How Is Abdominal Pain Diagnosed
The cause of abdominal pain is diagnosed based on your symptom history, a physical examination, and testing, if needed. Your doctor is likely to ask you questions about the characteristics of your pain, and whether you have any underlying physical or mental health conditions that could be contributing to your abdominal pain.
Questions from your doctor may address the following aspects of your abdominal pain:
- Where its located
- Whether its dull, stabbing, burning, or cramping
- Whether it comes and goes
- When you experience or notice it most
- Whether it radiates outward to other areas of your body
- How long youve had it
- Whether any activities or actions seem to make it worse or better
Your doctor may also ask about your overall health history, any recent injuries, and whether you might be pregnant.
- Blood, urine, or stool tests
- X-ray of the abdomen
- Computerized tomography scan of the abdomen
- Barium enema
- Endoscopic procedures
What Is Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is pain felt anywhere in the area between the bottom of the ribs and the pelvis. Most Australians will experience abdominal pain at some point in their lives.
Abdominal pain can be serious, but most abdominal pain gets better on its own without needing any special treatment.
People sometimes refer to abdominal pain as stomach pain, stomach ache, stomach cramps, tummy pain, sore stomach, wind pain or belly ache.
Pain or discomfort in the abdomen can be mild or severe. It may come on suddenly it could be something that you experience from time to time or it could be an ongoing symptom that lasts for more than 3 months . It can also start off mild and steadily worsen . Pain that comes and goes in waves is referred to as colicky pain.
This page is about abdominal pain in adults, or anyone over the age of 12. Go to this page for information on abdominal pain in children.
Can Holiday Foods Help
You may have heard of ginger and peppermint helping to soothe an upset stomach, but dont overdo it on gingerbread cookies or candy canes.
Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietitian and TODAY contributor, doesnt usually recommend mixing ginger and peppermint with other food. Ginger cookies, which have ginger, sugar, flour, butter and other ingredients, may actually aggravate the condition, for example.
NBC News Health and Nutrition Editor Madelyn Fernstrom echoed this advice. Dont be fooled by most holiday treats that sound like they can help an upset stomach, she said. Ginger and peppermint hard candies can sometimes help, but avoid looking for relief when these ingredients are a part of cookies or candy.
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How Do You Stop Stomach Cramps
Try following these home care steps to alleviate stomach cramps
- Get adequate rest.
- Drink plenty of water or other clear fluids.
- Avoid solid food for the first few hours.
- If cramps have been accompanied by vomiting, wait for six hours and then eat small amounts of food, such as crackers, rice or applesauce.
- Avoid milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products.
- Avoid foods and beverages like
- Citrus foods
These steps may also prevent stomach cramps
- Eat a high-fiber and well-balanced diet.
- Limit foods that produce gas.
- Eat small meals more frequently.
- Drink plenty of water each day.
- Wash your hands before eating or preparing food.
- Avoid overeating and avoid eating right before going to sleep.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid expired foods or incorrectly stored food.
- Avoid foods that may trigger allergies.
- Reduce stress and anxiety to help prevent cramps.
Caraway Seeds Ease An Upset Stomach
Caraway seeds are packed with vitamins and minerals, which inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that causes indigestion, gas, or bloating and contributes to an upset stomach. Nibble on a handful after eating your meal, or if you feel gassy. Find out why one of the most common upset stomach remedies, ginger ale for upset stomach, actually doesnt work.
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Take A Digestive Enzyme
Our bodies need 3 categories of enzymes in order to break down food: lipase for fat digestion, amylase for carbohydrate digestion, and protease for protein digestion. Many of us lack proper levels of each of these enzymes due to over-medication, poor digestive function, and a nutrient-poor diet lacking in foods containing these enzymes.
Supplementing with digestive enzymes in the short-term can be a good option if digestion is impaired. Taking one after a meal if a stomachache comes on can help curb the pain and support digestion, and ideally, you should get in the habit of having one before the meal, as thats the optimal time to take one.
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Natural Remedies For Stomach Ache
If you get stomach aches periodically, youre not alone. An upset stomach can result from all sorts of things from stress and diet to more serious matters such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac Disease or colon cancer.
While there is no comparison to care from one of our board-certified gastroenterologists, many stomach aches can easily be treated at home. However, if you have persistent issues or pain, or a sudden onset of severe symptoms, medical treatment is always your best option.
8 Natural Remedies for Stomach ache
The menthol in peppermint leaves has been used as a natural pain reliever to aid stomach problems for centuries. Try drinking it in a tea, chewing on mint gum, or sucking on a peppermint candy.
Apple Cider Vinegar
While not delicious to taste on its own, this pantry staple can be taken by the tablespoon to neutralize an upset stomach. Try mixing it with a cup of water and a teaspoon of honey. The acids inside may help decrease starch digestion, and keep the bacteria in the gut healthy.
Ginger has been used since ancient times to help treat stomach aches, and science proves it truly can help. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and can be consumed in various forms candy, capsules, or as tea but fresh ginger root is best when looking to rid stomach pain.
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Carrot And Mint Juice Helps An Upset Stomach
It might sound iffy, but this is one of the stomach ache remedies thats super helpful if youre suffering from the winter flu the carrot provides nourishment and peppermint soothes your upset stomach. Boil four sliced carrots, four cups of water, and one teaspoon of dried peppermint or one peppermint teabag. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes or until carrots are soft. If youre using a teabag, remove it, then blend the mixture until smooth and enjoy! You can also add a pinch of ground ginger to further soothe, or a squeeze of lemon juice for flavor. These are the 7 best foods for your belly.
Who Is Eligible For The Treatment
If you are noticing the following symptoms during stomach cramps then you need to take proper medical treatment for it.
- Acute pain in your abdominal area lasting for more than 1 day.
- When you are suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Pain accompanied by diarrhea or constipation.
- Chronic pain in the upper right side of the abdominal area.
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When Should You See A Doctor
If you experience severe or chronic stomach cramps, see a doctor for further evaluation. As a rule of thumb, any symptom that seems unusual and persists for a long time should be addressed.
Make note of any other symptoms youre experiencing, such as indigestion, bloating, and excessive fatigue. You should seek immediate medical treatment if you experience stomach cramps along with:
- pain that suddenly gets worse
- dark, bloody, or tar-like stools
You Got Into The Bag Of Sugar Free Candies
Sugar free candies may seem like a good idea, especially if you are trying to cut back on sugar while still getting to enjoy the sweetness they provide. However, these candies are typically sweetened with a sugar alcohols like sorbitol which is notorious for causing bloating, cramping and yes, even rampant diarrhea.
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Using Other Techniques To Relieve Discomfort
Apply Peppermint Essential Oil To The Abdomen
Like the benefits that ginger and apple cider vinegar offer, peppermint essential oil acts in a similar way. If you dont have ginger or ACV on hand when a stomachache hits but peppermint oil in your cabinets, this can be a great way to help relive the pain.
Peppermint offers a number of digestive health benefits, most notably it can help to reduce muscle spasms in the gastric lining and colon.
Mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil and rub across your abdomen wherever discomfort is occurring.
If you dont have peppermint oil but you have peppermint tea, this can be equally beneficial and soothing to drink.
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How To Get Rid Of Stomach Cramps
Dont eat solid food while you have the cramps or for a few hours following. When you resume eating again, eat simple items such as rice, applesauce, bananas, toast, or plain crackers.
- Dont eat dairy products, acidic foods such as tomatoes, and fast food .
Eat small meals. Large meals can also strengthen intestinal contractions. Aim to eat small meals frequently throughout your day so as to not strain your system.
Avoid any complex drinks, alcohol, or any caffeinated or carbonated drink. Sip water or clear fluids.
Avoid fatty foods. Fatty foods contain substances that can exaggerate the strength of intestinal contractions, thus resulting in increased stomach ache and cramping. Aim to eat low-fat meals, avoiding anything greasy, fried or fatty.
Avoid overloading your digestive system with food that will add to the digestive burden. Keep things simple for a while until the cramps pass if you experience any vomiting, dont eat until 6 hours have passed.
Go to the restroom. It may seem impossible, but sometimes all a stomach ache is asking for is a good, solid bowel movement.
Try to exercise the cramps away. Take a walk around your house, or in the garden. This can be helpful when you find that sitting or lying down is uncomfortable. Its not advised to walk too far from a bathroom, though, just in case the cramps are signaling the onset of diarrhea.
How To Cure Stomach Cramps
Stomach cramps at home can be relieved by simple natural remedies such as:
- Ginger: Chewing ginger or having a ginger beverage will help with stomach cramps. Ginger alleviates stomach cramps, bloating, and stimulates the body enzyme into action.
- Peppermint: Peppermint is antispasmodic that relieves stomach cramps. It activates the anti-pain receptors and soothes pain. Peppermint can be taken in tea beverages or the form of capsules.
- Heating pad: the warmth will relax the strained abdominal muscles and relieve the pain with rest.
Besides these remedies, other methods of relieving stomach cramps are:
- Taking over-the-counter medicines
- Antibiotics for the cramps caused by bacteria
- Antispasmodic medication for IBS
If there is no relief from the remedies mentioned above and have the following symptoms, it is best to visit a doctor:
- Blood in bowel
- Chest pain along with stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
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Make A Drink With Apple Cider Vinegar
When your stomach is aching, a shot of acidic apple cider vinegar might be the last thing you want to put in it, but it could actually make you feel better. There are two reasons for this.
First, apple cider vinegar kills bacteria, so if youve got a bacterial infection in your stomach, the vinegar can help clear it out. Second, apple cider vinegar balances your stomach acid, which can help with acid reflux issues. Dont ever drink apple cider vinegar on its own its too strong, and it could damage your teeth. Instead, mix it with something else. Try stirring a tablespoon of vinegar into a cup of warm water or fruit juice.
Add some honey to improve the taste if you want.
Hot Water Bag To Cure Stomach Pain At Home
For treating stomach pain, you can also do a quick home remedy. If you have a hot water bag at home then use it by pouring water in the water bag. After which put the bag on you stomach for some time. This hot bag helps to relax and loosen the stomach muscles. So whenever you feel cramps in your abdomen area try this hot bag therapy. You easily get rid of stomach pain.
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Wrap Your Stomach With Far Infrared Rays
HealthyLine places a unique spin on heating pads with the inclusion of natural gemstones. Rather than heating the body directly, the gemstones act as a mediator that converts the heat into far infrared rays. If you are unfamiliar with this term you can read about it here.
Basically, this natural therapy penetrates deep into your core to offer the body benefits such as increased blood circulation, muscle relaxation, the soothing of aches and pains, and much more. The Amethyst Pad Medium 3618 Soft Photon InfraMat Pro® is model offered that is specifically designed to address pain in the stomach.
Consisting entirely of crushed amethyst, the device can easily bend and wrap around your stomach to give it the steady flow of far infrared rays needed to normalize it.
When you place it over your stomach, the far infrared waves reach into the lower levels of your muscles and tissue to ease discomfort and in some cases, eliminating minor stomach cramps, spasms, or aches. The Amethyst Pad is safe to use for any period of time, which means you can even use it overnight to help with your sleeping efforts.
This advanced natural therapy device is available here. Get it now and say goodbye to unmanageable stomach pain.
Avoid Sugar And Starchy Foods
Bloating can be caused by many factors, including constipation, stress, and food intolerance. However, diet remains the main cause of stomach aches.
Starchy foods such as bread, wheat, barley, oats, rye, pasta, and some legumes can produce gas in the body. You should try to reduce the consumption of starchy foods when you suffer from gas or bloating.
Foods that are fried or filled with refined sugar will need a longer time to digest. This will cause acidic acid and lead to burns, ulcers, gastric reflux, or heartburn. You should try to avoid foods rich in sugar and fat to promote good digestion.
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How Is The Cause Of The Abdominal Pain Diagnosed
Physical examination will include a careful examination of the patients abdomen, heart, and lungs in order to pinpoint the source of the pain.
- The doctor will touch different parts of the abdomen to check for tenderness or other signs that indicate the source of the pain.
- The doctor may do a rectal exam to check for small amounts of blood in the stool or other problems, such as a mass or internal hemorrhoids.
- If the patient is a man, the doctor may check the penis and testicles.
- If the patient is a woman, the doctor may do a pelvic exam to check for problems in the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
- The doctor also may look at the patients eyes for yellow discoloration and in the mouth to be sure the patient is not dehydrated.
Laboratory tests may or may not help to determine the cause of the abdominal pain. Combined with the information gained from the questions the patient was asked and the physical examination performed by the doctor, certain blood or urine tests may be ordered and could assist in determining the diagnosis.
Radiology studies of the patients abdomen can be useful, but are not always necessary or helpful.
- Occasionally, an X-ray will show air outside of the bowel, meaning that something has ruptured or perforated.
- An X-ray also can help diagnose bowel obstruction.
- Sometimes X-rays can show a kidney stone.
Ultrasound is a painless procedure useful in finding some causes of abdominal pain.
Drink Club Soda And Lime
Like lemon, lime can help ease an aching tummy. Combine the lime with club soda and you have an easy drink to sip on to wash away the pain. If you overate and have a stomach ache as a result, the carbonation in club soda will encourage you to burp, therefore relieving pressure in your belly. It has been shown to help greatly with dyspepsia and constipation.
You will need-8 ounces of cool club soda-Fresh lime juice
DirectionsMix 8 ounces of club soda with the juice of half a lime. Stir and sip slowly.
I myself have had more than a few unfortunate run-ins with stomach aches, particularly this past year. Thanks to some generous family genes, I seem quite prone to them. Second to headaches, I find chronic stomach pain to be one of the most distracting to deal with day-to-day.
By keeping a couple options for stomach ache remedies on hand at all time, I find I can usually be prepared to ward it off should it start to creep up.
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