Today we are going to address a very popular topic: the symptoms and signs related to stomach discomfort. It is common for patients to have similar symptoms, but they are not always related to the stomach. For example, the presence of gallstones can cause symptoms such as nausea, pain and cramps in the upper abdomen. However, these symptoms only occur in about 20% of cases.
Another factor that can cause discomfort in the upper abdomen is distention of the large intestine, which can lead to cramps and gas. These symptoms can be acute and recurrent. To alleviate the discomfort, the patient often needs to stop, take a deep breath and stay still for a while until the discomfort subsides.
It is important to note that not everything that causes pain in the upper belly is related to the stomach. Often, the patient cannot identify the exact cause of the discomfort and may assume that it is related to the stomach. Therefore, the search for signs and symptoms related to stomach pain can be a mistake.
One of the most common causes of stomach discomfort is stress. Today’s society is increasingly stressed, working more and sleeping less. Fortunately, the number of smokers has decreased, as cigarettes are one of the main causes of problems in the esophagus, stomach and small intestine.
gastritis and dyspepsia
Stress, lack of sleep, pressure at work, psychological issues, sadness, anxiety attacks and even depression can alter blood flow in the stomach, causing a condition called gastritis. In addition, stress releases adrenaline into the blood, affecting the stomach’s defense mechanisms against gastric acid.
This condition is called dyspepsia, which is a set of signs and symptoms related to changes in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Generally, it occurs due to an imbalance between factors that attack the stomach, such as stress and cigarettes, and the body’s ability to resist its own gastric acid.
Gastric acid plays an important role in digesting food and sterilizing potential pathogens. Maintaining the acidic environment in the stomach is essential for the body. However, excessive acid production, irritating foods and reduced stomach defenses can increase the risk of developing gastritis, esophagitis and ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract.
The main symptoms related to dyspepsia are pain in the upper part of the abdomen, a feeling of tightness, burning, nausea and vomiting. It is important to note that these symptoms are not necessarily related to gastroesophageal reflux, which is when stomach contents back up into the esophagus.
Stomach pain – could it be something more serious?
It is common for patients with stomach pain to be concerned that their symptoms could indicate a more serious condition, such as stomach cancer. However, it is important to highlight that stomach cancer is becoming less and less frequent, mainly due to better hygienic habits in the preparation and storage of food.
In addition, avoiding the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and foods that increase the risk of cancer, such as sausages and smoked foods, also reduces the risk of this disease. Excess industrialized food and the habit of consuming extremely hot food, as in the case of chimarrão in the south of the country, should also be avoided.
importance of food
There are some measures that can be adopted to improve stomach discomfort and prevent the emergence of new symptoms. It is important to establish a frequent diet and avoid the consumption of candies and gum, as these habits stimulate the stomach to produce acid, even without the presence of food.
Cigarettes, excess alcohol, fatty foods, citrus foods such as lemons and oranges, in addition to excessive consumption of fiber and whole foods, should be avoided. Foods such as full-fat cheeses, whole milk, and semi-skimmed milk can also negatively impact gastric health.
It is important to note that the feeling of fullness after meals is also related to gastritis. In addition, the perception of discomfort can be influenced by factors such as the consumption of fatty foods, excess fiber and whole foods.
If you have persistent symptoms, are over 55 years of age, have lost weight, have a family history of gastric cancer, or have severe symptoms, it is recommended that you see a doctor. In most cases, stomach discomfort is just dyspepsia, but it’s always important to seek professional evaluation to rule out more serious problems.
Other causes of abdominal pain
The gallbladder is an organ that plays an important role in the digestion process. It is located in the upper right part of the abdomen and stores bile, a substance produced by the liver.
Bile is responsible for emulsifying fats and allowing their absorption by the small intestine. When we eat a high-fat meal, the gallbladder is stimulated to release bile into the small intestine to aid digestion. However, bile can crystallize and form stones in the gallbladder, which can cause severe pain, nausea, and other symptoms.
Appendix – Appendicitis
Moving on to the second diagnosis, the appendix, many people believe that it has no function and can be removed without any problems. Could you tell us a little more about the function of the appendix and how appendicitis can develop?
The appendix is another intriguing organ. Although we still don’t know exactly what its function is, it is believed to be related to the immune system. The appendix is about the size of your little finger and is a small hollow organ located in the large intestine.
When something blocks the appendix, like stool or inflammation, it leads to a buildup of bacteria and swelling. This condition is known as appendicitis and can cause severe abdominal pain, especially in the lower right side of the abdomen. If appendicitis is left untreated, the appendix can rupture, which is a serious condition and one that requires immediate medical intervention.
Finally, let’s talk about ulcers. Stress and anxiety are often linked to the development of ulcers. Could you explain to us how stress can cause ulcers and what other factors can contribute to their development?
Ulcers are lesions that form on the lining of the stomach or small intestine. While stress and anxiety can make symptoms worse, they are not the only causes of ulcers. Other factors, such as chronic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin, can increase the risk of ulcers.
In addition, the presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria is also associated with the development of ulcers. Treatment for ulcers usually involves medications that reduce stomach acid production and, in some cases, eradication of the H. pylori bacteria.
Stomach Discomfort – Could it be Cancer?
Stomach cancer is a serious disease that is difficult to diagnose early. Symptoms often only appear when the tumor is already in an advanced stage. However, it is important to know how to recognize the first signs and seek medical help as soon as possible.
five common symptoms
There are more common symptoms of stomach cancer. It is important to remember that many patients may be asymptomatic, making diagnosis even more challenging.
- Pain in the upper abdomen
Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen is one of the first symptoms. This pain can be similar to the symptoms of other benign diseases, such as gastritis, but if it persists, it is necessary to see a doctor for evaluation.
Another common symptom is the feeling of nausea and vomiting. Stomach cancer patients may experience nausea after eating, as well as a feeling of something flowing back. A feeling of fullness is also a frequent symptom. The tumor can take up space in the stomach, making people feel full even after eating small amounts of food. This can lead to weight loss, which is another important symptom to look out for.
- 3. Bleeding in Stomach Cancer
Bleeding is a serious symptom that can occur with stomach cancer. The patient may have blood in the vomit or in the stool. Stomach bleeding is digested and can make stools dark and smelly. It is essential to be aware of any change in the appearance of the stool.
can be asymptomatic
It is important to note that stomach cancer can develop without showing symptoms. Therefore, it is essential to carry out preventive examinations, especially in cases of family history of the disease. In countries like Japan, where screening is frequent, the cure rate is much higher than in Brazil.
Early diagnosis is essential to increase the chances of curing stomach cancer. Often, the tumor is discovered through endoscopy, in which the doctor can visualize and perform biopsies. It is also possible to detect stomach cancer through imaging tests, such as CT scans. The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chances of successful treatment.
In addition to early diagnosis, it is also important to take steps to prevent stomach cancer. Some risk factors are associated with a higher risk of developing the disease, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and a diet rich in processed and smoked foods. Avoiding these risk factors and adopting a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help prevent stomach cancer.