Food Allergy Or Intolerance
Some people may be allergic to certain foods. These can irritate the stomach and may cause pain after eating.
An intolerance is a milder form of an allergy. Both allergies and intolerances can be caused by many different foods.
Common intolerances include gluten, wheat, and lactose.
People can keep a food diary if they think they might have an allergy.
A food diary is a written record of what they have consumed at each meal, including drinks and snacks. They should also include a note of when their stomach hurts.
Keeping a diary can help determine the foods causing an issue. People can then cut this food out of their diet.
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.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Abdominal Pain
While we dont usually feel the inner workings of our abdomen, pain can occur when there is a disruption of the normal functioning of an organ or area of tissue inside.
Abdominal pain can be caused by inflammation , organ distention or stretching , or loss of blood supply .
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as dietary supplements, can cause stomach pain. Medications can do this by irritating the stomach, leading to nausea, pain, and diarrhea, or by slowing digestion, leading to constipation. Be sure to check the label of any drug you take to see if abdominal pain is listed as a possible side effect.
- Lead poisoning, often from eating paint chips
- Emotional upset
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Why Does My Stomach Hurt
Tummy troubles are a common cause for a visit to the doctors office. When patients complain of stomach pain, they are sometimes describing pain that is throughout the abdomen area and may not actually be directly related to the organ known as the stomach.
Doctors first try to determine if a patients abdominal pain is caused by a structural or functional problem.
Sometimes the digestive tract does not function properly due to an abnormality with the structure of an organ. Medical imaging will show that the organ does not look normal and is not working properly.
The gastrointestinal system has its own nervous system to control the muscle contractions that digest the food you eat. Functional problems, also called motility disorders, result from poor nerve and muscle function in the digestive tract. Gastrointestinal organs with motility problems will usually look normal on medical imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRI scans, but the organs do not work like they should. Because functional disorders are hard to see in imaging, they can be challenging to diagnose.
How Is Abdominal Pain Treated
The treatment of abdominal pain will depend on its underlying cause.
Mild abdominal pain may go away on its own within hours or days. Mild pain and related symptoms can also often be treated with medicines from the pharmacy. Your pharmacist will be able to advise you on what type of product is best suited to your situation.
You should not use aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, to treat abdominal pain, other than period pain. These medicines may cause or irritate a stomach or bowel problem.
If you are treating mild abdominal pain with a known cause at home:
- use a hot water bottle or warm wheat pack on your abdomen
- eat bland foods when you can start eating again, or as advised by your doctor
Specific treatments, depending on the cause of your abdominal pain, include the following:
Gas Medicines designed to break down gas bubbles, such as antacids containing simethicone, are available over the counter. Gas-reducing medicines such as charcoal products, may help with ongoing wind problems. Dietary changes may also help. An Accredited Practising Dietitian or your doctor can help with dietary advice.
Gastroenteritis This usually only lasts a few days and clears up by itself. Rehydrating by drinking plenty of clear fluids is the most important treatment.
Pain due to muscle spasms Spasms in the wall of the bowel may be eased by antispasmodic medicines. Several are available, so talk to your pharmacist or doctor about which are right for you.
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The Link Between Your Gut Microbiome And Your Health
In addition, many of the underlying conditions that cause abdominal pain can lead to serious complications, including the possibility of structural damage to the digestive system from infection, cancer and its treatments, and inflammatory bowel disease .
To reduce the risk of complications, its important to seek medical attention for your abdominal pain if its sudden and severe, or if it includes symptoms like fever, bloody stool, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, or visible swelling.
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.
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Common Causes Of Pelvic Pain
As you might imagine, periods are the number one cause of pelvic pain in women. Most women get pelvic pain in the first couple of days of their period so-called menstrual cramps or simply period pain. Some women also get pelvic pain around the middle of their cycle when they ovulate. These pains vary hugely in severity, but if theyre lasting more than a few days, starting before your period, associated with other symptoms or having a significant impact on your life, they need checking out.
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Lifestyle Tips To Address Abdominal Pain
You may need to implement lifestyle changes in order to successfully manage your symptoms. Try these ideas which I recommend to my patients:
- Think before you eat! Remember that good digestion begins in the mouth, not in the stomach. Chew food thoroughly, at least 20 times, ensuring plenty of saliva is mixed with the food before swallowing.
- Try to eat when relaxed. If you are in an eating situation, but you are feeling anxious and tense with your stomach in knots already, then take small mouthfuls of food and chew thoroughly before swallowing. Have a glass of tonic water before the meal.
- Eat little and often graze dont gorge!
- Dont chew gum this can cause you to take in excess air, adding to your problems.
- Rethink your drinks! Dont drink water with meals. Drink water half an hour before a meal, and an hour following a meal. Replace caffeine with herbal tea try chamomile tea to calm the digestive system, licorice and fennel teas are calming and soothing, and peppermint tea is useful if youre feeling gassy but dont have too much as it can slow the bowel down and make you constipated. If you fancy something with a bit of fizz, try tonic water with real quinine in it. It is very soothing for an irritated stomach and intestines. Try to minimise alcohol as this irritates the lining of the gut and causes bloating and discomfort. Beer contains yeast and this can cause bloating and abdominal pain.
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Stomach Cramps With Bloating
Stomach cramps with bloating are often caused by trapped wind, or constipation. This is a very common problem that can be embarrassing, but is easily dealt with. Your pharmacist will be able to recommend a product, which can be bought over the counter to treat the problem. If problems persist, you should see your GP.
Why Does My Stomach Hurt After Sex The Bottom Line
Many people ask the questions âis it normal for your stomach to hurt after sex?â
Experiencing a stomach ache after sex is perfectly normal many women have some type of abdominal cramping after intercourse, and, in most cases, the pain is benign and will go away quickly.
If, however, you experience chronic or overwhelming pain, make sure you see a doctor to see whatâs going on and discuss treatment options.
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Belly Pain In The Lower Left Side Thats Worse When You Move
Abdominal pain in the left lower area of the abdomen may signify diverticulitis, small pockets in the colon that can become obstructed and tear. Traditional treatment includes antibiotics and stool softeners to reduce the risk of abscess formation. Physicians say according to recent research, antibiotics may no longer be needed in this scenario, and they recommend acetaminophen instead.
Causes Of Abdominal Pain In Adults
There are many reasons why you may have pain in your abdomen. People often worry about appendicitis, gallstones, ulcers, infections and pregnancy problems. Doctors also worry about these, as well as many other conditions.
Abdominal pain may not come from the abdomen. Some surprising causes include heart attacks and pneumonia, conditions in the pelvis or groin, some skin rashes like shingles, and problems with stomach muscles like a strain. The pain may occur along with problems in passing urine or with bowel motions, or period problems.With so many organs and structures in the abdomen, it can be hard for a doctor to be absolutely sure about the cause of your problem.
The doctor will ask you several questions and then examine you carefully. The doctor may perform no further tests. The cause of your pain may be quite clearly not serious. Another scenario may be that the doctor is unable to find a cause, but the pain gets better within hours or days. The doctor will assess whether the pain requires surgery or admission to hospital.
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Make Sure Youre Emotionally Ready For Sex
As I mentioned earlier, you could be experiencing stomach pain after sex if you were feeling anxious or upset before or during intercourse. Clearly communicate your feelings with your partner, so that youâre feeling comfortable and emotionally prepared for sex. The more prepared and desirous of sex you are, the more likely you are to enjoy it.
What Does Your Stomachache Really Mean
A stomachache is one of the most common terms used to describe abdominal pain and/or discomfort, but in some cases, it may not be your stomach creating the problem.
The term stomachache, is not a good description because there are multiple organs in the abdomen besides the stomach that can cause pain, said Dr. Alexander Akhavan. While gastrointestinal aches occurring in the small intestine, colon, stomach or appendix might be the culprit, Akhavan notes that other conditions can cause abdominal pain as well.
These conditions include kidney stones, gallbladder issues, urinary tract infections and even sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Understanding whats causing your stomachache can help when seeking relief options.
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You Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS, an intestinal disorder that can cause pain in your stomach, gas, diarrhea, and constipation, can show up in a number of different ways, but it can definitely cause stomach pain after you eat, Dr. Farhadi says. If your stomach keeps hurting after you eat and youre struggling with constipation or diarrhea, its a good idea to check in with your doctor to get tested for IBS.
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.
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Diagnosis Of Abdominal Pain In Children
When a problem is quite obvious, no tests are needed. If tests are needed, they may include:
- other special tests
- review by a specialist doctor.
If your child does undergo tests, the doctor should explain the results to you. Some results may take a number of days to come back and these results will be sent to your local doctor.
Should I Go To The Er For Lower Left Abdominal Pain
If your stomach pain is severe, chronic, or accompanied by additional symptoms, visit your nearest ER as soon as possible to receive a diagnosis and treatment. Some signs and symptoms that may mean your stomach pain is serious enough to go to the ER include: New onset of pain. Chronic abdominal pain.
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When To See A Doctor About Abdominal Pain
Go straight to your doctor or the emergency department of the nearest hospital if you have any of the following:
- pain lasting for several hours
- pain or vaginal bleeding if you are pregnant
- pain in your scrotum if you are a male
- pain and vomiting or shortness of breath
- pain and vomiting blood
- blood in your bowel motions or urine
- pain that spreads to your chest, neck or shoulder
- unable to move your bowels or pass gas
- any other concerns.
How Is Abdominal Pain Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask you detailed questions about your pain. Theyll want to know:
- Where you feel it.
- How long youve had it.
- If it comes and goes.
- If its getting worse.
- If it stays in one place or moves.
- What makes it better or worse.
- What other symptoms you have.
From your answers, your healthcare provider will try to determine if you need emergency treatment. Sometimes your healthcare provider will be able to tell right away that your pain is temporary and not serious. Sometimes they may suspect a more serious condition and may want to run some tests. And sometimes they wont be able to solve the mystery on the first visit. Your pain may subside, or you may have to return for further investigation.
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When To Seek Immediate Medical Help
Severe abdominal pain is a greater cause for concern. If it starts suddenly and unexpectedly, and persists, it should be regarded as a medical emergency, especially if the pain is concentrated in a particular area.
or go to your nearest hospital emergency department if this is the case.
If you feel pain in the area around your ribs, see the section on chest pain.
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.
- 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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What Tea Is Good For Stomach Pain
Tea is a common home remedy used for upset stomachs. Several kinds recommended for stomach pain include green, ginger, peppermint/spearmint, licorice, and holy basil teas. Be careful not to drink too much, and to avoid caffeinated teas if your stomach is sensitive. Tea is not a replacement for drinking water.