Tips to Prevent Gastric Pain
Gastric pain is not an uncommon complaint in Singapore, especially amongst those with stressful lifestyles and irregular meal times. It is important to note that while gastric pain is commonly used to describe pain in the upper abdomen, it is in fact a symptom of non-ulcer dyspepsia.
Understanding non-ulcer dyspepsia can help us better understand the causes of gastric pain and seek appropriate treatment. Non-ulcer dyspepsia is defined as gastric pain which does not have an organic cause, such as ulcers, inflammation, or cancer. It is also considered a form of functional dyspepsia.
Common symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia include heartburn, bloating, belching and nausea. However, these symptoms may also be caused by other issues such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Consult a doctor to understand the cause and determine an appropriate treatment plan.
Tips to Effectively Prevent Gastric Pain
Eat small but frequent meals.
One of the most important things you can do to manage your gastric pain is to eat smaller but more frequent meals. Eating five or six smaller meals throughout the day is easier on your digestive system than having three square meals.
This will also help your stomach to accustom itself to releasing its gastric juices only during mealtimes and not erratically. Another good habit to develop is to eat on time and avoid skipping meals.
Don’t skip meals.
Skipping meals can disrupt the regularity of your digestive system and can make you more susceptible to gastric pain.
Avoid eating irritating foods.
You should also try to consume less irritating foods. Cutting down on spicy, acidic, fried or fatty foods can help reduce gastric symptoms and allow your stomach to heal.
Drink alcohol moderately.
It’s also important to keep your alcohol consumption in moderation. While moderate alcohol consumption can actually help reduce the risk for some types of gastric pain, excessive amounts of alcohol can weaken your stomach’s protective lining.
If you smoke, you should consider quitting. Smoking increases the production of stomach acid, slows down healing and increases your risk of getting stomach cancer.
Manage stress properly.
Finally, it’s important to practice better stress management. High stress increases the production of gastric juices in your stomach, so do your best to practice good stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, or taking up a hobby.
When to Visit Your Doctor
If you experience any of the symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia – such as heartburn, bloating, belching and nausea – over a period of two weeks or more, it is important to seek medical advice. Your doctor may perform a physical examination, check for any underlying medical conditions and prescribe medications.
In some cases, further tests such as an upper endoscopy may be recommended. It is also important to make lifestyle modifications to reduce the occurrence of gastric pain. This may include avoiding large meals and eating multiple small meals throughout the day.
While gastric pain can be an uncomfortable experience, it is important to note that it is usually not a sign of a serious medical condition. However, if your symptoms persist, it is important to consult a doctor to determine the cause and the best treatment plan.