What The Doctor Does
Doctors first ask questions about the person’s symptoms and medical history. Doctors then do a physical examination. What they find during the history and physical examination often suggests a cause of the pain and the tests that may need to be done or come and go . Chronic abdominal pain usually occurs in children… read more ).
Doctors ask particularly about activities that relieve or worsen the pain. Whether the pain or other digestive upset occurs after eating or drinking dairy products is important because lactose intolerance is common, especially among blacks, Hispanics, Asians , and American Indians. Doctors also ask about other symptoms , about diet, and about any surgery involving the abdomen, drugs used, and previous tests and treatments for the pain. Whether any family members have disorders that cause abdominal pain is also important.
Doctors also ask about a person’s diet because ingesting large amounts of cola beverages, fruit juices , or gas-producing foods can sometimes be the cause of otherwise puzzling abdominal pain.
Between the initial visit and follow-up visits, people are often asked to record information about the pain, bowel movements, diet, any activities that seem to trigger pain, any remedies tried, and the effects of the remedies.
Stomach Pain In The Lower Right Part Of The Abdomen
Appendicitis is a serious medical emergency that can cause sudden, severe pain in the lower right part of your child’s stomach. If your child complains of stomach pain that moves to the lower right side of the belly, watch for other symptoms of appendicitis including:
You should contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if you suspect your child has appendicitis. Early diagnosis decreases risk of a ruptured appendix or serious complications.
What Is A Bloated Stomach
A bloated stomach is first and foremost a feeling of tightness, pressure or fullness in your belly. It may or may not be accompanied by a visibly distended abdomen. The feeling can range from mildly uncomfortable to intensely painful. It usually goes away after a while, but for some people, its a recurring problem. Digestive issues and hormone fluctuations can cause cyclical bloating. If your bloated stomach doesnt go away, you should seek medical care to determine the cause.
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Stomach Pain And Headache At The Same Time
When it comes to our health, we jump to the worst conclusions, especially when the cause of the health problem is unknown. And when you combine constant headaches with stomach pain, it can get worrisome for anyone experiencing it.
While not unfamiliar, those who experience migraines get recurrent attacks of pulsating pain, often on one side of the head, resulting in nausea and vomiting. In the case of abdominal migraines or stomach pain due to migraines, the ones affected are usually children. In addition to that, abdominal migraines are slightly less known, therefore, poorly understood.
Today, we will learn the causes, symptoms, and effects of abdominal pain, its similarities and differences with classic migraines, and its preventive measures and treatment options.
Lets begin with the causes first.
What Can I Give My Child For Stomach Pain
Stomach pain usually resolves itself after your child:
- Passes gas
- Recovers from a stomach virus
There’s no specific treatment for an upset stomach, but you can help relieve your child’s symptoms. Trusted home remedies for stomach pain in kids include:
- Offering plenty of clear liquids to keep your child hydrated
- Offering ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain
- Using a heating pad to ease cramps and pain
- Offering a bland diet, like crackers and soups
- Giving your child stool softeners, like MiraLAX® to ease constipation
- Mixing a probiotic in your child’s water, which may help stop diarrhea
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What Causes Chronic Abdominal Pain
The cause of chronic abdominal pain may not be found. The following are possible causes:
- Anxiety or stress
- Lactose intolerance or celiac disease
- Liver disease, cancer, or chronic pancreatitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, or Chron disease
- An ulcer in your esophagus or stomach, or an infection
- A hernia or tissue growth that causes organs and tissues to stick together
How Appendicitis Is Treated
If you have appendicitis, it’s likely your appendix will need to be removed as soon as possible.
Removal of the appendix, known as an appendicectomy or appendectomy, is 1 of the most common operations in the UK and its success rate is excellent.
It’s most commonly carried out as keyhole surgery .
Several small cuts are made in the abdomen, allowing special surgical instruments to be inserted.
Open surgery, where a larger, single cut is made in the abdomen, is usually used if the appendix has burst or access is more difficult.
It usually takes a couple of weeks to make a full recovery after your appendix has been removed.
But strenuous activities may need to be avoided for up to 6 weeks after having open surgery.
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How Common Is Stomach Bloating
Between 10% and 25% of otherwise healthy people complain of occasional abdominal bloating. As many as 75% describe their symptoms as moderate to severe. About 10% say they experience it regularly. Among those diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome , it may be as much as 90%. Up to 75% of women experience bloating before and during their period. Only 50% of people who experience bloating also report a distended abdomen.
What Causes Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is frequently caused by a problem in the digestive tract . However, it can also be caused by other organs located in the abdomen, such as the kidneys. Large blood vessels, such as the aorta are also found in the abdomen and may give rise to pain. Abdominal pain can even be caused by some medicines.
Causes of abdominal pain connected to the gut include:
- trapped wind or indigestion
- gallstones, gallbladder problems, liver problems
- medicines to help manage the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
Some of the causes of abdominal pain are short-term , whereas others are long-term or ongoing conditions. Find more information about the underlying causes of abdominal pain here.
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When To Connect With Your Doctor
Popper recommends contacting a doctor about stomach pain when it’s severe, lasts more than a few days, doesn’t improve with OTC treatments, or if the pain interferes with your sleep.
Important: An acute or sudden stomach ache that gets worse quickly or doesn’t go away can be serious. Get medical treatment right away if you experience:
What Other Symptoms Relate To Abdominal Pain
Pain in the abdomen may be experienced as aching, stabbing, burning, twisting, cramping, dull, or a gnawing pain.
The pain may also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a feeling of discomfort in the abdomen, bloating, constipation, wind , belching , fever, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, fever, dehydration or loss of appetite
Describing the pattern and location of your symptoms to a doctor may help them in identifying the cause of your abdominal pain. These causes include:
- Peptic ulcer The pain is often felt in the upper abdomen, as a knife-like pain which goes through to the back.
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease The pain usually causes a central burning pain that develops just under the breastbone, and may rise upwards. It may be accompanied by belching.
- Appendicitis The pain usually starts near the navel before moving down to the lower right abdomen when it becomes more constant.
- Gallstones or gallbladder irritation The pain is felt in the upper right abdomen, back or right shoulder.
- Lower abdominal pain: Also referred to as lower stomach pain, it is probably coming from your bowel.
- Period pain This is usually a dull, cramping pain, felt low down, which may radiate through to the back.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Chronic Abdominal Pain
Signs and symptoms of chronic abdominal pain will come and go. Your child may have them for a day or more, and they may go away but return. Your child may feel pain in all areas of his or her abdomen, and he or she may not want to eat. He or she may not want to do his or her daily activities, such as school or sports. He or she may also have any of the following:
- Slow growth or growth failure
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss without trying
When Should I Call My Child’s Doctor
- Your child has abdominal pain that wakes him or her up at night.
- Your child has pain on his or her right side that does not go away.
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child has new mouth sores, trouble swallowing, or is losing weight without trying.
- Your child is not drinking liquids, and he or she is not urinating.
- You have questions or concerns about your child’s condition or care.
Why Does Your Stomach Hurt
Stomach cramps can range from mild achiness to severe, stabbing pain.
Common causes of stomach cramps include eating foods that can irritate your stomach, constipation, food poisoning, or a stomach infection. People who have anxiety may also develop stomach cramps.
Pregnant people may experience stomach cramps as the fetus grows. Menstrual cramps are also very common, though they actually take place in the uterus.
Sometimes stomach cramps are constant. In this case, a chronic digestive illness, such as irritable bowel disease, may be the cause.
Most stomach cramps go away on their own within a few hours or a couple of days. Changing what you eat and taking over-the-counter medication can help with symptoms while you recover.
Some stomach cramps may require medical attention. You should be concerned about stomach cramps if they last for a week or longer or are so severe that you cant function, or you also have symptoms like fever or blood in your vomit or stool.
What Can Cause Stomach Pain In A Child
The most common causes of stomach pain in children include:
Additional stomach pain symptoms can vary based on what’s causing your child’s stomach to hurt, but may include cramping, diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea or vomiting. One of the most important symptoms to note is where your child is feeling pain in their stomach.
“One of the first questions we ask children is where their stomach hurts,” explains Dr. Mehta. “Location of the pain can help physicians determine what is causing the pain, in addition to other characteristics such as severity of pain, when it occurs, what makes it better or worse and accompanying symptoms.”
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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.
See Your Doctor As Soon As Possible If:
- your pain is no better after 2 hours of home care
- your abdomen is very painful
- your pain gets worse over time, or becomes sharper or stronger in one particular place
- your abdomen feels bloated or sticks out more than usual
- you cant stop vomiting
- you havent had a bowel motion or passed wind for 3 days
- youve lost your appetite
- there is blood in your vomit, urine or bowel motion, or vaginal bleeding that isnt a period.
You also need to see your doctor if you have other symptoms along with the pain such as fever or dizziness especially if those symptoms get worse over time or new symptoms develop.
Call Healthline if you are unsure what you should do.
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Diagnosis Of Abdominal Pain In Adults
If examinations and tests are needed, these may include:
- a rectal exam to check for hidden blood or other problems
- if you are a man, the doctor may check your penis and scrotum
- if you are a woman, the doctor may do a pelvic exam to check for problems in your womb , fallopian tubes and ovaries, and do a pregnancy test
- a blood test to look for infection or bleeding
- other blood tests may look at enzymes in the liver, pancreas and heart to sort out which organ may be involved
- a urine test to look for a urine infection or blood
- an ECG to rule out a heart attack
- other tests, including x-ray, ultrasound or CT scan
- sometimes you may be referred to another doctor to help find the cause of the problem.
- endoscopy is an examination where a flexible tube with a light and video camera at the tip is used to examine some internal organs without the need for surgery. Different names are used depending on which organ is being looked at.
If you do have tests, the doctor will explain the results to you. Some results may take a number of days to come back and these will be sent to your local doctor.
When To Get Medical Help
If you have abdominal pain that’s gradually getting worse, contact a GP or your local out-of-hours service immediately.
If these options are not available, call NHS 111 for advice.
If your pain eases for a while but then gets worse, your appendix may have burst, which can lead to life-threatening complications.
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Why Do I Have Constant Stomach Pain
There are dozens of possible catalysts for constant stomach pain. Your continual abdominal pains may be caused by something minor as overeating or could be a result of something more serious such as tumors. Here are some of the most common causes.
Stress can create a multitude of health problems, including constant stomach pain. Acid reflux is a common result of stress and stress may also cause a reduction in the production of prostaglandins, a protective coating that helps protect the stomach from acids.
- Lactose intolerance is a common ailment that affects millions of people. Lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products, may cause mild but constant stomach pain, bloating, burping, gas, or diarrhea. The cure for this one is simple: drink lactose-free milk or avoid dairy products altogether.
- Gluten intolerance: Gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley. Some people cannot ingest gluten without suffering stomach pain, bloating, gas, fatigue, and diarrhea. This is because the small intestine is damaged by the gluten and is unable to absorb nutrients. Known as celiac disease in its most severe form, gluten intolerance can usually be controlled with diet.
Sometimes small stones form in the gall bladder which is located in the upper right portion of the abdomen. These stones can block the duct that opens into the intestines and pain results. You may notice the pain particularly after eating a fatty meal.
Causes Of Acute Stomach Pain
- Eating Too Much. Eating too much can cause an upset stomach and mild stomach pain.
- Hunger Pains. Younger children may complain of stomach pain when they are hungry.
- GI Virus . A GI virus can cause stomach cramps as well as vomiting and/or diarrhea.
- Food Poisoning. This causes sudden vomiting and/or diarrhea within hours after eating the bad food. It is caused by toxins from germs growing in foods left out too long. Most often, symptoms go away in less than 24 hours. It often can be treated at home without the need for medical care.
- Constipation. The need to pass a stool may cause cramps in the lower abdomen.
- Strep Throat. A strep throat infection causes 10% of new onset stomach pain with fever.
- Bladder Infection. Bladder infections usually present with painful urination, urgency and bad smelling urine. Sometimes the only symptom is pain in the lower abdomen.
- Appendicitis . Suspect appendicitis if pain is low on the right side and walks bent over. Other signs are the child wont hop and wants to lie still.
- Intussusception . Sudden attacks of severe pain that switch back and forth with periods of calm. Caused by one segment of bowel telescoping into a lower piece of bowel. Peak age is 6 months to 2 years.
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