What is Non-Ulcer Stomach Pain?
Non-ulcer stomach pain, usually called non-ulcer or functional dyspepsia by medical professionals, is a common affliction that can last for a significantly long amount of time. The term is typically used to describe symptoms indicative of indigestion that do not have a definitive cause.
Because it is often not known what creates the discomfort, it is considered a functional disorder, meaning a specific disease is not responsible for the condition. Despite this, patients who smoke, drink a lot of alcohol or caffeinated beverages, or take medications that are known for creating stomach problems appear to be at a higher risk of developing non-ulcer stomach pain.
What are the Symptoms of Non-Ulcer Stomach Pain?
Many symptoms of non-ulcer stomach pain are similar to those caused by ulcers, including:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Burning sensation
- Feeling full quickly
A doctor should immediately evaluate the condition if a patient notices dark stools, bloody vomit, shortness of breath, and pain in the neck, jaw, or arm.
Non-Ulcer Stomach Pain Causes
Stomach pain that is not caused by an ulcer can have many causes, and often several factors go into its development. This type of stomach pain often comes with no inflammation of the stomach lining and no abnormal levels of acid. In some patients, the cause is never found. It is clear that drinking too many caffeinated beverages as well as smoking can cause this pain. Many different medications can cause stomach pain, particularly pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and other over-the-counter remedies. There is some evidence that patients who have irritable stomachs and often experience stomach pain may have a stomach or small intestine that has been altered and is more sensitive. Some patients develop this pain when they have a slowing of their stomach contents emptying into the duodenum due to an ineffective stomach wall. An infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium is thought to cause some cases. Some patients find that specific foods and drinks cause them stomach pain after consumption. These foods include spicy foods, tomatoes, hot drinks, chocolate, peppermint, alcoholic beverages, and coffee. In addition, stress and strong emotions such as anxiety may be a factor.
How is Non-Ulcer Stomach Pain Treated?
In many cases, making simple lifestyle changes is enough to control the discomfort of non-ulcer stomach pain. Doctors may recommend various dietary adjustments such as avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, eating smaller more frequent meals, and allowing plenty of time to eat more slowly. Additionally, reducing stress can go a long way in managing the condition. Stress reduction techniques, taking time for favorite hobbies, yoga, and meditation have all proven beneficial for patients with non-ulcer stomach pain.
When lifestyle changes are not effective, other forms of treatment may be required. Nonprescription gas relievers, antibiotics, low-dose antidepressants, and drugs that reduce acid production or block acid pumps are all potential solutions. Behavioral therapy with a therapist or counselor can help if medications are not sufficient. Some patients benefit from adding herbal supplements like caraway oil, peppermint, and artichoke leaf to their daily regimen.
Non-Ulcer Stomach Pain Prevention
To prevent your non-ulcer stomach pain, experiment with removing things from your diet that could be causing the problem. Starting with any over-the-counter pain relievers may be all you need to do to prevent the pain. If this is ineffective, cut out caffeinated drinks and alcohol. If the symptoms are not relieved, read about your medications’ side effects to see whether stomach pain is a common one. Another step is to cut out foods like tomatoes, spicy foods and chocolate one at a time to see if the absence of any of them prevents the pain. If no dietary measures work, concentrate on lowering stress levels to relieve this condition.