When Your Stomach Hurts But It’s Not Your Stomach – Consulting an Internal Medicine Doctor

Internal Medicine Doctor

If you’re experiencing stomach pain that isn’t related to digestion, it’s important to seek help from an internal medicine doctor. Learn why consulting an internal medicine doctor is essential for diagnosing and treating non-gastric stomach pain in this informative blog post. Find out what distinguishes internal medicine doctors from other healthcare professionals, and how they can help you get relief from your symptoms

Stomach Pain

Stomach pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, including indigestion, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and peptic ulcers. However, stomach pain could also be an indication of a heart problem. With the heart, the esophagus and stomach lying right next to each other, the pain from your heart could be easily misunderstood as an easily solved indigestion problem. In some cases, a stomach pain, accompanied by a heaviness in the chest could be a hormonal issue caused by overactive parathyroids. If you experience persistent or severe stomach pain, it is important to see an internist. An internist will be able to diagnose the cause of your pain and recommend the best course of treatment.

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Case Study: 

A patient in her early 30s who has been suffering from stomach pain, heaviness in her chest and joint and body came to see me. She was earlier diagnosed with gastritis by a GP. Although treated correctly according to this diagnosis, the stomach pains recurred and the other symptoms never stopped.

While the pain and discomfort was bearable, the slow recovery process was frustrating and disheartening, especially when neither a dosage increase nor a switch to a stronger medication helped alleviate her condition.

In addition to having her see a subspecialist to do a gastroscopy which can provide a deeper look at the stomach, she took a blood test to check for any abnormalities in her blood.

This test came back with a constellation of abnormalities in her blood test showing increased levels of calcium and proteins.

While these could be due to dehydration, an increase in the level of calcium (hypercalcemia) is concerning, as untreated hypercalcemia could lead to complications such as kidney failure.

A more serious cause of  hypercalcemia would be overproduction of hormones. Sure enough, a check on the hormone level came back showing high amounts of parathyroid hormone. This accounted for all symptoms- bone pain, stomach ache, and irregular heart beat. Once the underlying hyperparathyroidism is treated, this patient is likely to recover completely and permanently from the stomach pain. She can also expect to regain energy and vitality.

Did you know ?

Several conditions could lead to hypercalcemia; hyperparathyroidism is one of the most common causes. Others include genetic disorders, vitamin D toxicity, etc.

In Germany, people used to refer to hyperparathyroidism as the ‘Stones, Bones and Stomach Pain’ illness. It’s not hard to understand why when we look at some of the clinical manifestations of hypercalcemia.

Stones – people with hypercalcemia have a higher risk of getting kidney stones because of the excess calcium in their bodies.

Bones – hypercalcemia makes the bones release a high level of calcium; weakening the bones. This can lead to multiple bone related issues such as bone pains, osteoporosis, and even fractures.

Stomach pain – pain in the stomach caused by hypercalcemia could be caused by either an inflammation of pancreas gland, heartburn due to an increase in stomach acid or bloating and constipation.

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About Dr Adrian Mondry

Dr Adrian Mondry is a Hypertension Specialist accredited by the German Hypertension League in Singapore. He was previously a senior consultant in the department of medicine at the National University Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), Dr Mondry has more than 30 years of experience in the field of internal medicine.

Dr Adrian Mondry is recognised for his leadership and contributions in establishing the dedicated hypertension clinic within the National University Health System and fast-track deep vein thrombosis service at NTFGH.

Dr Adrian Mondry is fluent in English, German and French.

About Kaizen Medical

Kaizen Medical is located at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Suite 11-57.

At Kaizen, we provide in depth health care to patients with multi-organs diseases; tackling undifferentiated presentations that cannot be easily assigned to a single organ.

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