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Organic Causes of Gastric Pain

Peptic ulcer disease is considered one of the main causes of gastric pain. In countries like Singapore where many people lead stressful and fast-paced lives, gastric pain can be considered quite common. But what is gastric pain exactly and what are some of its organic causes? Read on and find out.

The discomfort or pain that is felt in the abdomen’s upper portion is called gastric pain. The most common symptoms of gastric pain are bloating, nausea, heartburn, and belching. In some cases, gastric pain is called non ulcer dyspepsia. When a patient complains of gastric pain, doctors typically rule out the causes that are organic.

Most common organic causes of gastric pain: ulcers and inflammation. Other times, it can also be caused by cancer. If the tests conducted will come out normal and no organic causes are found, the condition will be considered non ulcer dyspepsia. Non ulcer dyspepsia, also known as functional dyspepsia, forms the majority of gastric pain.

Gastric Pain: Organic Causes


Liver, pancreatic, and stomach cancer are possible causes of abdominal pain. Endoscopy is used to rule out cancer. It is done by obtaining small tissue samples and checking for cancerous cells. In some instances, a barium meal X-ray examination may also be prescribed or recommended.

Gallstone Disease

Often, gallstones will not cause signs or symptoms. Gallbladder inflammation or bile duct blockage might also lead to severe abdominal pain. In some instances, gallstones will cause pain even if there is no bile duct blockage or inflammation of the gallbladder.  Ultrasound and CT scans can confirm the presence of gallstones.

GERD (Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease)

GERD occurs when stomach acid or the bill will flow back into the esophagus or food pipe and end up irritating the lining. Gastroscopy might be recommended in order to rule out this chronic condition. During a gastroscopy, a tube with a tiny camera is passed from the mouth to check the stomach, duodenum, and the esophagus.

Peptic Ulcer Disease (Dyspepsia)

Dyspepsia occurs when there is a defect in the duodenum wall or the  innermost layer of the stomach. The duodenum wall connects the small intestine to the stomach. Most cases of peptic ulcers can be attributed to H. pylori infection.

Other cases, they are also attributed to NSAIDs and other painkillers. A blood test is used to rule out Helicobacter pylori infection. Other tests like urea or stool tests might also be recommended.

When to See Your Doctor

If you experience gastric pain, it would be best that you visit your doctor immediately when you experience the following symptoms:

  • Severe and excruciating pain in the upper tummy
  • Persistent vomiting after eating
  • Passing out black stools (this often indicates the presence of blood)
  • Unexplained weight loss

Preventing Gastric Pain: Top Tips

If the pain is diagnosed as non-ulcer dyspepsia, simple changes in the lifestyle can help minimize the possibility of experiencing the gastric pain symptoms. Top tips to help prevent gastric pain include:

  • Managing stress better
  • Stop smoking
  • Moderating alcohol consumption
  • Consuming less acidic, fried, and fatty foods
  • Eating right on time
  • Eating smaller but frequent meals

Stress is considered one of the most common causes of non-ulcer dyspepsia. In similar cases, low doses of anxiety-relieving or antidepressants may be prescribed to alleviate the symptoms experienced by patients.

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