3 March: Q&A with Dr Mark Denyer

Every morning when I wake up I have an urge to be sick. When I vomit I bring up mucus and green bile and not any food particles This has been happening for about the past six months and I’m not too sure what is causing it. My GP thinks it is related to too much acid production in my stomach and a weak lining of the stomach. I am a 38-year-old male and my diet is pretty good. I don’t drink or smoke and I lead a healthy lifestyle. I do have a stressful job and wondering if the symptoms are brought on by stress. I have been told that my stomach could be producing too much acid or could it be an ulcer of some sort? Please help.

Dr Mark Denyer, Consultant Gastroenterologist:

The commonest causes of morning sickness are pregnancy, heavy alcohol intake and gastro-oesophageal reflux or GORD.

Assuming that you are not drinking heavily, GORD is far and away the most likely cause of your symptoms.

GORD is a very common condition nowadays in which acid passes from the stomach into the gullet, often because the valve between the two has become weakened. Stress can aggravate GORD by raising the levels of stomach acid. Treatment of GORD nowadays is usually very effective and consists of taking a tablet to reduce acid levels.

It is unlikely that you have peptic ulcer (unless you have been taking large quantities of anti-inflammatory drugs e.g Ibuprofen). At your age the only test you need to exclude this is one to check whether or not you have the bacteria in your stomach which can cause ulcers. These are known as Helicobacter pylori and can be tested for with a stool sample which your GP can arrange. If you do have the bacteria, then a one week course of what is called triple therapy can get rid of them in most cases. It is sensible to have a repeat stool test a month after treatment to check the bacteria have gone.

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Dr Mark Denyer

Dr Mark Denyer, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Spire Leeds, private hospital, Roundhay, West Yorkshire

Dr Mark Denyer, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Spire Leeds Hospital

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