A good friend has a problem that started about 15 months ago. He's 54 and it started around the time of his 53rd birthday. He is a little overweight but not massively so and is generally healthy. Blood pressure okay, cholesterol a little high but in normal range. Nonsmoker and rarely drinks. Doesn't drink coffee (but gets caffeine from diet cola).
He has been having occasional attacks of abdominal pain that seem to occur about every 4-6 weeks. The main symptom has been gas in his upper abdomen (with pain from the pressure). If he can belch, it helps, but he can't belch enough or fast enough to relieve it. The first time it happened, Gas-X brought fast relief, but it hasn't worked in subsequent attacks. Typical onset is in the evening and it usually resolves by early morning. He thinks walking around for a while helps. Sometimes it's accompanied by heartburn--he gets occasional heartburn but it doesn't seem to be a big problem. (He's tried Pepsid during these attacks but doesn't think it really makes a difference.) The attacks don't seem to be linked to a specific type of food. He does drink a lot of diet cola (a decades-long habit), but is skeptical it's a factor here because it is such an old habit and these attacks happen only occasionally. No diarrhea or constipation. Appetite seems unaffected. He just had an attack that began last night--gas and stomach cramps, and he vomited a little (with no relief)--but the attack has lasted into this morning.
He's going to see his family doc, but he's mentioned these attacks to his doc in the past so I don't know if the doc will be able to shed light on what's going on.) My friend is pretty miserable, so any help would be truly appreciated!