Burning sensation in Stomach

It is well known that the stomach is a part of the digestive system and is located below the rib cage, towards the top left side of the abdominal cavity. Its main function is to breakdown food, and then digest it with the help of varied acids, enzymes, and other juices produced by the glands present on the organ’s walls.

It is possible for the inner lining of the stomach to get damaged due to varied causes. When such damaged sections get exposed to the action of digestive juices, then affected people may experience burning sensation in stomach. Such abnormal sensations are usually restricted to the upper area of the abdomen.

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Causes of Burning Sensation in Stomach

Burning sensation in stomach may be caused due to varied reasons. A few prevalent causes and the accompanying signs and symptoms are discussed below:

1. Allergic Reaction to Certain Foods:

  • When burning sensation in stomach occurs immediately after a meal, then it is an indication of some underlying food allergy. The stomach detects the presence of an allergen food, experiences discomfort, and subsequently reacts to it, which is what results in the burning sensation.
  • Intake of adulterated or contaminated food can also cause burning sensation in stomach. In this instance, the sensation is the first symptom of food poisoning.
  • In both cases, patients may suffer from additional symptoms like fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.

2. Gastritis

  • Gastritis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the stomach wall. It is one of the most widespread causes of burning sensation in stomach. Associated symptoms include nausea, abdominal swelling, and painful cramps. The stomach tends to easily feel full, resulting in decreased appetite.
    • Long-term use of certain drugs like anti-inflammatory medications for pain alleviation can damage the protective lining of the stomach and induce a case of gastritis.
    • Substance or alcohol abuse as well as smoking can aggravate gastritis in patients, thereby increasing the intensity of burning sensation in stomach.
    • Elevated levels of metal or emotional stress can also cause gastritis. Burning sensation in stomach can also arise due to elevated physical stress caused by abdominal injury or a major surgery, etc.

3. Bacterial Infections

  • Humans come into contact with the H. pylori bacteria during childhood and the pathogen tends to remain in the stomach, usually without causing any harm. It is possible for the bacteria to be present in the stomach for the lifetime of the affected person.
  • Occasionally, under favorable conditions, the bacteria multiply and grow rapidly. It then attacks the stomach wall and damages it, eventually causing burning sensation in stomach.

4. Nonulcer Dyspepsia

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  • Nonulcer dyspepsia is a mild condition triggered by indigestion. People may suffer from indigestion due to excess stress or due to presence of undigested spicy or fatty foods in the stomach.
  • In addition to burning sensation in stomach, affected people may suffer from inflammation and pain. Stomach ulcers are usually not present.

5. Stomach Flu or Gastroenteritis

  • The condition is caused due to viral infection of the intestines. Burning sensation in stomach is one of the main symptoms of stomach flu.

6. Stomach/Peptic ulcers

  • Stomach ulcers are open sores that form on its wall. They may develop due to varied causes.
  • Exposure of the ulcers to the digestive juices can result in burning sensation in stomach as well as pain. The stomach usually empties during the night; hence, the associated symptoms worsen during nighttime.

7. Underlying Medical Disorders

  • People suffering from gallbladder disease, Crohn’s disease, and pernicious anemia, etc. may also experience burning sensation in stomach as one of the symptoms.

8. Chemotherapy and/or Radiation Therapy

  • Patients of cancer and other diseases may suffer from burning sensation in stomach after undergoing a session of radiation or chemotherapy as treatment for the underlying condition.

Treatment of burning sensation in stomach

Doctors first diagnose the underlying cause of burning sensation in stomach before prescribing treatment with medications, lifestyle changes, and other set treatment procedures.

  • Antacids are prescribed to decrease the stomach acid content and also lower its production. If these drugs do not help resolve burning sensation in stomach, then acid blockers are prescribed.
  • The health care provider may also prescribe drugs to protect the inner tissues of the stomach wall.
  • H. pylori infection is treated with antibiotics. Physicians may sometimes recommend antibiotic therapy in combination with intake of proton pump inhibitors. Treatment usually continues for several months, until all the bacteria are fully destroyed.
  • Patients who were using pain killers may be advised to go for a lower dosage, so as to restrict the overall damage to the delicate stomach lining. Alternatively, doctors may prescribe a different brand of pain medications.

Burning sensation in stomach can also be controlled and eased by following the below listed self-care guidelines:

  • Daily exercising and intake of small healthy meals, 4 to 5 times daily, can aid proper digestion.
  • Quit smoking. Limit or completely abstain from alcohol consumption.
  • Drinking coconut water, banana and watermelon juices, and/or a warm cup of chamomile tea, thyme tea, or ginger tea can help find relief from burning sensation in stomach.
  • Relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, etc. can help reduce stress.
  • Gas buildup can be eased with abdominal massages.
  • Honey alleviates ulcer and acidity problems, while buttermilk aids better digestion.
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