Dyspepsia is a common problem, and the term includes a group of symptoms that come from a problem in your upper gut (the stomach, esophagus or duodenum). The main symptom is usually pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. In addition, other symptoms that may develop include bloating, belching, feeling full quickly during a meal, nausea or vomiting.
Symptoms tent to occur in bouts which come and go, rather than being present all the time. An important cause of dyspepsia is peptic ulcer disease. Dyspepsia symptoms can have other causes like, non-ulcer dyspepsia, gastritis, GERD, gallstones, infection with H. pylori – and is best to make an appointment with your doctor for further investigation. Peptic ulcer includes both gastric and duodenal ulcers.
The most common causes of peptic ulcer disease are Helicobacter pylori infection and use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Although your doctor may suspect an ulcer on the basis of what you tell him about your symptoms, the diagnosis cannot be confirmed without tests.
Many patients with an ulcer have no symptoms at all and only know about it when they develop a complication such as bleeding from the ulcer. This can result in vomiting up coffee coloured blood or passing stools which are entirely black in colour. The most accurate way of confirming a peptic ulcer is by gastroscopy.
Whatever symptoms you are experiencing, Dr Papageorgiou will determine the appropriate tests and course of action to be taken for each individual case.