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Stomach pain worsened by meals

In most patients with a condition known as functional dyspepsia, eating a meal aggravates the symptoms

Stomach pain worsened by meals

In most patients with a condition known as functional dyspepsia, eating a meal aggravates the symptoms, which include persistent upper abdominal pain, fullness, bloating, nausea and other symptoms. The condition is diagnosed after ruling out any apparent underlying cause or disease, such as gastrointestinal reflux disease or peptic ulcer. Researchers from Belgium studied 218 patients and the goal of the study was to assess the prevalence of meal-related symptoms and to examine the relationship between meal ingestion and specific symptoms. The symptoms studied included abdominal pain, fullness, bloating, nausea, burning, and belching. The subjects completed symptom questionnaires and were asked to rate the various symptoms while they were undergoing a gastric emptying breath test. It was found that the intensity of all of the symptoms increased 15 minutes after the meal and persisted for the full 4-hour study period. The peak severity of fullness and bloating occurred early, followed the peak severity of nausea and belching, and lastly by pain and burning. Overall, 79 percent of patients reported meal-aggravated symptoms. In these patients, excessive fullness after a meal was the strongest symptom, whereas in patients without meal-aggravated symptoms, upper abdominal pain was the most severe. Gastric hypersensitivity was more common in patients with meal-aggravated symptoms than in those without them: 27 percent vs. 8 percent. The above findings demonstrate that symptoms are meal-related in the vast majority of functional dyspepsia patients. The major distinction between patients with and without self-reported meal-related symptoms is the type of symptom that has the highest intensity.
Gut
November 2008
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