Stomach And Oesophagus Diseases

Up to 40% of the UK population have indigestion symptoms from time to time, including heartburn, waterbrash, a bad taste in the mouth, burping, nausea, swallowing difficulties (as if something is stuck in the food pipe) or pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Up to 5% of all GP consultations are taken up by patients with these sorts of problems. Many people will have used antacids from the chemist or had prescription drugs from their GP such as a proton pump inhibitor, or an H2 blocker to help the symptoms. A number of patients have a test for Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria which can cause ulcers, or are referred to a Gastroenterologist for endoscopy of the stomach or Gastroscopy. This may show a disease such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD), an ulcer or it may be completely normal. The latter situation is known as non-ulcer dyspepsia or functional dyspepsia and may occur in patients with additional symptoms consistent with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Rarely is a cancer found and the risks increase with age, particularly over 55 years. When warning symptoms such as weight loss, anaemia, persistent vomiting, or pain which is waking the sufferer in the night occur, investigation is essential. The following information sheets give further detail on these conditions.

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