| | Does this sound like an ulcer, or something else?
Hi everyone. This is my first post here, I hope to find some useful information from the knowledgeable people here.
24/male/non-smoker/non-drinker. I've had GI issues before but nothing this prolonged and nothing that couldn't be totally eradicated by medication. It all started around October 20, when I started having light nausea after eating, feelings of "warmth" in my abdominal area, taste of bile in the back of my throat, regurgitated food being retained in my esophagus creating a "lump" sensation, and sort of a burning stitch sensation that alternated between my lower left and lower right ribs. Thinking that this was just a particularly bad case of reflux I started taking Prilosec OTC and Zantac 75mg twice a day.
After a few days, every symptom was under control except for the "burning stitch" sensation under my lower ribs. Usually my antacid meds have symptoms permanently under control after a few days, but this sensation has continued to persist in spite of the medication. I noticed that sometimes I could get it to go away by eating a big meal, and that worked for a while but now it's no guarantee as to whether or not eating something will dissipate the "stitch". I ended up getting a doctor's appointment on November 7, at which point I asked the doctor if he thought I had an ulcer since this particular symptom was so persistent. He gave me a non-committal answer after tapping on my abdomen for a few seconds, prescribed me ranitidine (which I was already taking), and told me to come back in a month if symptoms persisted. Looking back, I should have probably been more forceful and asked for an h.pylori test at least.
But as of today (November 12), I'm still having the "burning stitch" sensation, albeit slightly less frequently for the past couple of days. The only new symptom I've had since then, which only lasted for a day, was light yellow stool, but I believe that was due to my doctor doubling my ranitidine dose from 75 to 150mg and I've since switched back to the lower dose. I've also had the "lump of food in my throat" sensation again for the past couple of days, but I think I attribute that to an unrelated anxiety issue as the last time I experienced this I had been dealing with some unrelated stuff. Still, considering that this just won't go away, I'm considering seeking more tests because of how persistent this is. I suppose that these are my main questions in consideration of my experience:
- does this sound like an ulcer? From my research online, this seems like the most likely culprit for a "burning" or "stitch" sensation that won't go away for weeks.
- if so, should I go back to the doctor for more tests? Since it appears that h.pylori causes most ulcers, I don't know if this will go away without the antibiotic to kill the organism.
- I've read that ulcers heal 4-8 weeks after treatment. Does this also mean that the symptoms persist for that length of time, or are they supposed to go away sooner after treatment begins? I ask because, considering that I've been taking acid reducers for three weeks and my symptoms aren't eliminated, I don't know if this would indicate that this is perhaps a more serious GI issue.
- if I seek tests from my doctor, how much should I expect them to cost? I'm unemployed and uninsured and I probably can't afford much unless I can get a hospital to negotiate prices down due to my circumstances.
I've never had vomiting, blood in my stool, or feelings of premature fullness. I haven't had much appetite for the past couple of days but I attribute this to anxiety. The "stitch" sensation is the only truly persistent symptom I've had through all of this, but considering how long I've had it, I just want to know exactly what's going on so I can treat it properly.
I'm really sorry that this post is so long, and so I thank anyone here who read it all and can offer a response. You have my greatest appreciation.