24 year old college student with Stomach ache

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Ms. XX is a 24-year-old college student who came to seek care at her doctor’s office as she was suffering from significant stomach ache. Everything was fine until she went to a cruise with her friends to Bahamas. She thoroughly enjoyed the cruise with delicious food, entertainment, excursions, and fair share of alcohol.



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She started hurting her stomach the day before she came back from the cruise. She tried some antacids that her friend had but did not help. Her pain got worse, as a result she reached out to her doctor. She complained of pain in the upper part of the abdomen. She described it as a burning pain with some acid reflux. She didn’t have any appetite and felt a little nauseous. After thorough evaluation, she was diagnosed with acute gastritis with GERD triggered by alcohol and certain food types. She was put on pantoprazole (proton pump inhibitor or PPI) to help her symptoms and was advised to stay away from alcohol, fried, spicy, greasy, citrus food.


PPI suppresses secretion of stomach acid from so called proton pumps which are located in the inner lining of the stomach, which in turn helps in the healing process. The best time is to take it first thing in the morning before eating anything. She was seen in the clinic for follow up after couple of months and felt significantly better. She became more conscious about her food intake and alcohol consumption. If she didn’t respond to PPI, the next step would have been to further evaluate her with an endoscopy and check for H pylori infection in the stomach.


PPI medications work great for short term use. However, long term use may cause some side effects such as complicated infections, vitamin deficiencies, weakening of bones, kidney damage etc. If you end up needing PPI for long term, discuss with your doctor if there are any safer alternatives.


Note: Inspired from true patient encounters from clinical practice for educational purpose only. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or re-distributed. This material is informational and does not provide any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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