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.
Causes Of Stomach Pain Based On Location
- Upper right: Gallstones, cholecystitis, stomach ulcer, duodenal ulcer, hepatitis.
- Upper center: Heartburn/indigestion, hiatal hernia, epigastric hernia, stomach ulcer, duodenal ulcer, hepatitis.
- Upper left: Functional dyspepsia, stomach ulcer, gastritis, pancreatitis.
- Middle right: Kidney stones, kidney infection, inflammatory bowel disease , constipation.
- Middle center: Umbilical hernia, appendicitis, stomach ulcer, IBD, pancreatitis.
- Middle left: Kidney stones, kidney infection, IBD, constipation.
- Lower right: Appendicitis, IBD, constipation, pelvic pain.
- Lower center: Bladder infection, prostatitis, IBD, inguinal hernia, pelvic pain.
- Lower left: Constipation, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, IBD, pelvic pain, inguinal hernia.
When to Seek Medical Help
According to Dr. Kingsley, you should call your primary care physician if mild pain lasts more than a couple of days, or if the severe stomach pain is accompanied by other symptoms.
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.
When to make an appointment to see your doctor
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 discussed below.
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The Most Common Causes Of Stomach Pain
Most stomach or abdominal pain is the result of a temporary condition and is not serious. This kind of pain stems from a digestion issue, menstruation, or a passing virus. For example:
- Digestion issues, including indigestion, gas, constipation, diarrhea, food allergies, and food poisoning, are all extremely common causes of stomach pain. In most cases, the discomfort will go away within a few hours or a few days
- Inflammation caused by an irritation or infection. Common causes of inflammation include stomach flu, peptic ulcers, or a urinary tract infection
- Menstruation sometimes causes stomach pain if the woman experiences menstrual cramps or ovulation-related pain
Signs And Symptoms Of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain may take several different forms. In addition to how severe it is, abdominal pain can be described in the following ways:
Generalized Pain This refers to pain felt in more than half of your abdominal area, and is typical of stomach viruses, indigestion, or gas as the cause of your pain.
Cramping This type of pain come and goes, or changes in its severity or perceived position in your abdomen. Cramping is rarely serious and is typical of gas, passing a stool, or menstruation as the cause of your pain.
Its important to call your doctor if your abdominal pain is so severe that you cant move without feeling more pain, or sit still in a comfortable position.
- Nausea and vomiting that doesnt resolve
- Weight loss
- Abdomen very tender to touch
- Swollen abdomen
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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.
What Causes Chronic Gastritis
There are several different types of gastritis and the causes of gastritis are varied as well-
- Bacterial or Fungal Infection
One of the most common forms of gastritis is caused by a bacteria called H. Pylori. This bacteria affects the stomach and causes inflammation of the stomach lining, leading to chronic gastritis. Certain fungal infections also cause this disease.
Pylori infections are more common in developing countries as compared to wealthy nations. However, H. Pylori infections are more common than we suspect. At least 33% of the population in the U.S.A suffers from this infection and experiences symptoms of chronic gastritis due to it.
Chronic stress is also one of the leading causes of gastritis. Stress has been associated with several gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, bloating, diarrhoea, or upset stomach. Long-term stress causes an imbalance and affects gut health adversely. This leads to chronic gastritis if it is not addressed.
Certain substances like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, etc are irritants and tend to cause inflammation in the stomach lining. They disturb the natural balance in the stomach and lead to gastritis due to prolonged use.
- Old Age
- Other diseases
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When Should I See My Doctor
In some cases, you should seek urgent medical attention or consult a doctor if you have abdominal pain.
If you have a sudden, severe, incapacitating pain in your abdomen, go immediately to your nearest emergency department or call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.
You should also seek urgent medical attention if you have pain that:
- is severe and/or getting worse
- has lasted for several hours or more
- wakes you from sleep
- is spreading to your neck, chest or shoulders
- makes it difficult to swallow
Urgent medical attention is also required if you have abdominal pain accompanied by
- unexplained weight loss
- skin that appears yellow
If you are experiencing pain high up in your abdomen that is made worse by exercise it could be angina or a heart attack. If you, or someone near you is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance.
If you are pregnant and experiencing abdominal pain, check with your doctor or midwife. Abdominal pains are common in pregnancy, but should always be checked out.
If your abdominal pain does not match the situations above, but it is recurrent or persistent , or it started mild but is worsening, you should still consult a doctor.
How May Acute Nausea And Vomiting Be Treated
The first goal of treatment for nausea and vomiting is to prevent or treat dehydration. Treatment also depends on the cause of the nausea and vomiting. Any medical condition causing your nausea and vomiting will also be treated. Treatment is also aimed at stopping or preventing your signs and symptoms. You may need one or more of the following:
- Medicines may be given to calm your stomach and stop your vomiting. You may also need medicines to help you feel more relaxed or to stop nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness. Gastrointestinal stimulants may be used to help empty your stomach and bowels. This can help decrease your nausea and vomiting.
- IV fluids may be given to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. This may be needed it you cannot drink liquids.
- Nasogastric tube: An NG tube is put into your nose, and passes down your throat until it reaches your stomach. Food and medicine may be given through an NG tube if you cannot take anything by mouth. The tube may instead be attached to suction if healthcare providers need to keep your stomach empty.
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Treatment For Abdominal Pain In Adults
Your treatment depends on what is causing your pain, but may include:
- Pain relief â your pain may not go away fully with painkillers, but it should ease.
- Fluids â you may have fluids given into a vein to correct fluid loss and rest your bowel.
- Medicines â for example, you may be given something to stop you vomiting.
- Fasting â your doctor may ask you not to eat or drink anything until the cause of your pain is known.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About My Abdominal Pain
Always see your doctor if your pain is unexplained, persistent or severe, or if you have been injured or are pregnant.
Also, see your doctor if your pain is accompanied by any of these symptoms:
- Persistent fever.
- Blood in your stools, urine or vomit.
- Swelling and tenderness to the touch.
- Jaundice .
- Pain in any other part of your body.
- Shortness of breath or symptoms that get worse with exertion.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
So many things can cause abdominal pain that its inevitable well all experience it from time to time. Common causes, such as gas and indigestion, menstrual cramps, or even food poisoning and the flu may be instantly recognizable. Other causes may be more mysterious. And sometimes stomach pain is a sign of an unsuspected or serious condition.
Your healthcare provider will always be interested in your abdominal pain, especially if its unexplained. Common causes are often easy to treat, and having your condition diagnosed can help you find relief. Even if your stomach pain is mild, make sure you see your healthcare provider if it doesnt go away, keeps coming back or gets worse.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/18/2022.
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How Do Providers At Children’s Colorado Diagnose Chronic Abdominal Pain
Children who have been evaluated and treated by a gastroenterologist but still experience chronic abdominal pain that impacts their function or quality of life are often referred to our Chronic Pain Clinic. Here, they are evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of specialists who are experts in the biopsychosocial model of pain.
Experts at the Chronic Pain Clinic understand the complex interplay of the biological, psychological, individual, social, and environmental factors that contribute to and maintain chronic abdominal pain symptoms and subsequent disability.
How Is The Cause Of Abdominal Pain Diagnosed
Abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms seen by GPs .
Information about your symptoms and the location of the abdominal pain can help a doctor diagnose the cause of your pain. They will want to know how long you have had the pain and may want to do a physical examination. If you are female, this may include a pelvic examination. If you are male, it may include checking your penis and scrotum.
They may suggest you have some blood tests or other diagnostic procedures done, especially if you have had the symptoms for some time.
Tests and procedures that may help in diagnosing the cause of abdominal pain include:
Other procedures that may be suggested, depending on your gender, include:
- pregnancy test and/or pelvic ultrasound
- ultrasound of the scrotum
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What Is Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is discomfort or other uncomfortable sensations that you feel in your belly area. Just about everybody at one time or another will get a bellyache.
Most causes of abdominal pain aren’t reasons to worry, and your doctor can easily diagnose and treat the problem. Sometimes, though, it can be a sign of a serious illness that needs medical attention.
Common Causes Of Upper Abdominal Pain
The common causes of upper abdominal pain are typically the byproducts of the digestive process. The pains are usually felt in the upper area of the abdomen, as well as in the chest, neck or shoulders. The common symptoms are:
- bloating and gas
- loss of appetite
The management of the pains and symptoms can usually be accomplished by changes to the diet, eating habits and lifestyle. The avoidance of caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol will reduce the symptoms.
There are cases where people have described the warning signs of a heart attack as upper abdominal pain or heartburn. The pain can feel like a burning in the chest, or the chest being pressed by something heavy. This type of pain may also be felt in the jaw, the neck or the arms.
Heart attack victims may also experience breathlessness, sweating and nausea along with the burning or the chest pain. A person experiencing these symptoms, together with a family history of heart conditions, should seek immediate medical attention in an emergency room in New Braunfels, Texas.
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Eat Plenty Of Fruit And Vegetables
It is recommended that we eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit or vegetables each day. If you eat a lot of fruit and vegetables then your chances of developing heart disease, a stroke or bowel cancer are reduced. In addition, fruit and vegetables:
- Contain lots of fibre, which helps to keep your bowels healthy. Problems such as constipation and diverticular disease are less likely to develop.
- Contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, which are needed to keep you healthy.
- Are naturally low in fat.
- Are filling but are low in calories.
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
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Treatment Options For Chronic Diarrhea
Anti-diarrheal medications can relieve diarrhea, but these medications arent recommended as a long-term therapy.
Treatment for chronic diarrhea depends on the underlying cause. For example, if youre diagnosed with a medical condition like ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease, pancreatitis, or celiac disease, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you and recommend the best course of action. Treatment might include prescription medications like an immunosuppressant or a corticosteroid.
Diarrhea may improve as your health improves.
Additional treatment options for chronic diarrhea include:
Home Remedies And Natural Remedies
Chronic diarrhea may develop after taking a prescription medication such as an antibiotic. Talk to your doctor about alternative drugs. If one isnt available, incorporate probiotics into your diet to restore stool bulk. These are available in yogurt and capsule form.
Fiber supplements are associated with relieving constipation. But certain fiber supplements can also relieve chronic diarrhea because of its water-holding effect. Taking psyllium on a daily basis can produce bulkier stools and lessen or eliminate diarrhea caused by IBS or medication.
Chronic diarrhea caused by an underlying medical condition isnt always preventable. But you can prevent chronic diarrhea due to infection by taking steps to keep your food and water supply clean. For example:
- Drink from a clean water source or filter your water.
- Thoroughly clean meat before cooking.
- Cook meat thoroughly.
- Wash your hands after handling food.
- Clean kitchen surfaces to prevent contamination.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or attending to a sick person.
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Too Much Sugarless Gum
If you consume too much sorbitol, which is found in some sugar-free products, it can cause pain and diarrhea. According to a 2008 article in BMJ, a 21-year-old woman had an 11-pound weight loss, abdominal pain, and diarrhea from chewing about 16 sticks of gum a day.
A 46-year-old man had similar symptoms after chewing about 20 sticks of sugarless gum and eating sorbitol-containing sweets daily. “Sorbitol goes into your GI tract and since your body can’t absorb it, it gets to the bacteria in your colon, which eat it and produce gas and fluids that contribute to diarrhea,” explains Dr. Raymond.
To fix the problem, cut back on the amount of sugarless gum you chew.