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What causes upper abdominal discomfort?

Answered by
Dr. Ahmad Nazzal

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2011

Answered : 343 Questions

Posted on Mon, 26 Oct 2015 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: I'm experiencing upper abdominal discomfort on both sides but both are varying when, it's not at the same time, also it burns when passing gas and stool, stools are a light brown and I have to wipe atleast 3 - 5 times, I'm not experiencing a loss of appetite nor weight loss, I'm a male and 20 years old, 1st thought is something is seriously wrong with me, but I lack health insurance so I'm hoping I can get a suggestion of what may be wrong with me..? Can you please help me, I'm very worried.

P.S. it's my left side that has the most discomfort
Answered by Dr. Ahmad Nazzal 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Probably not serious more details needed

Detailed Answer:
Dear XXXX,

Thank you for approaching us in HCM for guidance in your medical problem. I will make sure to answer your question to the best of my knowledge.

First you need to relax since being anxious might lead to abdominal pain.

In your age upper abdominal discomfort can be due to peptic ulcer, Gastritis, cholangitis, panceratitis, malignancies, spleen problems, kidney problems,irritable bowl syndrome, hernias, point is alot of things can lead to abdominal discomfort.

I can not suggest cause or treatment without asking you a couple of questions:
When did the discomfort start?
Was it sudden? is there time for eat e.g before after eating? does come and go?
How would you describe it? is it pain? nausea? if pain is it dull? sharp?
on a scale of 10 with 10 being XXXXXXX how painfull is it?
Is it more after eating fatty food, coffee? while sleeping does it wake you up?
Is it relieved by eating?
any other accompanying symptoms? fever? sweating?
For stool do you go more than often? Do you feel you need to go back after just finishing? do you feel bloated? do you feel like passing gas? is there blood or mucus?
you said it burns what is it that burns is it the upper left abdomen that burns?

Do you smoke? if yes how many cig per day
Do you drink alcohol ? if yes how many glasses per week?
Do you feel any extra stress currently?

I would ask for some tests but since you do not have insurance I will try to avoid doing so.

So many questions but will help in nailing it down to a couple of probabilities. Thank you for your understanding and hoping to hear back from you.

Best regards,
Dr. Nazzal

Other quest
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Neel Kudchadkar
Follow up: Dr. Ahmad Nazzal 2 hours later
the discomfort has been around about a week, it is subsiding, it doesn't hurt when eating, no nausea, it's like a cramp pain, it started after I got away from drinking water drinking caffeine and eating fast food 2 or 3 days in a row, I'd say the pain is about a 3.5, yes it does come and go, but never wakes me up out of my sleep. my rectum burns when passing gas and stools, I do not drink nor smoke, I do sweat alot when working, no fever. I go to the bathroom the normal amount I would say, as of this week I've gone twice in the last 4 days. no fever, no vomiting, nor any type of illness..
Answered by Dr. Ahmad Nazzal 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), Gases

Detailed Answer:
Dear XXXX,

I would like to thank you for answering the questions I asked.

So we ruled out gastritis and most of the more serious issues. Its probably not stomach ulcer since the pain in stomach ulcer situation usually gets better with food and its sharp more intense with signs of increases acidity in the stomach which you do not have.

My guess would be IBS which leads to cramping bouts of pain, feeling bloated bowel movement changes in frequency and consistency plus burning sensation when passing gas or stool.

Its of-course better to do some tests like(abdominal x-ray,blood tests, lactose intolerance tests, stool tests) and visit your doctor for physical examination.

But for the time being you can do the following:

Avoid caffeine, avoid alcohol, limit fatty foods, if diarrhea less milk, fruits and artificial sweeteners.
Increase fiber in the diet if constipation.
Avoid food that leads to gas like beans, cabbage, broccoli etc..
Avoid spicy food too
Get some workout and exercise like walking.
Reduce stress in your life.

For medication for the cramping pain if you were my patient I would describe anticholinergics (antispasmodics).

Finally you need to keep an eye if your symptoms lasted longer than 6 months, or you started having blood in stool, weight loss you will need to refer to a gastroenterologist.

I hope this helped and will make you less worried about your symptoms.

Thank you for your time and I hope you a full fast recovery.

Dr. Nazzal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Sonia Raina

The User accepted the expert's answer

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