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Epigastric Pain, Ambulatory Care

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

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Heart attack symptoms:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns
    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
    • Trouble breathing
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing
  • Severe pain that radiates to your jaw or back
  • Severe pain that starts suddenly and quickly gets worse
  • No ability to have a bowel movement, with vomiting
  • Vomiting or coughing up blood
  • Blood in your urine or bowel movement
  • Feeling drowsy and slower than usual breathing

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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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