Abdominal pain is a general symptom and that will need further history, physical examination and possible investigations. Causes are wide ranging and include food intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, gallbladder disease and appendicitis.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a pattern of symptoms that exists for more that 6 months. It is a long term disorder that must be managed with an organized approach to diet, lifestyle, symptom control and emotional well-being.
Upper abdominal pain and bloating that can re-occur. The pain can sometimes be quite debilitating. After extensive investigations, no cause is found functional dyspepsia is the most common condition. Lifestyle changes can help reduce the severity and occurrence of this problematic condition.
The gallbladder usually does not cause problems but in some instances it may be diseased and cause discomfort after eating. Stones within the gallbladder in certain instances may lead to pain or jaundice but again are uncommon.
The pancreas is located in the upper abdomen and may be inflamed in certain situations resulting in severe pain. It can be involved in other disease conditions.
Gastric ulcers can occur from the use of certain pain relief medications such as aspirin. It can also occur in stress and related to a bacteria, H. pylori.
Reflux or GORD.
Reflux is a burning pain felt in the chest and is usually due to acid from the stomach, rising into the oesophagus.
Liver Test Abnormalities
The liver is a complex and vital organ. There are sensitive blood tests that are done routinely for medical checks and it is common to find elevated levels. These may be caused by viruses, the accumulation of fat or rare inherited disorders such as haemachromatosis. In illness associated with the liver, the symptoms of lethargy or jaundice is common.
Liver Disease & Hepatitis
Hepatitis or liver disease from hepatitis B or C virus. Confirmatory tests are easily organized by local doctors and there are recent advances in therapy.
Fatty Liver Disease
The accumulation of fat within the liver can lead to liver test abnormalities and in severe cases, cirrhosis. It is seen more commonly with the increasing rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus.
Bleeding in particular rectal bleeding. Ongoing bleeding can occur due to a range of medical conditions. Some of these are benign and respond to conservative management or treatment. Examples include haemorrhoids and anal fissures. Other conditions will need formal diagnosis and treatment.
Colon cancer detection and screening.
Stomach cancer screening. There are rare families that have an inherited risk of stomach cancer and some overseas groups are prone to gastric cancer.
Complex or large colonic polyp removal.
Certain polyps in the colon harbour the potential to be premalignant or precancerous. These need to be removed. Larger polyps will need specialized techniques and you may be referred for this procedure alone.
Haemorrhoids or Anal Fissures
These commonly present as perianal discomfort and bleeding.
Crohn’s Disease / Ulcerative Colitis
An uncommon chronic condition which causes inflammation of the intestines leading to pain, lethargy, weight loss and sometimes diarrhea. In mild cases this condition can be missed. It invariably will need treatment with medication to induce a remission and to prevent flare-ups.
This is an autoimmune condition where the body, and in particular it’s white cells target a certain molecule contained in wheat. This results in damage to the intestinal lining. It is a common condition occurring in up to 1 in 100 of the population.
Difficulty in swallowing that persists will need evaluation. There is a range of causes and their respective treatments.
These are common conditions that can cause symptoms but do not result in ill health.
Chronic constipation is a problematic issue and can affect different age groups. This may need basic evaluation and management.