Which thoughts evoke stomach upset in you?
Stomach complaints evoke certain thoughts in everyone. When pain or an unpleasant feeling in the upper abdomen lasts longer than a few days, many people think that something is wrong. The thoughts that we have vary greatly per person.
One thinks about persistent stomach complaints of stress at work, while the other suspects a stomach ulcer or gallstones. Another person thinks he may have cancer in his stomach. It is not strange that people get negative or somber thoughts as soon as something happens to their body that deviates from what they are used to.
This information brochure discusses the extent to which these thoughts are consistent with medical reality. It is also discussed here whether stopping gastric acid inhibitors increases the chance of abnormalities.
Fear of cancer
Cancer of the stomach or esophagus is fortunately very rare. Cancer is a condition that mainly affects people over the age of fifty and is almost always accompanied by what we call “alarms”.
The most important alarm signals that may indicate cancer in the esophagus or stomach are:
- unintended slimming
- vomit regularly
- the food gets stuck in the esophagus.
Complaints that are not directly indicative of cancer, but possibly of another serious condition, vomiting blood and pitch black discolored stools. Anemia with stomach complaints is also something that requires further investigation.
If your symptoms have responded well to stomach acid inhibitors or other medications, it is very unlikely that your symptoms have anything to do with cancer. Stopping the medication will not increase the chance of a malignant disorder.
Fear of returning the stomach complaints
Stomach complaints have a favorable course in most cases: three quarters of people with stomach complaints no longer suffer from their stomach after a certain period. However, up to a quarter of the people have stomach complaints.
Complaints that occur because acidic stomach contents flow back into the esophagus (reflux complaints) are known to return regularly. But we also know that reflux disease usually does not cause permanent symptoms and that daily use of an acid inhibitor is usually unnecessary. When the symptoms are caused by a stomach ulcer or duodenum (usually referred to simply as “stomach ulcer”), there is a good chance that an ulcer will develop after healing of the ulcer, often within a year.
However, we have known for a number of years that a stomach ulcer is very often caused by the gastric bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Eradicating this bacterium with a compound eradication cure makes the chance of the complaints returning almost zero.
If no cause for the symptoms was found during stomach examination (so-called functional stomach complaints) there is a chance that the symptoms will not disappear with medication. If they do, then there is of course a chance that they will come back if you stop taking the medication. But even then it is never necessary to use the medication every day.
It may be that changing your lifestyle has more effect (see information brochure ‘Influence of lifestyle on stomach complaints’). Of course it is very annoying to often suffer from the stomach. In many cases, however, there is no cause for concern, so feel free to try out if you can or cannot stop taking fewer medicines. Your doctor can advise you on this.
Fear of a stomach examination
A stomach examination is not a pleasant examination. When the doctor enters your throat and esophagus with a thin, flexible tube to inspect the stomach on the inside, you may have a tendency to vomit or feel a little stuffy. If you have ever had a stomach examination, you know how to talk about it.
Fortunately a stomach examination never lasts long; in fifteen minutes it is usually ready, often even faster. A stomach examination often provides much important information, such as certainty that there is no stomach ulcer or cancer in the stomach.
If you are very upset about the investigation, you can discuss in advance whether you can get a soothing injection. You do not fall asleep because of this, but you become a bit drowsy. You then notice less of the research and afterwards often do not know exactly what has been done. Afterwards you usually have to stay in the hospital for two hours until you are well awake. Furthermore, you are no longer allowed to drive that day and it is not advisable to make important decisions.
Sometimes the doctor advises that it is better to have a stomach test done when your symptoms start again after stopping heartburn inhibitors. Perhaps you would rather just start taking your medication again. However, you should bear in mind that in such a case it is wiser to persevere than to continue to use medicines without knowing why you need them.
Source : dokterdokter