When In Doubt About Your Abdominal Symptoms Physicians Say Its Best To Call Your Doctor Or Head To The Er
The egg salad didnt taste quite right, but you were hungry. Or maybe your craving for cheesecake overrode the punishment you knew your lactose intolerance would inflict. You expect stomach distress in situations like these, but other times, abdominal pain can come out of nowhere. Sometimes its severe enough or lasts for so long that you know its not simply a matter of eating something that didnt agree with you.
Digestive system issues account for 51 million visits to doctors offices and emergency departments yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The severity of the pain, its location within your abdominal area, and accompanying symptoms may provide clues to the origin of the pain and whether or not you should seek help immediately. Here are some of the most common signs your tummy troubles need more than an over-the-counter remedy.
Colon Cancer Can Cause Abdominal Pain But Does It Always
When I say pain, I dont mean cramps.
Theres a difference between abdominal pain and abdominal cramps. Abdominal pain can result from colon cancer.
But have you wondered, however, if in every case of colon cancer thats gone untreated long enough to produce symptoms, if abdominal pain is always one of the resulting symptoms?
Remember, for polyps and early cancers, the hallmark symptom is the absence of symptoms this is why getting screened at age recommendations while asymptomatic is so important, explains gastroenterologist Whitney Jones, MD, a national expert and frequent speaker on early-age onset colon cancer prevention, and Founder, Colon Cancer Prevention Project.
She Learns New Things
Learning new things forces you to make new synapses in the brain, enhancing your cognitive reserve, Tanzi says.
Things like learning a new musical instrument, gardening, crocheting, or learning to dance, are all activities that can help keep patients in the present and active.
“You want to stop the brain from being in its default mode,” Tanzi says.
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Stomach Pain And Nausea In The Morning
First, a doctor will take a full medical history. This includes asking you about:
- what, if anything, makes symptoms better or worse
- when symptoms are at their worst
Theyll also do a physical exam, focusing on your abdominal area.
A medical history and physical exam are often enough to diagnose the cause of stomach pain and nausea. But if a doctor still isnt sure whats causing your symptoms, or they want confirmation, they might order one of the following tests:
Which tests they order will depend on your other symptoms.
Different causes of stomach pain and nausea will require different treatments. However, there are some treatments that can be used for multiple underlying conditions of these symptoms. In addition, some conditions may have multiple treatments, depending on their severity.
Some of the most common treatments include:
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Persistent Nausea Or Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are also common symptoms of stomach cancer. While many other conditions cause nausea or vomiting, the persistence of symptoms is generally a sign of a more serious medical condition.
If symptoms are ongoing or you vomit bloodeven if just a tiny amountmake an appointment to see your healthcare provider immediately. Bloody vomit, also known as hematemesis, may be a sign of cancer or a noncancerous condition, including:
Bleeding from the stomach can also give vomit a coffee ground-like appearance. This kind of bleeding is more typical when stomach cancer is advanced. However, it can also result from conditions affecting the esophagus or other parts of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
A gastric hemorrhage is a medical emergency. If you are vomiting up a large amount of bloodmore than a few teaspoonsgo to the emergency room.
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Blood In Your Stool Or Vomit
While far from a sure sign of stomach cancer, both colitis and Crohn’s disease can cause bloody stoolbut it can also be a sign of cancer. Blood in either your poop or your vomit demands a visit to a GI doctor, Dr. Sarpel says. If the bleeding is related to cancer, the blood in your stool is likely to look maroon or tarry black. If the blood is in your vomit, it’s more likely to look bright red, and it may have a coarse “coffee grounds” texture because it has been partially digested, she says.
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Does Stomach Cancer Affect Men And Women Differently
It is important to look for signs of stomach cancer in adults over the age of 55. However, it most commonly affects those in their 60s or 70s. While it is crucial to be aware of the signs of stomach cancer in females, men are more likely to develop stomach cancer. In 2020, 16,980 men and 10,620 women are projected to be diagnosed with the disease. Men have a lifetime risk of 1 in 95 of developing stomach cancer, while women have a 1 in 154 risk. The signs of stomach cancer in men are typically no different than in women.
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What Exactly Is Colon Cancer And How Does It Cause Pain
Colon cancer begins as small, non-cancerous clumps called polyps, which often produce no symptoms. Some of these polyps may become cancerous and can grow into the wall of the colon. Colorectal cancer begins in the innermost layer and can grow outward, effecting other layers of the colon. If undetected, the cancer can metastasize to other parts of the body.
The pain experienced with colon cancer is not always identified as a typical pain sensation, explains Imran Ali, MD, MS, MPH, and physician Fellow in Palliative Care/Geriatric Supportive Oncology training at NYC VA System/Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Colon cancer typically presents as a dull belly ache, if anything at all, Dr. Ali says. In the more advanced stages of colon cancer, the pain may feel cramp-like or similar to bloat. Pain that is persistent and severe can be a sign of colon cancer and should never be overlooked. If you are experiencing new abdominal discomfort that is persistent, it is important to request colon cancer screening.
Changes in bowel habits can be warning signs of colon cancer. Diarrhea, constipation, and changes in the consistency of stool should not be ignored. Sometimes we dismiss our own pain as discomfort, but how we defecate can tell us a lot about our health. Blood in the stool, fatigue, and unintended weight loss can also be early signs of colon cancer.³
Common Early Signs Of Stomach Cancer
More than 7 in 100,000 people are diagnosed with stomach cancer each year, while 3 in 100,000 die from the disease. About 0.8% of all men and women will be diagnosed with stomach cancer at some point in their life. As of 2017, 116,525 in the United States were living with stomach cancer.
In 2020, the National Cancer Institute estimates 27,600 new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed, which is roughly 1.5% of all new cancer cases. The NCI also projects 11,010 deaths from stomach cancer in 2020, which is 1.8% of all cancer deaths.
Because stomach cancer affects men and women differently, and can be difficult to diagnose, it is crucial to understand its unique traits and the illnesses it can mimic. This article covers the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer, the different disease stages, primary causes, warning signs and how to manage it.
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Feeling And Being Sick
Stomach cancer can cause a blockage in the stomach. This stops food from passing through your digestive system and can make you feel or be sick.
Rarely, there is blood in the vomit. This might be bright red, which means it is fresh bleeding. Or it may look dark brown, like used coffee grounds, if the blood has been in the stomach for a while.
Risk Factors For Gastric Cancer
- H pylori infection and atrophic gastritis
- Pernicious anaemia
|Haematemesis or melaena
Constant abdominal pain, and particularly back pain, are sinister symptoms implying local invasion by tumour. Chronic or acute bleeding from the tumour may occur, with consequent symptoms. There is often little to be found on examination, but there may be a palpable epigastric mass. The classic Troisier’s sign is rare.
Treatment And Home Remedies For Abdominal Pain
How abdominal pain is treated is highly dependent on the diagnosis. Medications that reduce inflammation may help with stomach pains resulting from ulcers.
But other conditions, like kidney stones, may require more intensive treatment like shock wave lithotripsy. Inflammation of the gall bladder might require gall bladder surgery.
If you and your doctor have determined that your abdominal pain is not the result of a serious medical condition, there are a number of home health remedies that may provide relief. Heres a brief list:
- bitters and soda
Not all forms of abdominal pain are preventable. But you can minimize the risk of developing abdominal pain by:
- eating a healthy diet
- exercising regularly
- eating smaller meals
If you have an intestinal disorder, like Crohns disease, follow the diet your doctor has given you to minimize discomfort. If you have GERD, dont eat within 2 hours of bedtime.
Lying down too soon after eating may cause heartburn and abdominal pain. Try waiting at least 2 hours after eating before lying down.
Is Stomach Cancer Curable
How stomach cancer is treated. Many cases of stomach cancer can’t be completely cured, but it’s still possible to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life using chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and surgery. If operable, surgery can cure stomach cancer as long as all of the cancerous tissue can be removed …… read more
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
Get medical help right away or call your local emergency number if you:
- Are currently being treated for cancer
- Are unable to pass stool, especially if you are also vomiting
- Are vomiting blood or have blood in your stool
- Have chest, neck, or shoulder pain
- Have sudden, sharp abdominal pain
- Have pain in, or between, your shoulder blades with nausea
- Have tenderness in your belly, or your belly is rigid and hard to the touch
- Are pregnant or could be pregnant
- Had a recent injury to your abdomen
- Have difficulty breathing
Advanced Stomach Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer are more serious than symptoms of early stage stomach cancer. Because advanced stage stomach cancer has grown and spread, it can also effect nearby organs including:
- The large intestine
If stomach cancer has grown to create a blockage within the stomach or the large intestine, you may experience:
- Loss of appetite
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Heartburn Or Acid Reflux
Similarly, heartburn is more often related to conditions like acid reflux and GERD but can also signify stomach cancer. The bacteria H. pyloriis not only linked to GERD and peptic ulcers but significantly increases the risk of stomach cancer.
After A Diagnosis Of Stomach Cancer
After being diagnosed with a stomach cancer, you may feel shocked, upset, anxious or confused. These are normal responses. A diagnosis of a stomach or oesophageal cancer affects each person differently. For most it will be a difficult time, however some people manage to continue with their normal daily activities.
You may find it helpful to talk about your treatment options with your doctors, family and friends. Ask questions and seek as much information as you feel you need. It is up to you as to how involved you want to be in making decisions about your treatment.
Learn more about best stomach cancer care:
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Fix The Root Of The Problem
Muscle imbalances happen when certain muscles work too hard and others dont work hard enough.
Your muscles are designed to complement, not compete with one another. One overly weak or dominant muscle can literally pull everything off track.
I recommend learning more about my targeted Muscle Balance Therapy program.
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What Is The Main Cause Of Stomach Cancer
Though the actual cause of stomach cancer is not yet known, there are some factors associated with it, particularly diet and lifestyle. For example, a diet high in smoked or salted foods and processed meat and low in vegetables is a risk factor for stomach cancer, as is drinking alcohol and smoking…. see details
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Taking Care Of Yourself At Home
Most abdominal pain goes away without special treatment. Be guided by your doctor, but there are some things you can do to help ease the pain, including:
- Place a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag on your abdomen.
- Soak in a warm bath. Take care not to scald yourself.
- Drink plenty of clear fluids such as water.
- Reduce your intake of coffee, tea and alcohol as these can make the pain worse.
- When you are allowed to eat again, start with clear liquids, then progress to bland foods such as crackers, rice, bananas or toast. Your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Try over-the-counter antacids, to help reduce some types of pain.
- Take mild painkillers such as paracetamol. Please check the packet for the right dose. Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs unless advised to take them by a doctor. These drugs can make some types of abdominal pain worse.
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Low Red Blood Cell Count
Stomach cancer can cause anemia, which is a low number of red blood cells. The bleeding that accompanies this type of cancer may cause you to lose red blood cells faster than your body can make them. This will lead to a diminished supply of oxygen to your organs, something that will make you feel tired or weak.
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Total Gastrectomy Or Oesophagogastrectomy
If your cancer is in the middle or at the top of your stomach, you may need to have a total gastrectomy. If the cancer is close to the end of your oesophagus, where it meets your stomach, you may need to have an oesophagogastrectomy.
If you have a total gastrectomy, the end of your gullet will be joined to the top of your jejunum . If you have an oesophagogastrectomy, the remaining part of your gullet will be joined to your jejunum.
Treating Colon Cancer Pain
The pain associated with colon cancer and its treatments can be lessened using a variety of therapies and lifestyle interventions. Pain caused by the tumors themselves can be lessened by therapies to remove of reduce the tumors. Pain caused by colon cancer treatments can be treated with:
Over the counter, prescription pain relievers such as, aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen
Complimentary therapies to treat colon cancer pain include:
Acupuncture has shown to be effective for reducing many types of cancer pain.
Medicinal marijuana has shown to be effective in reducing certain pain symptoms associated with cancer. Marijuana may help reduce pain signaling, inflammation, and anxiety. Dronabinol, a pharmaceutical form of THC, and a man-made cannabinoid drug called nabilone are approved by the FDA to treat some conditions.
that wont get you high. CBD may help to relieve pain, lower inflammation, and decrease anxiety.
Reiki can help reduce feelings of pain in some people.
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Can Stomach Cancer Be Detected In A Blood Test
Blood chemistry tests They show how well certain organs are working and can help find abnormalities. Blood chemistry tests used to stage stomach cancer include the following. Liver function tests check how well the liver is working. High levels of certain chemicals may mean that the cancer has spread to the liver…. continue reading
Having Another Type Of Cancer
For men, the risk of getting stomach cancer is increased after having prostate cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer or testicular cancer. For women, the risk of developing stomach cancer increases after having ovarian cancer, breast cancer or cervical cancer.
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Signs That A Cancer Patient Is At The End Of Life
The world often seems suddenly strange and unfamiliar when a loved one is dying of cancer.In addition to a flood of emotions and practical concerns, uncertainty about what to expect in the final few days causes more anxiety. While everyone’s experience is different, the body organs and systems shut down during the dying process, leading to predicable signs and behaviors that reflect the mind, body and spirit undergoing transition from life to death.
Related Conditions Of Abdominal Pain
Some of the most common conditions associated with abdominal pain include the following:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome This condition is characterized by symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
Constipation If you arent having regular bowel movements, you may feel bloated and full and experience sharp gas pains in your abdomen.
Peptic Ulcer When a sore develops in the lining of your stomach or upper small intestine, you may experience a burning sensation similar to hunger pangs, along with nausea, vomiting, or heartburn.
Pancreatitis Inflammation of your pancreas may cause sharp, severe pain in the upper middle area of your abdomen, along with nausea, vomiting, or fever. This condition can be either acute or chronic.
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