Stomach Pain from Hepatitis C

By now, you have probably learned that hepatitis C is usually treated by a gastroenterologist. That is because your liver is part of your gastrointestinal system. It regulates the way your food is absorbed by your body. Stomach pain from hepatitis C can arise, either as a symptom of the virus, or from associated liver disease.

Symptoms of stomach pain from hepatitis C

Maybe you have one or more of the symptoms listed here:

Ulcers

Stomach pain from hepatitis C can come in the form of ulcers. They may be caused by an acid condition, allergies, or from a bacteria. Sometimes your body makes too much acid. This can be the result of stress, or from a bacteria in your stomach. Your doctor can do tests to find out for sure. Treatment may include an acid reducer and dietary changes.

Allergies

The treatment for stomach pains may be a change in your diet. If your doctor recommends it, consider trying an elimination diet- cut out certain foods for about 10 days (such as dairy or gluten) and see if you feel better. I recommend cutting out 1 food at a time to narrow down the one that is causing trouble.

Varices

These are swollen blood vessels that produce an aneurysm in your stomach or esophagus. Food can get caught on them as it goes down toward your stomach, creating heartburn or acid reflux. They are usually treated with acid reducers, beta blockers, and a soft diet.

High fiber

One of the things you may notice when eating a higher fiber diet is increased bloating. High fiber foods absorb a lot of water in your intestines. They move more quickly through your system and can caused slight pressure. It is harmless. If you have discomfort, drink more water.

Diagnosing stomach pain from hepatitis C

Diagnosis is done with blood work, an endoscope, colonoscopy, CAT scan, or MRI. Be sure and tell your doctor about all of your symptoms. Let them know what you are doing at home to help to prevent and treat stomach pain. Follow your doctor’s advice regarding diet, testing, and medication.

Stress causing stomach pain

When I have a stomach ache, it makes me feel kind of sad. I think that is because stress can bring on a stomach ache. I relate stomach pain to stress. When I am stressed, my stomach aches and produces more acid, which causes more pain. Then my acid production increases, and I get stuck in a rut.

Taking slow, calming breaths can help. I find that chewing on an antacid can bring immediate relief also. Choosing food carefully and chewing thoroughly is also helpful, since gobbling food down without chewing makes it harder for our stomach to digest. The food will sit in your stomach and wait for enzymes to “chew” your food. Help it out by eating slowly.

Stomach pain from hepatitis C can arise in many (uncomfortable) forms and for many reasons. Some can be severe and others may be mild. Your doctor can do tests to determine the cause, and hopefully, a treatment will be prescribed to bring you some relief.

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