You have probably learned by now 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. This means that there can be stomach trouble with hepatitis C that is a symptom or side effect of the virus or from associated liver disease.
Maybe you have one or more of the symptoms listed here:
- Feeling of fullness or bloating
- Painful gas
Ulcers – These sores in your stomach can be quite painful. 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 problems may be a change in your diet. Using the elimination diet, cut out certain foods for about 10 days. See if you feel better after reducing dairy, or cutting out gluten. Stop eating 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 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.
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 troubles. Follow your doctor’s advice regarding diet, testing, and medication.
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. That causes more pain. Then my acid production increases. I get stuck in a rut.
Taking slow, calming breaths can help. Chewing on an antacid can bring immediate relief also. Choosing food carefully and chewing thoroughly is also helpful. 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.
There are many reasons for stomach issues when you have hepatitis C. Some can be severe and others may be mild. Your doctor can do tests to determine the cause. Then a treatment will be prescribed to bring you some relief.