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Heartburn, chest pain, loose stool and discomfort in stomach. Is this stress related?

I m not sure if I have insufficient gastric acid , but I do feel a gnawing stomach an hour after I eat, and some discomfort in my stomach. At times, I experience a lil heartburn , and some stabbing pains in the upper left side of my chest (near my armpit). I m also having consistent loose stools to go with it, and I m experiencing anxiety because of it,thinking it has something to do with my heart. Not sure if this is stress-related, but I m worried every time this incident occurs. Please help. The anxiety is killing me! :(
Asked On : Tue, 22 Jan 2013
Answers:  1 Views:  192
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
Hello and welcome,

Thanks for your query.

First of all let me explain each symptom for you. We shall then try to establish a provisional diagnosis, and how you should go about it.

At first, let us discuss the discomfort, gnawing or pain you experience after a meal. This is most commonly related to an ulcer or GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease).

An ulcer is further classified into a Gastric (stomach) ulcer and a Duodenal ulcer, based on location. The symptom of discomfort or pain after a meal helps in establishing a clinical diagnosis. If you experience these symptoms almost immediately after a meal (approximately 15 minutes), it is most probably an ulcer of the stomach, as the food reaches the stomach by then and irritates the ulcer. If you experience these symptoms 2 hours after a meal, it would have reached the duodenum by them and caused irritation which is why this is experienced.

All this information is solely for your understanding, and does not prove anything till tests are conducted.

Let me give you more information on each type of ulcer:

Gastric ulcer:
-Pain experienced short time after or immediately after a meal
-Vomiting relieves pain
- Normal appetite or reduced
-Weight loss
-Small quantities of blood seen in vomitus

Dudenal ulcer:
-Pain around 2 hours after meal
-Vomiting less common
-Normal or increased appetite
-Weight normal or increased
-Change in color of stools (blackish or darker stools)

If you find any similarities, please consult your doctor at the earliest, as theses conditions are treatable

Heart burn is also commonly associated with ulcers.

I doubt there is anything to do with your heart, but as you mentioned that you are having frequent loose stools, which can lead to a fluid loss, and in turn put pressure on the heart, you will need to visit a doctor at the earliest to get yourself checked, and to in turn avoid dehydration.

Thus, few of the tests you might need to undergo are:

Stool analysis
A complete blood count analysis
Physical examination (to rule out dehydration)
Discuss your symptoms with the doctor, and if they feel the likelihood of an ulcer, then an endoscopy would greatly help, to visualize the ulcer

Please do not get anxious, as your condition is treatable, and all you need is some medical attention and guidance.

I hope I have succeeded in answering your questions, you could write back to us anytime for further clarifications.

Best wishes.
Answered: Tue, 22 Jan 2013
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