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What different stomach and chest pains mean

MagazineSeptember 1998 (Vol. 9 Issue 6)What different stomach and chest pains mean

The abdomen contains so many different organs that isolating stomach discomfort can be difficult

The abdomen contains so many different organs that isolating stomach discomfort can be difficult. A helpful guide, especially when you are talking to your doctor, is to pinpoint the pain in terms of quadrants or sections. If your pain is:

Anywhere in the chest, behind the breast bone or in the throat, it could be simple indigestion, cramp caused by shallow breathing, hiatal hernia, heartburn or reflex oesophagitis.Inflammation and pain around the breastbone and upper abdomen, it could be a viral infection, which can cause inflammation and pain in a condition known as Bornholm disease. Like other viral infections, it will clear up with rest, relaxation, plenty of fluid, nourishing soups, extra vitamin C and so on.

In the chest, it should be taken seriously as it could be angina or the early signs of a heart attack especially if accompanied by pain in the arms.

Behind the shoulder blades, it could mean gall bladder trouble. If it strikes the upper right quadrant, consider gastroenteritis, gastritis, gallstones, ulcer or hiatus hernia.

In the upper left or lower left quadrant, it may be diverticular disease, constipation, ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome. The pain of hiatal hernia may also radiate to the lower left or right side under the ribcage.

In the lower right area of the abdomen, sharp pain could mean appendicitis whilst groaning discomfort could be Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

In the lower back or lower abdomen, it may indicate kidney problems, cystitis, diverticulis, pelvic inflammatory disease or period pains.

The pressure of trapped wind, it can be excruciating and deceiving. Not only does the discomfort move around, it can also be an amazing mimic, aping the pain of gallstones, appendicitis and a heart attack all within the space of an hour or two.

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