What Is the Stomach, and What Does It Do?
Your stomach is the organ that is in between your esophagus and small intestine. It plays the vital role of helping your body to break down and digest proteins. Your stomach has three jobs to do. They are:
- Store the food that’s been swallowed
- Mix food with stomach acid
- Send the acid and food mixture to the small intestine
When your stomach is unable to perform one of these three tasks normally, you may experience pain, nausea, and heartburn. Our primary care physicians can play a central role in the early detection and management of stomach disorders.
Should I Visit a Doctor?
Everyone gets an upset stomach at one time or another. Indigestion and heartburn are common maladies. Some of these are addressed by simply changing your diet or slowing down when you chew. You should visit a doctor for your stomach disorders if the following are true:
- There is blood in your bowel movements
- You are experiencing extreme abdominal pain
- Heartburn will not go away with antacids
- You are losing weight unintentionally
- You are vomiting or have diarrhea
Common Stomach Conditions
The stomach can have different conditions or diseases that lead to pain, discomfort, or difficulty digesting food. A common stomach problem is dyspepsia. This is an umbrella term that is used to describe multiple symptoms of an upset stomach, including:
- Belly pain
- Loss of appetite
Another common condition is heartburn. This is said to affect around one quarter of the population on an annual basis. Heartburn may be caused by GERD, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. This happens when there’s so much acid in your stomach that it gets refluxed into the esophagus.
Stomach ulcers are fractures in the lining of the stomach caused by eating certain types of food and having excessive amounts of acid in your stomach. Ulcers are painful and can affect the quality of your life. Our primary care physicians realize that they play an important role in protecting your stomach health.
If stomach disorders are affecting the quality of your life, now is the time for you to take steps to do something about it. Contact us today. Let our primary care physicians work with you to identify the reason for your stomach disorder as well as help you find the relief you deserve.