Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Incredible abdominal pain



For a week, I've been experiencing stabbing-like pain in my abdomen. Along with frequent diarrhea (no blood), my stomach feels constantly bloated. I've been to a doctor whom diagnosed it as a stomach ulcer and proscribed me Nexium. I believe it is not a stomach ulcer as there is diarrhea present (Also Ive been on tecta for 2 months for GERD, so the nexium would obviously be useless)

What do you think this is? (stomach ulcer, stomach bug, bacterial infection etc..)

I was on antibiotics about a month ago due to bacterial infection (did not have the same amount of pain as i do now) that caused diarrhea, I threw away the meds after two days when my symptoms were dramatically better. Do you think this is relevant to my current problems?

Thank you in advance for your reply!


Thanks for the question. I would be grateful if you could provide me with a few more details. You mention a stabbing pain in your abdomen. Could you be more precise as to its location please? Also, can you let me know your age and what infection you had recently. Has your doctor done any investigations or just made a diagnosis of an ulcer on your history? Providing these details will help me give you are more precise answer.

Thanks very much.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The stabbing-like pain is right in the center of the stomach. It is at its extreme after meals for a couple hours or so. When i press down on it i also feel discomfort. I am 22 years old.

For the incident a month ago, the doctor gave me antibiotics for possible salmonella infection (due to something bad i ate), the symptoms dramatically decreased after a couple days so I stopped taking the meds, please note that I did not have the same amount of pain as i do now.

The doctor who diagnosed it an ulcer did based on complete speculation. I believe that he is wrong since ulcers do not accompany diarrhea

Thank you for your time

Ben, thanks for getting back to me. There are various possibilities here and I will go through these with you. First of all this could be IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a common bowel condition which is often described as functional as we have yet to find a definite pathological cause for this. It can often occur after a bowel infection, when it is called post infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome. You can read more about this on my web site, IBS Help Online.

The second possibility is a problem with your small bowel. The fact you get pain after eating can occur with ulcer disease, but I agree with you that diarrhea is unusual with ulcer disease. The fact that the pain is central, might indicate a small bowel disease such as Crohns disease or celiac disease. Crohns disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease and is characterised by inflamation and ulceration, often in the small bowel it can cause narrowings or strictures. These strictures can cause pain, nausea and vomiting after eating.

The third possibility is small bowel bacterial overgrowth. Antibiotics can sometimes upset the balance of bacteria in the small bowel. This can cause on going issues of diarrhea too.

You really need to have this investigated further so I would suggest asking your doctor about having your symptoms investigated further by a gastroenterologist.

Good luck


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Dr Peter Thatcher MBBS, MRCPI. IBS Physician & Gastroenterologist


I can answer questions on all aspects of IBS or the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Medicine and Gastroenterology. This would include aspects of diagnosis, investigation and management of IBS and other gastroenterology or medical conditions.


I am a Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist in the United Kingdom. I qualified as a physician in 1993 and have been practicing Medicine and Gastroenterology ever since. I regularly run gastroenterology clinics and 1:4 patients have IBS. I am also the web master of IBS Help Online, an Irritable Bowel Syndrome help site.

British Society of Gastroenterology Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, Cornwall. UK

Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Fully UK Trained Medical Degree at Kings College School of Medicine & Dentistry 1993 Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Examinations 1997

Awards and Honors
MBBS 1993 MRCPI 1997

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