What Causes Abdominal Pain
There are many underlying causes of abdominal pain. Some of these are short-term causes that arent serious the symptoms may last only hours or days, and may clear up by themselves. Others are longer lasting and may be more serious.
There are also causes of abdominal pain that require urgent medical attention and may be life-threatening.
Some causes of abdominal pain are more common or less likely in certain age groups or genders.
Children often get stomach or abdominal pain. Some of the most common causes are gastroenteritis, wind or indigestion. Some causes of abdominal pain apply mainly to children, such as colic, intussusception, and testicular torsion. For more information on these, see abdominal pain in children.
Women may experience abdominal pain associated with their periods, pregnancy or problems with their urinary or reproductive system.
Older people are more likely than younger people to have abdominal pain due to heart or lung problems, bowel obstruction, or conditions such as diverticulitis or gallstones.
Causes Of Abdominal Pain And Diarrhea In Children
Like adults, children often experience abdominal pain and diarrhea because of stomach flu, infections, food allergies, lactose intolerance, or stress. But eating too much can also cause these symptoms.
Some children may have trouble telling the difference between when theyre hungry and when theyre full. This can cause them to overeat. Overeating puts stress on the digestive system, which can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.
What Is The Treatment For Appendicitis
Appendicitis is almost always treated as an emergency. Surgery to remove the appendix, which is called an appendectomy, is the standard treatment for almost all cases of appendicitis.
Generally, if your doctor suspects that you have appendicitis, they will quickly remove it to avoid a rupture. If you have an abscess, you may get two procedures: one to drain the abscess of pus and fluid, and a later one to take out the appendix. But some research shows that treating acute appendicitis with antibiotics may help you avoid surgery.
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Severe Stomach Pain After Eating A Fatty Meal
If you find yourself doubled over after eating a high-fat meal, you may be experiencing a gallbladder attack. “Women are especially prone to gallbladder disease,” says Hardeep Singh, MD, gastroenterologist from St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA. “Overweight women in their 40s are at highest risk.” The pain becomes worse after eating, lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and may come and go, becoming more constant and severe over time, says Singh.
What Is Abdominal Pain Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Most people experience abdominal discomfort or pain at some point in their lives. Abdominal pain is usually felt in the part of the trunk below the ribs, above the pelvis and the groin. It can range in intensity from a mild ache to severe, disabling pain.
While abdominal pain isnt normal, it isnt necessarily serious, and it often resolves itself.
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How Is Appendicitis Diagnosed
Diagnosing appendicitis can be tricky. Symptoms are often unclear or similar to those of other illnesses, including gallbladder problems, bladder or urinary tract infection, Crohn’s disease, gastritis, kidney stones, intestinal infection, and ovary problems.
These tests can help diagnose appendicitis:
- Examination of your abdomen to look for inflammation
- Urine test to rule out a urinary tract infection
- Rectal exam
General Abdominal Pain With Bloating
Possible explanation: irritable bowel syndrome
What is it: As a syndrome, IBS refers to a group of symptoms that have been identified in addition to abdominal pain and bloating, many people also experience changes in bowel habits like constipation and diarrhea. It is not well known what causes IBS, but it may be related to genetics, food sensitivity, stress, or an infection.
Treatment: There is no cure for IBS at this time, so treatment revolves around managing whatever symptoms are present. Medications to treat diarrhea and constipation can be supplemented by some changes to diet one highly recommended regimen is a low-FODMAP diet, which refers to foods that contain certain fermentable components.
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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.
Severe Acute Pain In The Lower Right Side Of The Abdomen
A 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. Physicians recommend seeing a doctor right away 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.
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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.
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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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.
Prognosis Of Abdominal Pain
How long your abdominal pain lasts, and whether it gets better or worse, will depend on the cause of your pain and how the pain responds to any treatments.
Many forms of abdominal pain tend to respond to self-care measures or simply get better on their own, including pain caused by constipation, food allergies or intolerances, or stomach viruses.
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Alternative Treatments For Stomach Cramps
Probiotics are one of the main alternative treatments for overall digestive health. These healthy bacteria are present in yogurt and fermented foods, such as kimchi. Supplements are also available. Using to replace and replenish the bacterial flora in your digestive tract may help reduce gas, bloating and cramping.
What Are The Symptoms Of Appendicitis
The classic symptoms of appendicitis include:
- Pain in your lower right belly or pain near your navel that moves lower. This is usually the first sign.
- Loss of appetite
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away. Timely diagnosis and treatment are important. Donât eat, drink, or use any pain remedies, antacids, laxatives, or heating pads.
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How Can I Feel Better
Most bellyaches don’t have a serious cause. They can happen for many different reasons, but most are easy to treat.
If stress or anxiety seem to be behind the pain, the doctor may recommend that you talk to a counselor or therapist. They help people figure out what’s behind their stress and give advice on how to fix problems or handle them better.
Treatments For Joint Pain
Joint pain can range from mildly irritating to debilitating. It may go away after a few weeks , or last for several weeks or months . Even short-term pain and swelling in the joints can affect your quality of life. Whatever the cause of joint pain, you can usually manage it with medication, physical therapy, or alternative treatments.
Your doctor will first try to diagnose and treat the condition that is causing your joint pain. The goal is to reduce pain and inflammation and preserve joint function. Treatment options include:
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How Do Doctors Find The Cause Of A Stomachache
To find the cause of a stomachache, doctors ask about:
- your symptoms
- illnesses you’ve had in the past
- health conditions that other family members have
Be honest with your doctor, even if a symptom seems embarrassing.
The doctor will do an exam and sometimes might order tests, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or blood test. It all depends on what the doctor thinks is causing the problem.
When Should You See A Doctor For Stomach Cramps
Stomach cramps from everyday causes, like gas, will resolve on their own. However, there are times when you should see a doctor about stomach cramps. It is the safest option to find potentially serious causes and get the correct treatment.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if mild stomach cramping lasts for a few days or is causing concern. See a doctor promptly when:
You also have abdominal pain or bloating that does not improve after a couple of days.
You are experiencing irregular or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
You are experiencing or loss of appetite.
You have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting that persists for several days.
You have or pain or burning with urination.
You have , which is a yellowing of the skin and eyes.
or go to your nearest emergency room for stomach cramps when:
You are pregnant or could be pregnant.
You are unable to pass stool.
You are or a coffee ground-like material or have bloody stools.
You had a recent injury or trauma involving the abdomen.
You have or discomfort, shortness of breath, , or arm, neck or .
Your abdomen is tender to touch, hard or swollen, or you have severe .
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How To Deal If You Think Your Have Ibs Or You Already Have Ibs:
If you think IBS is the cause of your stomach cramps and gas consult your doctor. Your doctor with review your symptoms and may need some laboratory investigations to confirm your condition.
REMEMBER: you cannot diagnose yourself for the first time with IBS, you have to see a doctor.
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If you already have IBS, then it is probably the cause of your stomach cramps and gas, try to:
- Stay away from diets that trigger your IBS and cause Gas plus other specific foods that may play a role in your IBS like FODMAPs and grassy foods.
- Eat slowly, move after eating.
- Take over-the-counter medications for stomach cramps and gas .
Red Sings: When To See Your Doctor For Your Stomach Cramps And Gas
The above 7 conditions are the common causes of stomach cramps and gas. But this is not the complete list of causes. Some other medical conditions can cause stomach cramps and gas. Some of these medical conditions may be dangerous and require emergency medical consultation.
They include :
- Intestinal obstruction.
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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
Which Medicines Can Cause Abdominal
Some medicines can cause abdominal pain as a side effect. Common examples include:
If you, or someone you are caring for, has an episode of abdominal pain that you think may be related to a medicine, talk to your pharmacist or doctor. There may be an alternative medicine that is better for you.
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Abdominal Bloating And Pain Treatments
Treatments for abdominal bloating and pain will address the underlying condition.
Examples may include antibiotics for infections. If an intestinal obstruction is the cause, your doctor may encourage bowel rest by decreasing oral intake.
If theres a deficiency moving contents within the GI tract, your doctor may prescribe medications to encourage intestinal movement. Surgery may be necessary in severe instances.
Serious Symptoms That Might Indicate A Life
In some cases, stomach cramps may accompany symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care for symptoms such as:
Bloody or black stools, or major
Difficulty breathing or severe shortness of breath
Pulsating mass in abdomen
Rapid pulse or rapid breathing
Severe abdominal pain or swelling
unrelated to normal menstruation
Vomiting blood or black material
Yellow skin and eyes
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Right Side Of The Abdomen
The upper right side of your abdomen contains the gallbladder, liver, and first part of the small intestine.
The gallbladder is a small sac that stores bile made by the liver. The duodenum, known as the first portion of the small intestine, is where food empties from the stomach into the small intestine.
The center right side of the abdomen contains the ascending colon and the transverse colon. Food then passes from the ascending colon to the transverse colon.
The cecum of the large intestine with the appendix and the small intestine are in the lower right side of the abdomen. The cecum is the first part of the large intestine that the end of the small intestine connects to.
Some experts believe the appendix plays a role in the immune system. Others think it has no purpose.
If your doctor performs a physical exam and then suspects a medical condition is causing your abdominal bloating or pain, theyll run various medical tests.
The types of tests they order will depend on your medical history and physical exam results.
Some common tests for abdominal problems include the following: