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Digestive Disorders

Stomach pain/burning feeling & belching

07/11/2000

Question:

I am a 50 year old female and believe I am in good health until just recently. For the past 3/4 weeks, everytime I start to eat something, anything, I get stomach pain/burning sensation, which also radiates to my back between my shoulder blades, accompanied by bloating, my food portions are getting smaller and smaller but I still experience bloating, and further accompanied by belching. I usually take an alka seltzer and sometimes the pain/burning is so discomforting I have to lie down for awhile.

Answer:

You describe a symptom known as dyspepsia. A common and important cause of dyspepsia are peptic ulcers of the stomach and duodenum. In addition these symptoms can be caused by slow emptying of the stomach, abnormal sensation, and stomach cancer. Occasionally gallstones or pancreatitis can cause similar symptoms especially if pain is predominant and radiates to the back. Current guidelines suggest that based on your age and new-onset of symptoms that you should have an upper endoscopy for further evaluation. This test is best done by a gastroenterologist. Treatment would depend on the findings.

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Response by:

John D Long, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati