What Are The More Serious Causes Of Abdominal Pain
Unfortunately, the more serious causes can be almost any cause, including most of the ones listed above as less serious causes. Consequently, the subjective requirements that most doctors consider as serious causes of abdominal pain are any causes that may generate at least one or more of the following signs or symptoms:
- Penetration of an object into the abdomen or back
- Blunt object injury to the abdomen or back
Things That May Be Causing Your Abdominal Pain
When youre going about your day and you get that all-too-familiar sensation of discomfort or pain in your abdomen, it can be incredibly disruptive. Almost everyone has experienced uncomfortable stomach aches or digestion problems at some point.
Abdominal pain is common and stems from a number of issues, but that doesnt mean abdominal pain should stop you in your tracks on a regular basis.
At Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County, our team of gastroenterologists can identify whether the cause of your abdominal pain is serious and develop a treatment plan that relieves your symptoms.
Discover 10 of the most common causes of abdominal pain, and when you should see a gastroenterologist for your symptoms.
Is It Bloat Or Weight Gain
During perimenopause and menopause, you may be unsure whether youre experiencing bloating or gaining weight. Hormonal changes during perimenopause and menopause may cause your body to gain weight more quickly than usual, particularly in your stomach area. This isnt just a sign of menopause. You may also be gaining weight because of aging, lifestyle behaviors, and family history.
Bloating should occur for just a short period of time, likely around the time of your menstrual cycle if youre in perimenopause or any time after you eat a large amount of food, eat very quickly, or eat foods that trigger bloating. Your stomach will protrude and change throughout the day with bloating. Your abdomen wont fluctuate in size throughout the day if youre experiencing weight gain.
Weight gain is a symptom of menopause, and you can adopt certain lifestyle changes to help avoid extra pounds. Eating a well-balanced diet low in salt and sugar, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly will help with weight gain, as well as bloat. Gaining weight puts you at risk for developing health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
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Causes Of Bloating And Abdominal Pain
In some cases, abdominal pain and bloating are not a cause for concern and can often be relieved with simple dietary and lifestyle changes. Other times, abdominal bloating can be a sign of something more serious, and therefore further action is needed to treat the root of the problem.
Bloating is often a problem with digestion, and many things can affect gut health and the bodys ability to properly metabolize food and eliminate waste.
Gas is thought to be the most common cause of bloating, especially after eating a meal or drinking too fast. Gas builds up in the GI tract when you swallow air or when undigested food gets broken down.
Excessive gas is due to inadequate protein digestion, imbalances in gut bacteria, and the inability to fully break down carbohydrates and sugar.
This section will detail 32 potential causes of abdominal bloating and pain, which are often related to digestive disorders, food sensitivities, parasitic infections, bowel obstruction, hormonal changes like pregnancy, and a number of cancers like stomach cancer, ovarian cancer, or non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Lets get started.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do I need a test to diagnose lactose intolerance?
- Why do certain foods cause my bloating when they never used to?
- What can I do if I have diabetesand my medicine or artificial sweeteners cause bloating?
- Could my bloating be a sign of something more serious?
- What kind of tests will I need?
- What kind of over-the-counter medicine can I try?
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The Many Ways Anxiety Causes Bloating
Bloating is actually a very common symptom of anxiety, especially for those with anxiety attacks. What’s interesting is that many different issues can cause bloating including, but not limited to:
- Hyperventilation The main reason that anxiety leads to bloating is the result of hyperventilation. Hyperventilation is when you take in more air than you need. Hyperventilation causes several additional anxiety symptoms, but both before and after hyperventilation it’s not uncommon to feel pressure in your stomach and possibly experience burping.
- General Air Breathing Similarly, even without hyperventilation, you may find that you start to over-breathe during anxiety attacks and swallow more oxygen than necessary, especially if you’re prone to swallowing during these attacks. Swallowing oxygen is known to bloat your stomach, and may lead to significant belching and stomach tension.
- Affected Digestion It’s also possible for anxiety to affect digestion. Anxiety shuts down a part of the brain that handles digesting food. Stress itself puts a great deal of pressure on your stomach and abdomen, and upsets hormone and neurotransmitter balance. That may create an environment where foods that could normally be digested easily end up being digested poorly, leading to the creation of gas and bloating.
These are some of the most common ways that anxiety creates bloating, and the reason that so many of those living with anxiety every day suffer from severe bloating symptoms.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
As noted earlier, the symptom of abdominal bloating is most commonly caused by conditions that are more of a nuisance than life-threatening. That said, it is often the first symptom of ovarian cancer which is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women and often diagnosed when it is “too late,” at least to be curable.
Whether your symptoms are due to a “serious” cause or not, it is important to see your healthcare provider. So-called “nuisance symptoms” can interfere with your quality of life, and by that measure, are not just a nuisance.
If your symptoms do not improve with whatever treatment is recommended, talk to your healthcare provider or seek out a second opinion. In our overworked, over-busy society, it’s important to be your own advocate in your medical care, no matter what your symptoms or the condition that is responsible.
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What Should I Do If I Suspect Indigestion Or A Stomach Ulcer
The first step you should take if you think you may have chronic indigestion or a stomach ulcer is make an appointment with Prima Medicine. Our goal is to provide you with relief from the unpleasant symptoms that both conditions can cause as well as keep you healthy by working to prevent further complications.
To arrive at a diagnosis, your Prima Medicine team member will evaluate your medical history and symptoms and conduct a comprehensive physical exam. Your provider may also order a stool test, breath test, and blood work.
Your provider may also order an endoscopy, in which a flexible tube is inserted through your throat, down your esophagus, and into your stomach to take images and samples. Once your diagnosis is confirmed, your Prima Medicine provider will work with you to create a customized plan to treat your indigestion or ulcer issues.
If youre suffering from chronic indigestion or the symptoms of a stomach ulcer, we can help get you well. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today. We can also schedule telehealth appointments.
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How To Distinguish A Regular Bloat From A Sign Of Cancer
For bloating to be a cause for concern, it generally needs to have lasted for more than two weeks in a month, saids Monique Swain, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, writing in an editorial on the medical website Health.
If bloating is persistent and does not vary with changing eating habits or bowel movements, it is a good idea to seek medical care, added Alex Hewlett, DO, associate professor of medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in the same article.
Another telltale sign that bloating could be a sign of ovarian cancer is a change in your toilet habits.
Out-of-the-ordinary bowel or urinary issues is a sign that something is wrong.
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For example, you might suddenly need to go to the bathroom more urgently if a mass is big enough and pressing on the bladder, said Dr Swain.
Bloating can also signal advanced bowel cancer.
As Cancer Research UK explains, advanced bowel cancer can sometimes cause swelling of the tummy .
This is due to a build up of fluid in the tummy .
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A More Serious Condition Such As Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common condition that causes abdominal pain with bloating, diarrhea or constipation. The cause of IBS is unknown, but it may be brought on by certain triggers, including:
- Bacterial infections
- Food sensitivity
- Stressful events
If you think you may have IBS, reach out to your doctor for an evaluation. Many times, lifestyle modifications and medicines can help ease symptoms. You may also try some at-home techniques to relieve your bloating.
Abdominal Swelling And Bloating Symptoms
Abdominal bloating and swelling is described in many different ways. Some people describe it more as a symptomas a feeling of indigestion or a tight abdomen, and some people define it more as a signthat they can visually see that their belly is distended or their clothes look too tight around the middle.
Depending on the cause, this symptom can come on suddenly or gradually. It can be something that has recently appeared or a symptom that comes and goes.
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Can I Get Bloated From Not Eating
Bloating usually occurs after eating and is often the result of digestive gasses, including carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sometimes methane or sulfur. Dieters often wonder, Can I get bloated from not eating? There are different causes of bloating, but not eating usually isnt one of them.
Things To Tell Your Doctor:
- Is the symptom located in the upper or lower abdomen?Is it in a concentrated area?
- Is your bloating or distension associated with burping?
- Do you experience nausea or vomiting?
- Is the symptom associated with pain in your abdomen?Upper or lower?
- Does the bloating or distension relate to passing gas or a change in your bowel habits ?
- Are your symptoms related to food? Which ones?
- Do they occur right after eating?
- Do your symptoms increase during the day or improve during night hours?
Gallstones And Gallbladder Problems
Gallstones dont necessarily cause any symptoms but when they get stuck they can give you pain. This is called biliary colic and is typically a severe crampy pain in the RUQ shortly after eating a fatty meal. An infection may ensue, called cholecystitis, which will give you a more persistent pain in the RUQ, with a high temperature.
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It Could Be Constipation
While youre spending a lot of time at home, you may not be moving as much as you usually do. You may also be eating different foods. This can lead to constipation. You may be constipated if you experience:
- Fewer bowel movements than normal for you
- Stool that is lumpy or looks like pebbles
- Difficulty passing stool or a feeling that you still need to go after youre finished
Fortunately, you can make a number of at-home changes to help relieve your constipation. These include:
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Common Causes Of Bloating
The following are some common reasons why you might feel bloated. In most instances, these causes of bloating can be reduced or eliminated by practical diet and lifestyle changes.
Healthy eating. Believe it or not, healthy foods are the reason for a bloated stomach. Whole veggies such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, and carrots and legumes such as beans, can cause extra air to get trapped in your belly, giving you that uncomfortable and bloated feeling. Foods high in fiber and lactose can also cause bloating since they release hydrogen and methane, which are bloating gases. Certain fruits like apples, pears, and watermelon can also cause bloating because of the high ratio of fructose to glucose.
Consuming diet products. Sugar substitutes found in many diet foods, such as sorbitol and xylitol) can cause you to feel bloated and uncomfortable. Ingesting too much of these or any artificial substances can cause bloating.
Fizzy drinks. Bubbly drinks like soda, champagne, or seltzer can do a number on your stomach because of the carbonation. When you ingest these drinks, the bubbles expand in your gut, which leads to that bloated feeling. This is also true of popular probiotic, naturally fermented drinks like kombucha, which can cause gas, bloating and loose stools.
Recovery from a stomach bug. Many people experience bloating after having a stomach virus or bug. Thiss because of the bacterial overgrowth that occurred in the small intestine as a result of the infection.
Left Side Of The Abdomen
This part of the abdomen contains a portion of the body of your stomach, the tail of the pancreas, and your spleen.
The spleen is an organ that filters blood and supports the immune system.
Center left and center middle:
The transverse colon and the small intestine make up the center left and center middle of the abdomen. The small intestine is where most food digestion occurs.
The transverse colon is the upper part of the large intestine, where unabsorbed food is carried after going through the ascending colon. The small intestine is the organ that takes up most of the abdomen.
The descending and sigmoid colon portions are the part of the digestive system that stores unabsorbed food remains and waste before they leave your body.
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Possible Causes Of Abdominal Pain
There are several causes of abdominal pain or discomfort. The following are lists of causes of abdominal pain , grouped into the area of the abdomen where patients often say their pain is mainly localized.
Upper Abdominal Pain
The above lists are examples of many causes of abdominal pain. The doctor makes use of the location, type, and intensity of pain to try to arrive at a diagnosis. For example, if an older patient has acute pain that is relatively constant, located in the left and or center of the lower abdomen with a pain score of 9 out of 10, that is sharp or tearing, the doctor would likely place a thoracic aortic aneurysm high on the list of suspected causes.
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Food Intolerance And Bloating
Food intolerance can lead to bloating when:
- your bowel does not empty properly
- the food causes gas to be trapped
- too much gas is produced as a reaction to the food
The most common foods to cause problems are wheat or gluten and dairy products.
The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the problem food or cut it out completely.
Keep a food diary for a couple of weeks, noting everything that you eat and drink and when bloating troubles you most. But do not get rid of food groups long-term without advice from your GP.
Find out more about food intolerance.
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You Struggle To Keep Food Down
Whether you have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea with your pain, if you cant keep food down and the pain lasts for several hours, Alaedeen says you should seek medical attention.
That could lead to a cycle of dehydration, which can make the pain worse and make nausea and vomiting worse, he explains. Thats very worrisome if the pain is accompanied by severe nausea/vomiting and/or if the pain is increasing in intensity and duration.
Middle Of The Abdomen
The upper middle part of the abdomen contains the liver, the cardiac region of the stomach, part of the body of the stomach, the pyloric region of the stomach, and the pancreas.
The liver filters blood and creates bile, which is a substance that helps in the breakdown and absorption of fat in the foods you eat.
The cardiac region of the stomach is where food enters from the esophagus.
The pyloric region of the stomach is the last part of the stomach before food enters into the duodenum of the small intestine.
The pancreas is a large glandular organ that releases digestive enzymes and hormones.
The lower middle part of the abdomen contains the urinary bladder, rectum, and anus.
The urinary bladder is the organ that collects urine for excretion out of the body through the urethra.
The rectum goes into the anus, the final section of the large intestine that carries stool for excretion from the body.
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What Are The Symptoms And Causes Of Indigestion
Most of us have experienced indigestion and its symptoms, for example, upper abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, belching, nausea, vomiting, and the feeling of fullness after only eating a few bites. There are common causes of indigestion like GERD or pregnancy. More serious causes include cancers or heart attack.
The best way to relieve and even prevent symptoms of stomach bloating and gas, is a healthy diet and regular exercise, however, there are many things you can do to prevent and relieve bloating and gas.