When To Call The Doctor About Abdominal Pain
If your abdominal pain is serious, doesn’t go away, or keeps coming back, talk to your doctor. Call 911 right away if your belly hurts because you had a recent injury there or if you have any chest pain.
You should also contact your doctor as soon as you can if you have symptoms along with the pain, such as:
- Can’t keep food down for more than 2 days
- Signs you’re getting dehydrated, including not urinating frequently, dark-colored urine, and being very thirsty
- Can’t have a bowel movement, especially if you’re also vomiting
- Pain when you pee, or you need to urinate often
Also call your doctor if:
- Your belly is tender to the touch
- Pain lasts more than a few hours
You may have other symptoms that could be a sign of a problem inside your body that needs treatment as soon as possible. Get medical care right away if you have abdominal pain and you also:
- Have unexplained weight loss
When To Make An Appointment To See Your Doctor
Schedule an appointment to see your doctor if:
- Your stomach pain doesnt go away within a couple of days.
- The pain comes back after going away.
- Symptoms like diarrhea dont go away within a couple of days.
- Youre urinating more or less often, and/or its painful.
- You have unintended weight loss.
Know your body, Dr. Kingsley says. If you start having pain that you have not had before and does not go away, you should contact your doctor to be evaluated further.
Bottom line: Trust your gut! Contact your doctor if youre concerned about lingering or unusual stomach pain.
National Health Service, Stomach Ache
National Health Service Inform, Stomach Ache and Abdominal Pain
U.S. National Library of Medicine, Abdominal Pain
Bloating Can Be A Warning Sign Of Ovarian Cancer
A swollen or bloated abdomen, persistent abdominal pain, and feeling constantly full are all potential warning signs of ovarian cancer, according to The Clearity Foundation. Since the symptoms are common and can be attributed to a number of other conditions, the foundation revealed that only a small number of women are diagnosed early. “The rest find out about their disease after it has spread outside the ovaries or fallopian tubes,” per the site. This makes it much more difficult to treat and eradicate.
To make sure you aren’t ignoring possible symptoms, Cure Our Ovarian Cancer charity recommends seeing a doctor if you experience severe bloating, painful or burning bowel movements, the sensation of an abdominal mass, or other unusual symptoms for longer than two weeks.
Women should be on the lookout for persistent symptoms that don’t go away, warns the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. “Because these signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer have been described as vague or silent, only approximately 15 percent of ovarian cancer is diagnosed in the early stages.”
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Noisy Abdomen / Rumbling
A noisy gut does not always mean youre hungry. There may be other reasons why your stomach is churning and gurgling. The digestive system causes belly noises, known as borborygmi when fluids or air moves around your small and large intestines.
Borborygmi Definition: The term for the gurgling or rumbling noises made by the movement of gas and fluids in the intestines. During the process called peristalsis, the small intestine and stomach muscles contract and move contents forward in your gastrointestinal tract. These gas noises in stomach can occur both when the stomach is empty and when its full.
Peristalsis Definition: A series of wave-like contraction and relaxation of stomach muscles. Two hours after the stomach contents are emptied, the brain signals the digestive muscles to begin peristalsis again. The belly noises and contractions of an empty stomach can make you hungry. A noisy gut may be louder in this case because the intestines and stomach are empty the stomach noises and pain are not muffled. Take note that you may swallow a lot of air because of eating too fast or talking while eating. This can lead you to have louder stomach rumbles after eating.
Gastrointestinal Causes Of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain may arise from problems in the digestive tract including:
- : You may experience early signs of appendicitis in the center of the abdomen, but the telltale sign is lower right abdominal pain and fever. Appendicitis is often a medical emergency because an inflamed and infected appendix can rupture and spread the infection.
- Bowel blockage or obstruction: Marked by stomach pain, and swelling, constipation, , bloating and nausea, a bowel obstruction can lead to intestinal tearing and infection if not treated promptly.
- Celiac disease: You may experience abdominal bloating and pain, , weight loss, and fatigue. There is no cure for celiac diseasea chronic, immune-mediated condition that causes your body to overreact to gluten and damages the lining of the small intestinebut eliminating gluten from your diet is a must.
- Colitis: An infection or inflammation of any part of your colon. Colitis is less severe than a form of inflammatory bowel syndromebecause UC is a chronic, lifelong condition. Antibiotics can clear bacterial colitis, and viral colitis will typically clear on its own.
- : An uncommon, but possible cause of abdominal pain. Symptoms may also include fatigue, blood in stool, a change in bowel habits, bloating, and gas.
- Gallstones: Upper-right abdominal pain is a classic sign of , especially after eating a meal. Medication may dissolve small gallstones, but is the most common treatment.
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Chewing Too Much Gum Can Leave You Bloated
Just as Violet experienced with that mythical piece of blueberry-flavored bubble gum, chewing gum can leave a person feeling painfully bloated albeit not as severe. There are actually a number of different triggers responsible for creating the sensation. Nutritional therapist Naomi Mead told Cosmopolitan that chewing gum can cause a person to accidentally swallow air while they chew. This trapped air in the gut can leave you feeling like a child’s balloon and can also be a major cause of painful bloating.
If you’re watching what you eat, chances are you’re also likely picking sugar-free gum over regular. Nutritionist Anne Mauney wrote in an article for the journal Food & Nutrition that sugar substitutes found in these gums can also be a very common cause of bloating. The issue comes from substances called sugar alcohols in the gum. While these substances taste sweet on the tongue and make you feel like you’re eating actual sugar they’re actually very hard for the body to digest. “Once in the intestinal tract, the sugar alcohol will meet bacteria that ferment it and release gas, which leads to bloating, cramps, pain and diarrhea,” she explained.
What Causes Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can be caused by many conditions. However, the main causes are infection, abnormal growths, inflammation, obstruction , and intestinal disorders.
Infections in the throat, intestines, and blood can cause bacteria to enter your digestive tract, resulting in abdominal pain. These infections may also cause changes in digestion, such as diarrhea or constipation.
Cramps associated with menstruation are also a potential source of lower abdominal pain, but these are more commonly known to cause pelvic pain.
Other common causes of abdominal pain include:
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How To Relieve Stomach Pain Symptoms
There isnt necessarily a cure for the stomach pain symptoms themselves. When your body is under stress, your stomach tends to hurt based on the acids in your stomach and the foods youve already eaten. If you have stomach pain as a result of an anxiety attack, you may need to wait it out.
Water can help a little, however. So consider sipping cool water. Antacids may also be beneficial in some cases, but if you have stomach pain often, you may not want to depend on antacid treatments.
Stomach pain from anxiety can be caused by several stress-related issues, including abdominal tension, digestion issues, and irritable bowel. Although the stomach pain may be caused by anxiety, the acids in the stomach are still very real. There are ways to treat both your stomach discomfort and anxiety.
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Upper Abdominal Pain Between The Ribcage
If you develop an aching or stabbing pain or pressure in the upper abdominal area just under the ribs, this may indicate a heart-related problem. Physicians say this pain is often accompanied by shortness of breath and is concerning if the pain persists. People often assume this type of pain is indigestion, and while that may be the case, anyone with risk factors such as diabetes or hypertension should see a doctor as soon as possible.
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When In Doubt About Your Abdominal Symptoms Physicians Say Its Best To Call Your Doctor Or Head To The Er
The egg salad didn’t 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 it’s severe enough or lasts for so long that you know it’s not simply a matter of eating something that didn’t 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.
Your Sex Life Could Be Leaving You Feeling Bloated
Sex can leave you feeling blissful, contented, and … bloated? It’s true, according to women’s health expert and physician Jennifer Wider. While the sensation of feeling bloated isn’t what you might expect after sex, its not uncommon, Wider told PopSugar. One cause of this bloating is a retroverted uterus, she said. When the uterus is retroverted, it tilts back towards other organs in the body. Sex can cause the uterus to painfully move against these other organs. Since that may be the only symptom of the condition women experience, the only way to know if your uterus is affected is to get a medical exam.
Wider cautioned that unprotected sex can also trigger bloat due to compounds called prostaglandins, which are found in semen. They can cause the uterus to contract, triggering a sensation of bloating. Lastly, bloating after sex can also be a byproduct of a woman’s menstrual cycle, the expert explained. Since hormones can cause numerous changes within the body, especially during one’s period, it wouldn’t be unusual for you to experience bloating as a result, she said.
Read Also: How To Reduce Gas In Stomach
Eating Too Much At Meal Times Can Leave You Feeling Bloated
You don’t need to down a Thanksgiving feast in order to feel like a hot air balloon. Even less excessive overeating can lead to feeling bloated. It makes sense. For starters, the sheer volume of the food consumed can expand your normally flat stomach and weigh you down, making you feel bloated. Eating food too quickly can also overwhelm your digestive system, making it sluggish and causing the gas that’s produced while eating to painfully expand your stomach and intestines. But the connection between overeating and bloating doesn’t stop there.
If you’re eating foods you don’t normally eat, that can also promote bloating, Laura Manning, a nutritionist at Mount Sinai Hospital explained to Self. If you’re eating foods with more fat or salt then you’re used to tolerating, she said, “those are two huge factors that can contribute to bloating.” The best ways to eliminate that bloated feeling in a hurry? According to Self, go on a brisk walk to help stimulate your digestive system or brew some mint tea, which can help to relax your digestive system.
Symptoms Of Stomach Pain After Meals
Most of the time, the causes of digestive trouble after eating are not too much to worry about. But if the pain is very strong, sudden, or long-lasting, it should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible.
Some common warning signs of stomach pain after a meal are:
Just because others can tolerate certain kinds of food well, does not mean you will too. Eating too fast, too much, or foods too high in fat can all trigger gas and bloating issues in the stomach. Try logging the foods you eat and tracking how your body responds to different things.
Stomach pains after eating, coupled with constipation, can spring from various lifestyle and dietary factors. For example, the abdominal muscles and diaphragm are needed to aid digestion, and insufficient fiber in the diet can make it hard for food to pass through your system properly.
Heartburn often accompanies stomach pain and indigestion. Heartburn is often caused by acid reflux, the reverse flow of stomach acid up into the esophagus, causing burning and discomfort. Too much alcohol and fatty food are often to blame.
Nausea is an important sign to look out for because it has several possible causes, anything from food poisoning to Crohns disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. If you regularly feel nauseous after eating, see a doctor.
Other symptoms and warning signs associated with stomach pain after eating are:
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What Are The Chances Of Having A Gallbladder Attack
While anyone with a gallbladder can develop gallstones, there are many known risk factors for developing them. Here are some common ones, per the NIDDK:
- Being a woman: This is because estrogen can boost biles cholesterol levels and make your gallbladder contract less.
- Being over 40: As you age, the chance of developing gallstones increases.
- Losing weight too quickly: Losing a lot of weight very quickly is hazardous because it makes your liver excrete more cholesterol into your bile, raising your risk of gallstones.
- Obesity and diabetes: Obesity can increase the cholesterol in your bile, so its also a risk factor, as are type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Having certain health conditions: Conditions like Crohns disease that screw up your bodys absorption of nutrients can also lead to gallstone formation. Additionally, people with hemolytic anemias, which are conditions where red blood cells continuously break down , are at increased risk. Thats because of how those damaged red cells can increase bilirubin, the chemical we mentioned that can raise your risk of pigment gallstones.
- Having a family history of gallstones: If members of your immediate family have had gallstones, youre at a higher risk of having them, too.
- Being of a certain cultural descent: Indigeneous people have the highest rate of gallstones. The reason: Certain genetic factors can increase the cholesterol in this populations bile. Mexican Americans also have a high risk of developing gallstones.
Is There Stage 4 Stomach Cancer In China
I just learned that my brother in China was diagnosed stage 4 stomach cancer last week. The surgery could not go on at his stage. However, the cancer seems not spread to lung, liver, but spread over his bowl. It is devastating after hearing this. I read a lot of research papers and articles about it.
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When To Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Get medical help immediately if:
- You have abdominal pain that is very sharp, severe, and sudden.
- You also have pain in the chest, neck, or shoulder.
- Youre vomiting blood, have bloody diarrhea, or have black, tarry stools
- You have a high fever.
- Youre having difficulty breathing.
- You develop consistent nausea and/or vomiting.
- Your abdomen is stiff, hard, and tender to the touch.
- You cant move your bowels, especially if youre also vomiting
Being Pregnant Can Leave You Feeling Bloated
We all know that things like a missed period and nausea can point to pregnancy, but according to What to Expect, bloating is another common and very typical sign of a new pregnancy and impending baby bump.
“You can blame on the hormone progesterone, which helps slow down digestion, giving the nutrients from foods you eat more time to enter your bloodstream and reach your baby,” the site explained. “While progesterone is essential for maintaining a healthy pregnancy, it also triggers that oh-so-delightful trio: bloating, burping and passing gas,” another What to Expect article revealed.
The reason for this bizarre occurrence? Progesterone relaxes muscle in your stomach and intestines, slowing digestion. This gives your body more time to absorb nutrients from the food you eat but also increases pressure throughout your digestive system leaving you feeling seriously uncomfortable and bloated. For many pregnant women, bloating usually starts to show up at around 11 weeks into a pregnancy and can unfortunately continue all the way up to the time of delivery.
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Urgent Advice: Speak To Your Gp As Soon As Possible If:
- you have severe abdominal pain, especially if it’s concentrated in one area
- the pain starts suddenly or unexpectedly
If your GP is closed, phone 111.
Serious causes of sudden severe abdominal pain include:
- appendicitis the swelling of the appendix means your appendix will need to be removed
- a bleeding or perforated stomach ulcer
- acute cholecystitis inflammation of the gallbladder, which may need to be removed
- kidney stones small stones may be passed out in your urine, but larger stones may block the kidney tubes, and you’ll need to go to hospital to have them broken up
- diverticulitis inflammation of the small pouches in the bowel that sometimes requires treatment with antibiotics in hospital
If your GP suspects you have one of these conditions, they may refer you to hospital immediately.
Sudden and severe pain in your abdomen can also sometimes be caused by an infection of the stomach and bowel . It may also be caused by a pulled muscle in your abdomen or by an injury.