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Pain at top of stomach

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Hi, for a few months now I have been experiencing a dull strong pain right at the top of my stomach under my ribcage! My stomach becomes very bloated and I experience sharp stabbing pains around my abdominal area, round my ribcage and round to my lower back. This happens mainly after I have eaten a meal and almost feels like some sort of trapped wind. I have tried taking indegestion tablets and wind ease tablets but these do not seem to help that much and may temporarily take the edge off the pain. It has kept me awake quite a few nights with chronic pain and discomfort. O have tried to eliminate certain foods bit that is proving hard, I eat quite healthily and do some light exercise 3 to 4 times a week.

Can you please help,


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replied February 15th, 2010
Abdominal Pain Answer A10009
Hi and welcome to the forum! I am glad that I can help you.

You would like to know the cause of the pain that you experience right at the top of your stomach under the ribcage and how you can treat it.

Pain located in the middle upper part of the abdomen right under the sternum may be due to hernia, acid reflux or gastritis. Hiatal hernia is a condition when part of the stomach is lifted up through the diaphragm. This condition is often accompanied with acid reflux. Gastritis is characterized with inflammation of the stomach lining due to infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. The pain is described as burning and increases when consuming acidic foods. Individuals experience pain due to distension of the stomach from the gas collection due to ingestion of air while talking, drinking or eating, or consuming carbonated drinks. The pain subsides when releasing the air collection by burping. Painkillers, especially those from the NSAID group increase the acidity in the stomach and may cause worsening of the underlying gastritis leading to ulcers.

Given the data that you described you may be experiencing pain due to gas collection in your stomach. Try to eat slowly to avoid swallowing air. Avoid consumption of carbonated drinks. Avoid eating a few hours before going to bed in case you experience a slight hernia. If you notice that the pain is related to consuming acidic food you may consider having tests for Helicobacter pylori to rule out gastritis.

Please keep in mind that I provide medical information only. I am not able to diagnose medical conditions online. Please contact your doctor for further advice and information about diagnosis and treatment options of your current condition.


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