Burning Stomach Pain
Burning stomach pain is the hallmark sign of a stomach ulcer, but it can also be caused by a variety of things. Below, you will find information what causes burning stomach pain and what you can do about it.
Burning Stomach Pain and Stomach Ulcers
Burning stomach pain is by far the most common symptom of a peptic ulcer. The major qualifier though that makes ulcers much different from other gastrointestinal problems is that burning stomach pain related to an ulcer usually decreases right after eating, only to peak a few hours after eating or in the long space between meals (particularly in the early AM hours after sleeping).
Other digestive maladies may not necessarily get better after eating and burning stomach pain may be worse after eating. Be sure to read this article on stomach ulcer symptoms for additional ulcer symptoms.
Gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach, can cause a burning stomach pain as well. Gastritis is most commonly caused by H pylori, the infectious bacterium which causes ulcers. This is typically treated in the same way as ulcers, as H pylori is the predominate cause of ulcers. See this article on H pylori symptoms for additional information the H pylori bacterium.
Gastritis can also be caused by other conditions as well. Alcohol consumption can lead to temporary gastritis; it is not uncommon to experience burning stomach pain the following day or two after a night of heavy drinking.
Another common cause of gastritis is bile reflux into the stomach (bile normally stays in the small intestines). This is a very irritating factor to the stomach and can lead to gastritis. Bile reflux can be caused by a variety of factors, but some typical factors include history of gastric surgery and peptic ulcers.
Dyspepsia, GERD, and Gallbladder Disease
Less commonly, certain conditions like dyspepsia (upset stomach), GERD (chronic heartburn) and even gallbladder disease may cause burning stomach pain. The intricacies of such conditions are well beyond the scope of this article.
If you have burning stomach pain, we strongly recommend seeing a doctor for diagnosis regardless of your secondary symptoms, as the treatment path will almost always be the same.
What You Can Expect From A Doctor
Most doctors will order an H pylori test after reporting burning stomach pain, given that H-pylori related ulcers and H-pylori related gastritis are the top causes of burning stomach pain.
Most people with burning stomach pain will come back positive for H pylori, and the doctor will then typically start a patient on triple therapy. Of course, not every doctor is the same and standard practices vary from region to region and country to country.
If you have had any stomach surgery, your doctor also is likely to recommend an endoscope to check for any accidental damage that may have occurred following a surgery. This could lead to bile reflux, another cause of burning stomach pain, which also can be dangerous to leave untreated.
Regardless, if you have regular bouts of burning stomach pain, only a doctor will be able to offer you appropriate treatments for long-term relief. Over-the-counter and home remedies are not powerful enough to stop H pylori; antibiotic intervention (typically triple therapy) is required to stop this infection and end most cases of burning stomach pain.