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Gastralgia

It is defined as a severe boring, painful contraction in the epigastric region, that extends from the xiphoid cartilage and radiates to the back. Syncope and signs of collapse may accompany it. It may occur due to affections of the pneumogastric nerve. It is also known as gasrtodynia.

Etiology:
This is associated with hysteria and neurasthenia. Mental over-exertion, wasting discharges, excessive indulgence in alcohol, tea, coffee, tobacco and sexual excesses favor its development. Peritoneal adhesions between the stomach, pancreas, liver or spleen have also been known to be the exciting cause.

Pathology:
Most diverse pathological processes may be the cause of gastralgia. It is dependent upon an accumulation of food in the stomach, the result of a lack of gastric juice, and to spasmodic contractions of the esophagus, the result of hyperacidity of the contents, chronic alcoholism and gastritis.

Symptoms:
It is characterized by severe, agonizing pain in the upper abdomen. This appears while the stomach is empty, after a meal, and especially if articles of diet or drink have been taken that are not well borne, even in a condition of health. It may be aggravated by a psychic condition, or in women during the menstrual period. The pain appears more or less suddenly. The skin becomes pale, covered with cold, clammy sweat, and syncope and sometimes-clonic muscular contractions may occur. The pulse is feeble; the patient moans, bends forward and presses upon the abdomen. There may be but one attack, but more frequently they are recurrent and may persist for months.

Diagnosis:
This is based upon the location and the character of the pain. The pain is usually better by pressure, and full stomach. It is associated with irregular and capricious appetite, not attended with hematemesis. There is too much belching in gastralgia. Gastlralgia must be differentiated from gastric ulcers and carcinoma.

Treatment:
There is possibly no affection that demands a more thorough investigation before undertaking its treatment intelligently than does gastralgia. The mental condition should be investigated and derange an unstable nervous system should be removed. During the attack, hot applications should be applied to the abdomen. If any dietary product that causes aggravation in condition then it should be avoided. If it is worse when the stomach is empty, small and frequent meals should be given. The stomach should be given absolute rest for two or three days. Tea, coffee, alcoholic stimulants and tobacco should be avoided. Highly nutritious and easily digested food should be given to the patient. Cases of gastralgia can be treated with homoeopathic medicines. The medicine must be selected after analyzing the whole case and individualization.

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