South African Family Practice

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Gastric pain

Natalie Schellack, Gustav Schellack, Nicolene van der Sandt, Bongiwe Masuku


Gastric pain may be generalised, diffused, specific to the right or left upper quadrant (or both), and may be attributed to a range of possible causes. Types of gastric pain include dyspepsia and epigastric pain. The term “gastric pain” is not frequently encountered in the literature. Therefore, the main focus of this review is on epigastric pain and dyspepsia, both of which are frequently encountered in the clinical setting. For example, it is estimated that dyspepsia affects a quarter of the global population. Several drugs and drug classes are also linked to a range of mechanisms through which the drugs induce mucosal injury in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, this article provides an overview of the aetiology, classification, risk factors, diagnostic criteria and management strategies aimed at gastric pain, and its two more distinct gastrointestinal-related manifestations, namely epigastric pain and dyspepsia.

Keywords: gastric pain, epigastric pain, dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease (PUD), GORD, proton-pump inhibitors

AJOL African Journals Online