Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen (indigestion or dyspepsia) or behind the chest (reflux) are common problems. There are several causes including gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, where acidic stomach contents go back up into the gullet causing irritation and inflammation this is more common if you have a hiatus hernia ( a weakness at the junction between the stomach and food pipe). Peptic ulcers in the stomach or just beyond in the duodenum may also cause indigestion.
People with these symptoms sometimes worry they have stomach cancer. Fortunately, this is unusual and easily excluded by endoscopy where the upper part of the gut is viewed with a flexible telescope called an endoscopy. This test helps to diagnose acid reflux or oesophagitis, hiatus hernia, peptic ulcer disease, Barrett’s oesphagus and less common conditions including stomach cancer. It is important to seek prompt assessment if you unintentionally lose weight, have problems swallowing, develop unexplained anaemia, bring up blood or pass sticky black stools.