What is epigastric pain?
The epigastrium is the region in central abdominal area, which lies just below the sternum. It is also situated just above the umbilicus. Hence, an ached felt in the upper middle region of the abdomen is referred to as epigastric pain. In most cases, the pain felt in the epigastric region is dull. At times, a person could experience severe epigastrium pain, due to different factors.
What are the causes of epigastric pain?
There are many conditions that could lead to intense pain in the epigastric region. There are different epigastric pain symptoms that are associated with each different condition. Given below are some of the most common epigastric pain causes:
This is a fungal or a bacterial infection that affects the peritoneum, which is a silk-like membrane, lining the inner abdominal wall covering the organs in the abdomen. Peritonitis calls for immediate medical attention, as it could lead to severe and life-threatening infections in the body. The signs and symptoms that are associated with this condition are epigastric region pain, fever, vomiting, nausea, appetite loss, increased thirst, fatigue and difficulty in passing urine. The treatment of this condition generally includes the use of antibiotics and other medication prescribed by doctors.
These ulcers can be described as open sores on the inner lining of the esophagus, stomach and the small intestines. Some of the most common causes of peptic ulcers and the subsequent sharp epigastric pain could include smoking, the use of pain relievers on a regular basis, the consumption of alcohol and stress. In order to treat peptic ulcers, there are several dietary and lifestyle changes that need to be made. Moreover, at times medications like antibiotics, acid blockers, antacids, proton pump inhibitors and cyto-protective agents may be required to kill the bacteria that lead to an infection. At times, peptic ulcers may not heal properly even after the use of medication. In such cases doctors may need to prescribe a more aggressive drug treatment or even a surgery, so that the ulcers can heal.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
When a person suffers from this problem, the permanent aortic localized dilation is around 1.5 times the normal diameter. This condition usually affects the aorta that is between the iliac and renal arteries. Abdominal aortic aneurysm is generally characterized by epigastric pain radiating to back. The risks of suffering from this condition could increase with age, especially in men. There are certain ways in which this condition can be treated, which include open abdominal surgery or endovascular surgery. However, minor cases of this condition may not require any treatment.
Irritable bowel syndrome
This is a very common disorder, affecting the large intestines in several people. This condition can trigger off some painful and uncomfortable symptoms. However, irritable bowel syndrome is not likely to cause any major or long term damage to the intestines. This condition is generally marked by symptoms like mucus in the stool, flatulence, constipation or diarrhea, left epigastric pain or bloating in the abdominal region. Treatment for this condition is not very specific, mainly because the exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome are not yet clear. Apart from incorporated healthy dietary changes that have been recommended by a health expert, doctors may also suggest using fiber supplements, anti diarrhea medication, anticholinergic medicines, antibiotics, antidepressants,
An inflammation in the pancreas can be referred to as pancreatitis. People can either suffer from acute pancreatitis or chronic pancreatitis. There are many people who do not get this condition treated, as it can go away on its own. Some of the common symptoms that are associated with acute pancreatitis are nausea, tenderness, vomiting and epigastric pain radiating to back. The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include indigestion, weight loss for no apparent reason and severe epigastric pain. In case people do need to get this condition treated then, hospitalization is required, at least until the inflammation is controlled. The methods used for treating this problem include pain relievers, IV fluids and surgery.
Cholecystitis is a medical condition, which can be described as an inflammation in the gallbladder. This is usually caused by gallstones, which block the tube that goes out of the gallbladder. Any trauma, infection, injuries and tumors in the gallbladder can also have a similar effect. One of the first symptoms of chronic cholecystitis is epigastric pain that originates in the right side. Gradually the epigastric pain may move towards to back or the shoulder. Some of the other symptoms of this condition include sweating, chills, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever. The treatment of this condition generally requires hospitalization, where the inflammation is first controlled with the help of antibiotics and pain relievers. In order to keep the symptoms from recurring, the gallbladder may need to be removed too.
At times, the digestive fluid in the human body gathers in the gallbladder and forms hardened deposits, which are referred to, as gallstones. These stones can vary in size, some of them being as small as a grain of sand, while a few may even be as big as a golf ball. It is possible for a person to develop more than one gallstone at a time. The presence of a gallstone on its own may not necessarily lead to any signs and symptoms; however, in case a gallstone causes an obstruction in a duct, the symptoms that could be seen are sudden and rapid abdominal pain, back pain that extends to the shoulder blades and right shoulder ache. In case symptoms like yellowing of the skin, chills, high fever and intense abdominal pain, are evident, then emergency medical care should be sought. The most common ways of treating this condition involve medication to dissolve gallstones or surgery.
Epigastric pain can be the indication of quite a serious problem, which is why it should never be ignored. It is important for people of all ages to get any instance of epigastric pain investigated by a medical health care provider, as early as possible, even if the pain is dull and not too intense.