In India every other patient has “Gas” and majority of patients coming to a gastroenterology clinic complain of Gas. Majority of them also receive an acid suppressant from their doctor for “gas” as in medical parlance gas means acid peptic disease.
However many don’t get relief with it and patients get to doctor shopping or resort to Google doctor. This occurs because "gas" means a varied symptom to different patients.
The various symptoms which emerge on teasing out “gas” are :
5. Unable to burp/fart – “gas Lock”
7. Fleeting abdominal pain
While burping and heartburn may indicate an underlying acid peptic disease, others are because of varied causes unlikely to respond to acid suppressants.
Hence it is very essential for the patients to describe the symptoms to the doctor rather than use labels. This avoids unnecessary investigations and medications.
A detailed account of associated illness - diabeties mellitus, thyroid issues, and medicines being consumed will help the doctor make an appropriate diagnosis. While our age-old understanding of restrictive diets may help in the short run, they are only temporary solutions and addressing the root cause will cure you.
Unexplained weight loss/fatigue, significant loss of appetite (hunger), change in stools (frequency, consistency or blood in stools / black stools) should make one visit the doctor at the earliest.
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