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Epigastric Pain


Epigastric pain

is felt in the middle of the upper abdomen, between the ribs and the bellybutton. The pain may be mild or severe. Pain may spread from or to another part of your body. Epigastric pain may be a sign of a serious health problem that needs to be treated.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Inflammation of your stomach, liver, pancreas, or intestines
  • Heart problems, such as a heart attack
  • Digestion problems, such as indigestion, GERD, or lactose intolerance
  • Medical conditions, such as an ulcer, a hernia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or cancer
  • A blockage in your bowels or gallbladder
  • A bladder infection
  • An injury or previous surgery in your abdomen

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
    • You may also have any of the following:
      • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
      • Shortness of breath
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
  • You have severe pain that radiates to your jaw or back.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain that starts suddenly and quickly gets worse.
  • You cannot have a bowel movement and are vomiting.
  • You vomit or cough up blood.
  • You see blood in your urine or bowel movement.
  • You feel drowsy and your breathing is slower than usual.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
  • You vomit often or several times in a row.
  • You lose weight without trying.
  • You have symptoms for longer than 2 weeks.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for epigastric pain

will depend on what is causing your pain. You may be given medicine to treat pain or to stop vomiting. You may also need medicines to reduce or control stomach acid, or to treat an infection.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Keep a record of your symptoms. Include when the pain starts, how long it lasts, and if it is sharp or dull. Also include any foods you ate or activities you did before the pain started. Keep track of anything that helped the pain.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet. Certain foods may cause your pain, such as alcohol or foods that are high in fat. You may need to eat smaller meals and to eat more often than usual.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Do not have drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.