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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 both the abdomen and chest and recurs with meals is most often caused by a problem in the esophagus or stomach.

The most common condition that can result in your symptoms is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD, acid reflux), but several other diagnoses are possible. Depending upon the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend tests or may recommend that you proceed straight to try out anti-acid medicine, to see if this brings relief. For comprehensive information and advice about GERD, you may want to visit our Acid Reflux Treatment Guide.

If your doctor recommends testing, he or she may want to view the lining of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Tests that can show 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 a liquid named barium ("upper GI series").

The diagnoses that are most likely to cause abdominal pain similar to yours include

  • gallstones

  • gastritis

  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

  • indigestion (dyspepsia)

  • peptic ulcer disease.


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