Symptoms

Stomach problems

Stomach problems


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Stomach problems are very diverse in nature. Fatty or unfamiliar food can hit the stomach, or bacteria and viruses can lead to stomach disorders. The digestive tract to which this organ belongs begins in the oral cavity and ends in the anus. All parts of this system work together and are rarely considered in isolation. Most stomach problems also affect the entire digestive tract, or at least parts of it.

Stress and psyche for stomach problems

Stomach problems can be felt in many different ways. Pain, flatulence, heartburn, feeling of fullness and pressure and nausea occur. In any case, the diet should be looked at first. Raw fruit, flatulence, coffee, hot spices, fats and sweeteners such as aspartame and sorbitol can cause a variety of stomach problems. The autonomic nervous system is closely connected to the digestive system, which makes it clear that stress and mental stress can easily lead to gastrointestinal complaints. Phrases such as "it hits my stomach" or "it upsets me" remind us that the stomach is not only an organ in the body, but also plays a major role for the psyche.

The stomach: location and tasks

The stomach joins the esophagus, similar to a sac-like enlargement. The digestion that has already started in the mouth is continued there. Due to different filling states, this can take different forms. Its capacity is approximately 1.5 liters. The stomach takes on three important main tasks. These are food storage, food crushing and hydrochloric acid production.

Depending on whether light food or a heavy meal has been consumed, the length of time the food stays in the stomach varies between two and seven hours. The digestion of carbohydrates, which begins in the mouth, rests in the stomach, but proteins and fats are broken down here by mechanical movements. The food is mixed together and the chyme, also called chyme, is formed. Hydrochloric acid formation is also an extremely important process. It is essential for the digestion of protein, but also vital for the destruction of pathogens.

Diseases of the stomach

Everyone knows about stomach problems. Pressure, fullness, acid regurgitation, feeling unwell, nausea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain are all typical symptoms that can occur.

The causes of the stomach discomfort are extremely variable. For example, this can be an emotional problem that "hits the stomach" with the person concerned, especially if there is a so-called irritable stomach. Stress, anger and worry can lead to more acid being produced. If there is then anorexia, which is often the case, the stomach acid can attack the mucous membrane of the empty stomach. This leads to discomfort, possibly nausea and burning stomach pain.

If the symptoms appear more frequently, this can lead to gastritis, gastritis. This occurs both acutely and chronically. The acute form is usually triggered by long-term stress, but can also result from excessive alcohol consumption or nicotine consumption. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), other anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, as well as viral and bacterial infections can also be responsible for gastritis. With gastritis, the stomach problems are expressed in a feeling of pressure in the stomach area, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Every now and then those affected feel a burning sensation in the stomach.

The chronic form of inflammation of the stomach is relatively common. This is caused by autoimmune gastritis in type A, bacterial in type B and chemically toxic gastritis in type C. Type A is a rare disease in which the organism forms autoantibodies against its own hydrochloric acid-producing cells and the intrinsic factor (glycoprotein, important for storing vitamin B 12). In type B, the most common chronic form, bacterial colonization of the stomach, usually with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, causes chronic inflammation. Type C causes are, for example, reflux (reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus) and the regular intake of medication or noxious substances, such as alcohol or nicotine, which gradually damage the gastric mucosa.

Heartburn is a common stomach problem. This is easy because, from an anatomical point of view, there is a functional weakness between the esophagus and stomach. The transition between the two organs consists of a sphincter, which is actually not a correct one and therefore does not work that way. For this reason, gastric contents can flow back into the esophagus relatively easily. This manifests itself as so-called heartburn. The uncomfortable, burning and oppressive feeling can spread especially after fatty foods or due to the changed pressure situation in the abdomen during pregnancy. Too much food, obesity, stress, nervousness, but also clothing that is too tight can also trigger heartburn.

The irritable stomach is a widespread disease characterized by stomach problems. Here, the sufferer suffers from many different, recurring symptoms, such as a feeling of fullness and pressure in the upper abdomen, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, nausea, frequent belching and vomiting. The irritable stomach is a disease that is only diagnosed when organic causes have been excluded. This complaint is one of the functional disorders. Lack of gastric mobility and / or a change in pain perception are discussed as the causes of the irritable stomach. Stress, fears, grief and the like often lead to the stomach problems mentioned. Food allergies and intolerances also occur in connection with the irritable stomach.

Another stomach disorder is called gastric ulcer or gastric ulcer. The cause is an imbalance between substances that protect and protect against mucous membranes. The Helicobacter pylori bacterium also contributes to the mechanism of gastric ulcer formation. A long-term intake of NSAIDs, especially in connection with glucocorticoid therapy, can lead to a stomach ulcer, often bleeding. In the foreground of this disorder of the stomach are rather unspecific symptoms, such as burning, piercing pain in the upper abdomen. These occur either directly after meals or absolutely independent of food. However, about a third of those affected only experience symptoms when complications have already occurred.

Stomach problems can also indicate gastric cancer. Risk factors for the development of gastric cancer are genetic disposition, chronic gastritis, smoking, nitrosamines in food (e.g. in sausages) and colonization of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori. Gastric cancer is common in countries such as China, Finland, Chile, Japan, Colombia and Venezuela. Unfortunately, there are no typical symptoms that can be associated with stomach cancer. The patient often has no complaints at all over a longer period of time. He may have a "sensitive stomach". Weight loss, poor performance, nausea, pain and an aversion to meat and sausage only develop in the advanced stage. In addition, anemia (anemia) often occurs due to chronic blood loss, which can be noticeable in so-called tar stools (black bowel movements due to bleeding from the upper digestive tract).

Diagnosing stomach problems

Because of the numerous different causes of stomach problems, the diagnosis often requires a lot of effort. In a detailed medical history, the patient is asked various questions about appetite behavior, pain symptoms, weight development (keyword: underweight), symptoms, nutritional behavior, psychological conflicts and stress. The abdomen is viewed from the outside (inspection), cultured (listened to with a stethoscope), and palpated (carefully pressed with the hands). Other examination methods include ultrasound, gastroscopy (gastroscopy), X-rays, CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). A detailed blood count is also part of the diagnostic procedures used. Various breath tests are used to determine lactose or fructose intolerance or the colonization of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori.

Conventional medical therapy for stomach problems

The treatment of stomach problems depends on the disease at hand. In the case of acute gastritis, at least one day's food leave is recommended. Coffee, spicy food, alcohol and nicotine must be avoided in any case. If the person concerned takes ASA (acetylsalicylic acid), NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or similar medications, these should be discontinued if possible. If necessary, an antacid (gastric acid neutralizing agent) is prescribed. Chronic gastritis is treated as well as the acute form. In addition, drugs against colonization with Helicobacter pylori are administered if necessary. Substitution with vitamin B12 is important if the patient has type A gastritis, autoimmune atritis. Acid-binding drugs are used for heartburn. Those affected are advised to avoid fatty and heavy dishes, to reduce excess weight and to reduce stress.

Antispasmodic agents and medication for diarrhea or constipation are used to treat the irritated stomach, which is a functional disease, which means that there are no organic causes. If the diagnosis is gastric ulcer, the first step is usually to take medication to treat the ulcer. In the case of Helicobacter infestation, suitable medications such as antibiotics and acid blockers are used to try to eradicate the germ. If the cause of the ulcer is different, agents such as proton pump inhibitors, H2 receptor blockers and antacids are prescribed.

If the patient takes medications that favor a stomach ulcer, such as NSAIDs, these are discontinued if possible. General measures for a gastric ulcer are a diet that is balanced and divided into several small meals a day. Strongly spiced, fatty and sumptuous dishes should be avoided. It is desirable to take meals in peace without stress and hectic. You don't have to do without coffee, but avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Treatment options for gastric cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Helicobacter pylori: cause of many stomach problems

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that settles in the stomach lining and can be responsible for many stomach problems. This pathogen is primarily passed on orally, but also through poor hygiene. However, the transmission path is not yet completely secure. The fact is that the germ feels good in the stomach, multiplies there and, in the worst case, persists for life. In the initial stages, infection with the Helicobacter is not necessarily associated with stomach problems. Even if the germs have been in the organism for a long time, the affected person does not necessarily have to feel this. About thirty percent of the German population live with Helicobacter pylori. Possible complaints include a feeling of fullness and pressure in the upper abdomen, pain when fasting, which can also occur at night and improve through food, as well as heartburn, flatulence and frequent diarrhea. It is also suspected that this germ can lead to periodontitis and skin diseases.

If the human immune system is completely intact, Helicobacter pylori have no way of settling down. However, if the immune system is weakened by stress, fears and stressful situations, the germ can spread in peace. Even an unhealthy diet with a high proportion of denatured, low-vitamin food can provide the basis for the pathogen to spread. Helicobacter pylori is held responsible for stomach problems that can ultimately lead to gastritis, gastric ulcer and gastric carcinoma. Therefore, timely diagnosis is important. A special breath test works well here. Conventional medical therapy provides two different antibiotics and an acid blocker to eradicate the germ.

There are also remedies in naturopathy that can be used to eliminate the Helicobacter and against stomach problems. The myrrh is to be mentioned here, which is prescribed in tablet form in connection with chamomile in the presence of a Helicobacter colonization in naturopathy. Another remedy is healing earth, which is anti-inflammatory on the one hand, and on the other hand also has the ability to bind toxins in order to then naturally excrete them. In the Schüssler Salt Therapy, the three inflammatory salts, No. 3 Ferrum phosphoricum, No. 4 Kalium chloratum and No. 6 Kalium sulfuricum are the agents of choice for stomach problems caused by Helicobacter pylori. A chamomile roll cure, carried out several times a week at home, can help heal and eradicate the Helicobacter. In addition, this treatment can strengthen the immune system. The latter also applies to intestinal rehabilitation, autologous blood therapy and the taking of defense-enhancing medicinal plants.

Naturopathy for stomach problems

Naturopathy has many different treatment options for stomach problems. Phytotherapy (herbal medicine) with its medicinal plants, nutritional therapy and physical therapy are of great importance in the naturopathic treatment of various gastric problems.

In the naturopathic practice, the stomach and the psyche are always considered together. So stress, fears, grief and extraordinary strains have a not insignificant influence on the gastrointestinal tract. In naturopathy, the medical history always asks about psychological stress and the nature of the person concerned, such as "nervous, not resilient, sensitive", is also included in the treatment concept. Sayings like "it hits my stomach" or "I can't digest this" make it clear how body, soul and spirit are connected. This takes into account the holistic approach of naturopathic treatment.

If the person suffers from stomach pain after eating, the Schüssler Salt No. 3 Ferrum phosphoricum is used, if the focus is more on convulsive stomach problems, No. 7 Magnesium phosphoricum is the right remedy. In the case of acid regurgitation, No. 9 sodium phosphoricum is often administered. Appropriate nutrition is also part of the therapy for stomach problems. Basic foods and a wholesome diet are recommended. Strongly spiced foods, acid-forming spices, such as pepper or horseradish, sweets or large amounts of meat and sausage, but also milk, should be avoided. Eat a light diet, especially in the acute phase of inflammation.

Various types of tea, such as chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, gooseberry and licorice, are often integrated into naturopathic treatments for stomach problems. The therapist often creates an individual tea recipe, depending on the disease at hand. Especially with mixed recipes, the various components can support each other in their effects and thus contribute to the healing success. The chamomile, already used by the grandmothers, has an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic effect and protects the stomach lining. The licorice also has a protective character and, together with the chamomile, has an ulcer-protective effect.

In the case of gastric problems, physical therapies are also often used in naturopathic treatment. For example, a warm hay flower sack as a stomach pad or a warmed oil compress soaked with a suitable essential oil such as orange oil, chamomile oil or peppermint oil. Neural therapy also has its place in the naturopathic treatment of stomach problems. Wheals on the edge of the ribs, in the area of ​​the upper abdominal meridians, can be used to relieve pain. Regular foot reflexology massages aim to bring the whole organism into balance and, above all, to strengthen the digestive organs.

The naturopathic procedures also include the so-called order therapy, which takes care of a healthy and conscious lifestyle. This includes a regular waking and sleeping rhythm, a change of tension and relaxation, sufficient exercise in the fresh air, regular meals, and a healthy use of luxury foods. In today's stressful time, natural rhythms have almost become a foreign word. Air conditioning, rapid change of time zones when flying, constant overstimulation and massive stress often do not allow withdrawal and the necessary relaxation. In a conversation, those affected try to turn their gaze back towards nature. Relaxation methods such as autogenic training, yoga or respiratory therapy can certainly help to cure stomach problems.

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Swell:

  • Frank H. Netter: Netters Internal Medicine, Thieme Verlag, 2nd edition, 2013
  • Jürgen Stein, Till Wehrmann: Functional diagnostics in gastroenterology, Springer Verlag, 2nd edition 2006
  • Irmtraut Koop: Gastroenterologie compact, Thieme Verlag, 3rd edition, 2013
  • Parswa Ansari: Acute Abdominal Pain, MSD Manual, (accessed 04.10.2019), MSD
  • Helmut Messmann: Clinical Gastroenterology, Thieme Verlag, 1st edition, 2011
  • Guideline program oncology (German Cancer Society, German Cancer Aid, AWMF): S3 guideline gastric carcinoma, long version 2.01 (consultation version), 2019, AWMF registration number: 032 / 009OL, (accessed 04.10.2019), leitlinienprogramm-onkologie.de

ICD codes for this disease: K31ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.


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