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Recurring Abdominal Pain

Because of your young age, your symptoms are not likely to be coming from your heart. Pain like yours that involves the upper abdomen and is provoked by exercise can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux. This problem, caused by splashing of acid into the esophagus, can result when fluid shifts in the stomach during exercise. Your doctor might first recommend a trial of anti-acid medicine, because if you improve this can help diagnose gastroesophageal reflux. If your symptoms are mild, you may choose to begin this yourself by using an over-the-counter anti-acid medicine.

However, abdominal symptoms with exercise may also be caused by a problem unrelated to digestion.

It will be appropriate for your doctor to include an examination of your back, legs and feet in your evaluation, because several spine problems can result in pain with exercise. Your doctor may also want to view the lining of your esophagus and stomach as a part of your evaluation. Tests that can identify irritation or injury in these structures include esophagogastroduodenoscopy ("EGD" or "endoscopy," in which you swallow a small camera on a flexible tube) or a series of x-rays after you swallow barium ("barium swallow" or "upper GI series").

In addition to gastroesophageal reflux, your symptoms could be explained by

  • abdominal (ventral) hernia

  • umbilical hernia,¬† including¬†inguinal hernia (hernia in the groin)

  • muscle strain

  • vertebral disk disease (bulging or ruptured disk)

  • vertebral fracture.


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