What Are The Four Types Of Abdominal Pain
Since your abdomen it is home to many organs, your healthcare provider may want to narrow down the kind of pain youre having by narrowing down the region youre feeling it in. Healthcare providers often divide the abdomen into quadrants or four parts. They may ask if your pain is in the:
- Right upper quadrant.
- Left lower quadrant.
Abdominal Pain Treatment And Home Remedies
The treatment for abdominal pain depends on its cause, and may include:
- Medications to lower inflammation, prevent acid reflux, or treat ulcers or infection
- Surgery to treat a problem with an organ
Over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen can irritate your stomach and worsen your pain. Donât take them unless a doctor has diagnosed the cause of your belly pain and recommends their use.
Some diet and lifestyle changes may help belly pain caused by gas and indigestion. Here are some things you can try:
- Eat smaller portions at more frequent meals
- Eat slowly
Types Of Abdominal Pain
Not all abdominal pain is the same. For example, if youre experiencing acute abdominal pain, youve most likely only been dealing with the discomfort for about a week, maybe less.
Chronic abdominal pain, on the other hand, is pain thats constant or recurring. It lasts for a period of 3 months or longer.
Since there are a number of gastrointestinal and systemic disorders that lead to abdominal pain, doctors and healthcare professionals sometimes have a hard time understanding the root cause of the pain.
Progressive abdominal pain is pain that gets worse over time. Typically other symptoms occur as the abdominal pain progresses. Progressive abdominal pain is often a sign of something more serious. Read on to learn more about the different types of abdominal pain, including what and where the pain occurs and potential causes.
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Severe Acute Pain In The Lower Right Side Of The Abdomen
Sudden pain in the lower part of the abdomen may be a sign of appendicitis. It may also be accompanied by a fever. Pain often begins around the belly button area and becomes worse with time. Vomiting or constipation or diarrhea along with the pain also indicate it’s time to go to the emergency room.
Appendicitis mostly affects kids and teens between the ages of 5 and 20. While there are many digestive health issues that can cause stomach pain in kids, it’s important to talk to your child’s doctor immediately if you suspect appendicitis – especially if the pain comes on suddenly over several hours or is persistent. Appendicitis often requires surgery. If left untreated, a ruptured appendix can be deadly.
It Could Be: Excess Gas
The gas in the digestive tract comes from swallowed air and happens when we eat too quickly, chew gum, have too many artificial sweeteners or eat large amounts of green leafy vegetables or beans, says Dr Rakshit.
Fizzy drinks and beer are culprits too.
What else to look out for: Excess gas is a common issue but other symptoms like blood in stools, unexplained weight loss and bowel incontinence could be a cause for concern.
What to do: Peppermint oil capsules can help alleviate the issue, these are often available over-the-counter.
However bloating can occasionally indicate serious health issues, such as tumours, so Id always see a GP, says Dr Rakshit.
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About Stomach Pain Or Ache
Anxiety or stress can cause butterflies in the tummy.
Severe stomach pain might be caused by more serious illnesses like appendicitis or intussusception, which is when part of the intestine slides into or over itself.
In adolescent girls, stomach pain can be caused by reproductive issues, including period pain, a twisted ovary and ectopic pregnancy.
Sometimes stomach pain is functional abdominal pain. This means that the stomach is very sensitive, even to the normal movement of food through the digestive system.
General Abdominal Pain With Diarrhea
Possible cause: gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, usually affecting the stomach or small intestine. Also known as infectious diarrhea, gastroenteritis is typically caused by rotavirus, norovirus, adenovirus, or other viruses. The infection triggers inflammation, which then causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting.
Treatment typically focuses on managing diarrhea and other symptoms. Fluids are helpful in counteracting dehydration resulting from diarrhea and vomiting.
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Menstrual Cramps Or Endometriosis
Menstruation can cause inflammation and pain in the abdomen. Bloating, gas, cramping, and constipation can also occur during menstruation, causing abdominal discomfort.
Women who have endometriosis may experience more severe or chronic inflammation and pain. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally grows in the uterus develops in other parts of the body, usually in the pelvic area but sometimes elsewhere.
Where Is The Pain
Doctors and other health professionals will first ask you where you feel the pain. Pain above the umbilicus but below the ribcage on the right may be gallstone pain. Gallstone pain may spread to the right shoulder or the back.
Pain from kidney stones is felt in the right side or left side, more in the back than the front of the abdomen, and tends to radiate downwards into the groin on the same side.
Pain in the very centre of the abdomen is more likely to be coming from the intestines, however in males, testicular pain is also felt in the centre of the abdomen.
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It Could Be: A Peptic Ulcer
Commonly mistaken for gallstones, or vice versa, peptic ulcers occur when the lining of the stomach is damaged.
They’re often caused by taking painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin or from bacteria found in the stomach called helicobacter pylori.
The pain can spread to the back and will usually occur before or after meals, says Dr Rakshit. If untreated they can cause you to vomit blood.
What else to look out for: Other symptoms of peptic ulcers include,heartburn, loss of appetite and weight loss.
What to do: If you are suffering from vomit in your blood, you should go to A& E immediately, otherwise visit your GP for a gastroscopy and/or stool test.
Sudden And Severe Onset Stomach Pain
When mid-abdominal pain occurs suddenly especially in people with a history of peptic ulcer disease or in those who take excessive amounts of aspirin or NSAIDs it may be a sign of a perforation that could require emergency surgery. A tear could leak air and gastric content which can lead to a condition called peritonitis, and eventually, septic shock. Surgery would be required to seal the perforation.
If you’re experiencing chronic stomach pain, take steps now to head off any bigger problems down the road. Your primary care provider can help get to the bottom of what’s causing your issues and create a plan to help improve your gut health. Your plan may include medication, lifestyle changes, a healthier diet and stress management techniques.
7. Right or left lower abdominal pain in women
Sudden onset of right lower abdominal pain or left lower abdominal pain can indicate a ruptured ovarian cyst in a woman who is in the middle of her menstrual cycle. This kind of pain could also be a sign of ovarian torsion, which is the rotation of the ovary and part of the fallopian tube, or possibly a twisting of the ovary due to reduced blood supply. Seek treatment immediately at the nearest emergency department. Surgery to remove the ovary may be required.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Abdominal Pain
While we dont usually feel the inner workings of our abdomen, pain can occur when there is a disruption of the normal functioning of an organ or area of tissue inside.
Abdominal pain can be caused by inflammation , organ distention or stretching , or loss of blood supply .
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as dietary supplements, can cause stomach pain. Medications can do this by irritating the stomach, leading to nausea, pain, and diarrhea, or by slowing digestion, leading to constipation. Be sure to check the label of any drug you take to see if abdominal pain is listed as a possible side effect.
- Lead poisoning, often from eating paint chips
- Emotional upset
Prevention Of Abdominal Pain
In many cases, abdominal pain can be prevented by adopting lifestyle and dietary choices that address the cause of your pain. Constipation, digestive upset, and even abdominal injury can often be prevented.
The following steps may help you prevent abdominal pain:
Drink plenty of water.
Develop regular bowel habits. Many people can train themselves to have regular bowel movements to help avoid constipation.
Follow a balanced, fiber-filled diet. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods, like whole grains, can help support healthy digestion and reduce constipation.
Eat regularly and slowly. Eating moderately-sized meals, instead of waiting until youre very hungry and stuffing yourself, can help avoid pain from overeating or eating on an empty stomach.
Exercise regularly. Getting enough physical activity can help prevent constipation and strengthen your abdominal muscles, which may help prevent straining.
Wear a seatbelt properly.
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What Causes A Peptic Ulcer
Causes of peptic ulcers include
- long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- an infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori
- rare cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the stomach, duodenum, or pancreasknown as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Sometimes peptic ulcers are caused by both NSAIDs and H. pylori.
Diagnosing Abdominal Pain And Diarrhea
To determine the cause of abdominal pain and diarrhea, a doctor will first perform a physical exam. Theyll also ask some questions about your health history and lifestyle.
Traveling to certain countries may increase your risk of digestive disease. Be sure to mention any recent trips overseas. The doctor will also ask questions about any recent changes in your diet.
A doctor may perform a stool culture, in which theyll send a sample of your feces to a lab to check for bacteria, viruses, and parasites. If this comes up negative, they may run a more complete analysis of your feces to look for possible digestive disorders.
Other common diagnostic tests include:
- Endoscopy. In an endoscopy, a doctor sends a camera down your throat and into your stomach to check for problems, such as ulcers and signs of celiac disease.
- Colonoscopy. A colonoscopy involves sending a camera into the rectum and intestines to check for signs of damage and signs of disease, such as ulcers and polyps.
- Lower GI tract radiography. In a lower GI tract radiography, also known as a barium enema, a technician will perform a real-time X-ray of the abdomen. This occurs after the doctor injects a barium-based contrast material into the rectum that can highlight intestinal obstructions and other conditions.
Medication can help treat the underlying condition causing your abdominal pain and diarrhea. If your symptoms are caused by stress or need to be managed, home remedies can help.
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Diagnosis Of Abdominal Pain: Essential Tests
Your doctor will take a detailed history of the onset of pain, site of pain and the severity. He will inquire about the associated symptoms like vomiting, jaundice etc. Then he/she will perform a detailed clinical examination. He will press your abdomen to understand where you feel pain and to check for any swelling in the abdomen. With utmost gentleness he/she will try to localise the site of pain, type of pain and the likely reason of pain. With the help of a stethoscope, your doctor will listen so that he can understand what is going on with your abdomen and the problems that exists. This information enables your doctor to order particular tests needed for diagnosis and mangement of the current problem. The following are some of the tests that are used to diagnose abdominal pain after a physical examination.
Upper endoscopy is a test that enables your doctor to examine your esophagus, stomach and small part of small intestine. Upper endoscopy is also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or OGD. A thin and flexible tube, called an endoscope, is put into your mouth and gradually proceeded through the throat into the food pipe, stomach and the intestines. At the end of the tube is a camera that enables your doctor to view your stomach and small intestine thoroughly.
Pain With Bloody Diarrhea
Possible cause: Inflammatory bowel disease
Ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease are both types of inflammatory bowel disease , which means they involve inflammation of different parts of the digestive tract. This inflammation can cause intestinal bleeding and abdominal pain.
There is no cure for IBD, so treatment focuses on managing symptoms. Medication can reduce inflammation and ease symptoms. Surgery to remove part or all of the colon may be required in severe cases.
If you are experiencing severe stomach pain, bleeding, or excessive vomiting or diarrhea, seek medical care immediately. Consult with your gastroenterologist if you have mild to moderate stomach pain without bleeding, or if your stomach pain persists.
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Types Of Abdominal Pain And What You Can Do
Abdominal pain can occur anywhere between the chest and the lower abdomen and can range from a dull ache to severe pain. Abdominal pain is one of the common reasons people visit urgent care centers and emergency rooms in the 78130 area code of New Braunfels, Texas.
The doctors and the medical professionals at Riverside ER, a 24-hour emergency care center located near you in New Braunfels, Texas, want to educate the public on the symptoms of abdominal pain and the relevant treatment.
There are four types of abdominal pain: upper, lower, right-sided and left-sided. Each type has specific symptoms and causes, and all are briefly discussed below .
Change In Bowel Movement Frequency
There is no magic number of bowel movements we should all be having each day. Some people go three-to-four times a day, and that is normal for them. Others only move their bowels once a day and that is their normal. However, if you or a loved one experiences a significant change in bowel movement frequency, whether more or less often, its important to discuss this change with your healthcare provider.
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It Could Be: Gallstones
Gallstones are lumps of solid matter that form in the gallbladder or the small bile tubes, says Dr Rakshit, who practices at Springfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex.
These irritate the lining of the gallbladder and cause a sharp pain in the upper abdomen, symptoms worsened by a high-fat diet. Many people also feel the pain radiating around to their back or right shoulder.
What else to look out for: Other common symptoms of gallstones are dark coloured urine, pale coloured stools, a fever and jaundice.
What to do: If you experience any of these symptoms then you should consult your GP for an ultrasound scan.
What Causes Abdominal Pain In Children
The gastrointestinal tract is a complicated system of nerves and muscles that pushes food through the digestive process. Some children’s nerves are very sensitive and feel pain in response to even normal intestinal activities.
The most likely cause of stomach pain is not eating enough, not going to the bathroom, or a combination of the two. In some cases, a specific problem such as constipation, heartburn, or a food allergy causes abdominal pain. In other cases, the cause may not be so clear.
An infection, stress, or lack of sleep may make the intestinal nerves more sensitive to pain. In some cases, the problem may be genetic, which means it “runs in the family” and other family members have a similar history of the problem.
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Signs Of Passing A Kidney Stone
David Cameron, DO, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City Lewisville and Medical City McKinney, says that you will know immediately if you are passing a kidney stone, with pain in the side of your back or abdomen.
This is the worst pain of your life that you’re experiencing, Dr. Cameron says. It’s so profound that it’s beyond a 10. You’ll be incapacitated with the pain, quite often. It’ll lead to nausea and vomiting, the pain is so severe.
Sharp Pain In The Lower Right Side Of Your Abdomen
Possible cause: appendicitis
Doctors once thought that the appendix is a vestigial organ, which is an organ that has lost its function through evolution. Now many medical professionals think the appendix plays a role in maintaining a healthy balance of microorganisms living in the human gut. Infection or blockage of the hollow chamber within the appendix can cause inflammation. Bacteria can build up inside the appendix if the appendix bursts, it can release the bacteria into the abdominal cavity and cause a number of serious complications.
Treatment is essential due to the dangers associated with a ruptured appendix. Antibiotics can be an effective treatment in some cases, but surgical removal of the appendix is usually necessary.
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How Do You Relieve Abdominal Pain
Stomach pain has a wide variety of causes and treatments. Some conditions, such as gallstones or appendicitis, may require surgery. Others, such as ulcers or infections, may be eased with medicine. And sometimes you may just have to get through a bout of stomach flu or a kidney stone until it passes.
If you dont know whats causing your abdominal pain, its important to find out, especially if it doesnt go away on its own. Remember that even mild cases can be serious. However, if you have a pretty good idea that your stomachache is related to digestion, you can begin by treating yourself with:
- Bowel rest. Stop eating, or only eat easy-to-digest foods like crackers or bananas.
- Hydration. Drink plenty of water or a hydration formula.
- Heat therapy. Try a warm water bottle or a soak in the bath.
- Home remedies. Try licorice for gas, ginger for indigestion, or peppermint to help relax your intestinal muscles.