Imagine a clock face over your abdominal area and then ask yourself, “At what time is my pain? Where on this clock do I feel the most discomfort?” The answer can give your doctor important clues as to the cause of, and treatment for, your stomach pain. Here’s how it works:
Stomach Pain at the 12:00 Position
Most common diagnosis: Heartburn At the 12:00 position, your esophagus meets the stomach. When the muscle connecting the 2 relaxes at the wrong time it can allow stomach acid to back up, causing the searing pain known as heartburn.
What you can do: Take OTC antacids neutralize the acid. If after a week, you’re still experiencing heartburn 2 times or more a week, it’s time to see your doctor. When left untreated, chronic heartburn can cause esophageal damage, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and put you at risk for esophageal cancer.
Stomach Pain at the 4:00 Position
Most common diagnosis: Constipation If you’re feeling full and bloated with dull, uncomfortable pain that can be felt in the 2-5:00 area, you’re likely feeling constipated. Between the hours of 2 and 5:00 on the abdominal clock is the location of your descending colon, where the final leg of bowel movements takes place. At this point, stool can become hard and dry – getting stuck in the turns of the descending colon.