Have you ever heard of epigastralgia? Perhaps you have even suffered from it at one time or another.
Epigastralgia is a very localized acute abdominal pain of varying intensity, mainly caused by indigestion.mainly caused by indigestion. However, it may have other causes.
In this article we will tell you what epigastralgia is, what are its most frequent causes, the symptoms that accompany it and what possible treatments are available.
Epigastralgia: what is it?
Epigastralgia is pain that occurs in an area of the stomach, the epigastrium (the pit of the stomach). Specifically, the epigastrium is the upper abdominal area, which extends from the tip of the sternum to the navel.
Thus, epigastralgia consists, fundamentally, of stomach pain, abdominal pain or, in more common parlance, belly pain. It is therefore a fairly localized pain, which is usually acute.
In fact, the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases) lists “epigastralgia” as “pain in the epigastrium”.
This medical condition is related to esophageal reflux, an alteration (disease) that is usually acute.a disorder (disease) that involves some gastrointestinal symptoms, such as heartburn and discomfort.
Epigastralgia itself is not serious, although it is true that it may be the symptom of some other disease, such as the aforementioned (esophageal reflux). Thus, in each case, the possible underlying causes of epigastralgia should be analyzed.
As we have seen, epigastralgia can appear in isolation, or together with other symptoms of certain alterations, medical conditions or diseases (related to the stomach).
Thus, epigastralgia itself is already a symptom. But what symptoms usually accompany epigastralgia? what symptoms usually accompany epigastralgia? Some of the most frequent are the following:
- Discomfort/stomach discomfort.
- bloating” sensation (especially after eating)
- Belching (with or without regurgitation of food)
- Stomach bloating
- Loss of appetite
- Heartburn or sour stomach
- Insomnia (associated with the above symptoms)
The causes of epigastralgia are diverse.. Although most of them are related to alterations of the stomach, they can also be alterations or diseases in other areas or parts of the body.
However, here we will only mention its most frequent causes (but not the only ones). These causes usually produce a banal epigastralgia, i.e. not serious. The important thing, however, is always to consult a medical professional who can rule out a more serious cause.
1. Esophageal reflux (disease)
This disease causes the acid in the stomach to be redirected towards the esophagus, the structure that connects the throat and the stomach.the structure that connects the throat and stomach. These structures, not being covered by the stomach mucosa, are damaged by the acid.
Epigastralgia is one of the symptoms of esophageal reflux, although more may appear, such as: cough, chest pain, difficulty in swallowing and/or breathing, heartburn, stomach discomfort, etc.
Gastritis is another possible cause of epigastralgia.. It is the inflammation of the gastric mucosa; this mucosa, under normal conditions, has the function of protecting the stomach from digestive acid.
Gastritis causes the famous “heartburn” (i.e. a burning sensation in the stomach). In turn, the causes of gastritis can be various; poor diet, stress, infections, substance abuse, etc.
Food indigestion, also known more generally as “dyspepsia”, involves certain stomach disorders and symptoms, such as epigastralgia. Specifically, “dyspepsia” is any disorder of digestion.
Thus, dyspepsia causes symptoms such as epigastralgia, but also others: heartburn, vomiting, nausea, bloating, flatulence, etc.
The causes of indigestion vary, and may include the following: poor nutrition (i.e., unhealthy), drinking something unhealthy, eating too fast or in an inadequate posture, overeating, etc., etc.overeating, etc.
It is worth mentioning that indigestion is the most frequent cause of epigastralgia. This can be combated by simply changing our diet, as we will see below.
Interestingly, pregnancy is another possible cause of epigastralgia.. Specifically, what can cause this symptom is the fetus itself, by squeezing the walls of the woman’s abdomen.
On the other hand, as there are many hormonal changes during pregnancy, these can also produce symptoms such as gastric reflux, including among its symptoms epigastralgia.
5. Peptic ulcer
Another possible cause of epigastralgia is a peptic ulcer. These are lesions of the mucosa that lines our stomach, which originate when the defenses of our digestive system are deficient or insufficient.
This insufficiency of the defenses makes that the digestive system itself cannot fight the agents that damage it (for example bacteria). (for example bacteria).
6. Acute gastroenteritis
Another possible cause of epigastralgia is gastroenteritis.. The pain in the stomach that causes gastroenteritis often varies in intensity. In addition, it may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and even fever.
It is usually caused by a viral infection (although there may be other causes). The ideal to combat gastroenteritis is plenty of hydration (juices, water…) and an astringent diet.
How can epigastralgia be treated and what treatments are available? Everything depends on the cause.
However, in a generic way we can say that the main indications that are transmitted in cases of epigastralgia are along the lines of changing our diet, making it healthier; what is usually recommended is a reduction in the consumption of fats, as well as a decrease in the amount of food we eat. The objective is to “take care” of our stomach, preventing it from getting “stuffed” or suffering with certain foods, generally unhealthy.
On the other hand, when dietary guidelines are insufficient, a possible treatment is surgical intervention.. This is recommended, always by the medical professional, in severe cases of epigastralgia (when the associated pain is very intense), or when the cause of the same is an underlying disease, such as esophageal reflux or peptic ulcer.
As regards pharmacological treatment for epigastralgia, stomach protectors, such as omeprazole, are usually prescribed. This and other drugs decrease the production of gastric acid and relieve the symptoms of the gastrointestinal disturbances described.
Sometimes ibuprofen is also prescribed together with other anti-inflammatory drugs (this should always be prescribed by a physician), although it is true that this type of medication can be aggressive for the stomach. It is always best to consult your family physician.