Medical Q&As

Abdominal pain - explain what's wrong with me?

I have had awful abdominal pain for 3 years. The feeling is like hunger pain. At first I was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) but the medicine for that had no effect at all. So I had a gastroscopy done a month ago and the doctor said I had inflammation of the gullet plus slow digestion and prescribed Nexium for me. Can you elaborate more on what's wrong with me because the doctor didn't have time to explain and even though I've been taking my medicine for about 3 weeks I don't feel any better.

It sounds as if you have a condition known as reflux oesophagitis, which means that acid from your stomach is flowing back into the lower end of your gullet or oesophagus. The oesophagus does not have a protective lining to protect it from the irritant effects of the gastric acid and consequently the gullet becomes inflamed from coming in contact with the acid. Nexium belongs to a class of drugs known as PPIs (proton pump inhibitor), which means it blocks the effects of the proton or acid pumps in the stomach. These tiny microscopic pumps produce the acid that assists in the digestion of our food. By switching off some of these pumps the volume of acid being secreted is reduced, which in turn allows the inflammation in the gullet to subside. Sometimes reflux can cause tiny erosions in the oesophagus and it can take up to 8 weeks for such erosions to heal. Therefore I would advise that you continue with your medication and check back with your doctor over the coming weeks to discuss your progress.