is possible that your symptoms are caused by GERD indeed. However it is not a good idea to treat stomach issues without diagnosing it. Its because sometimes such symptoms can be also caused by stomach cancer. That is why, in case of GERD, peptic ulcers, stomach inflammation suspicion, gastroscopy should be done at first.
Diarrhea is not a characteristic symptom of stomach issues. Every diarrhea which lasts longer than 48 hours should be diagnosed with stool tests.

Symptoms mentioned by you may be caused by partial bowels obstruction due to large intestine issue (like a cancer) or inflammatory bowels disease. If you have had any abdominal surgery before, adhesions can cause an obstruction as well.
It is very characteristic for bowels obstruction that usually most of the tests are negative. To diagnose this disease abdominal CT with oral contrast (enteroclysis) should be done.

As you are close to the age of 50, at least FOBT (fecal occult blood test) should be done (colonoscopy would be better).

In conclusion, gastroenterologist consult is a very good idea and you should not wait anymore as it is not improving.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffer pain in upper abdomen and loose stools. Have hot flushes, cramping and burning feeling in chest. Taking giardia. What to do? 1 hour later
Thankyou for your response. I will make an appointment with my doctor ASAP. I am at the point where I need answers so a gastroscope makes sense. Could IBS be the culprit? How is this diagnosed?
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 12 hours later
IBS is a group of diseases which are unknown for present medicine. So saying IBS we understand that "we dont know why the patient has such symptoms". So such diagnose can be set after ruling out all known reasons of such symptoms. To do that it is necessary to perform: abdominal ultrasound, gastroscopy, colonoscopy, abdominal CT with oral contrast, blood work, liver tests, amylase, bilirubin, urne amylase, lipase, urine analysis, stool tests, stool culture test. Sometimes even diagnostic laparoscopy needs to be done.

If all this tests are negative, we can say someone has an IBS. However many doctors forget about it and misdiagnose IBS.

Some doctors give Rifaximine treatment before any tests. This antibiotic is a very good for chronic gastrointestinal infections. It makes many IBS patients free from symptoms. You may discuss about it with your gastroenterologist.

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