Signs And Symptoms Of Pain In Upper Stomach
People experiencing pain in the upper stomach may have only one symptom or may have a combination of several symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms of pain in the upper stomach:
Belching is natural and common. Its your bodys way of getting rid of excess air. Everyone belches from time to time. However, if it interferes with your day-to-day life, it could be a sign of something more serious.
Most people have a regular desire to eat, but if you lose this desire, or appetite, the reason could be connected to pain in the upper stomach.
An unexplained drop in weight can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Pain in the upper stomach combined with weight loss could be related to disorders that prevent your body from absorbing the nutrients it needs.
Hard Stomach During Pregnancy
Generally, you expect a hard stomach when youre pregnant. Your hard-feeling stomach is caused by the pressure of your uterus growing and putting pressure on your abdomen.
The hardness of your stomach while pregnant can be more pronounced if you eat a low-fiber diet or drink a lot of carbonated beverages.
If your experience severe pain along with your hard stomach, you should see your OB-GYN or seek immediate medical attention. Sometimes severe pain in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is an indicator of miscarriage.
Although more common in the third trimester, in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, discomfort can come from labor contractions or Braxton-Hicks contractions. Typically Braxton-Hicks contractions pass. If the contractions dont pass and become more persistent, it might be a sign that youre going into labor.
Stress And Stomach Pain: When Should You See A Specialist
Do you ever feel like theres a knot in your stomach when youre worried or stressed? Do nerves make you feel butterflies in your gut? If so, youre not alone.
As a gastroenterologist, a specialist in the treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver, I help patients determine if their stomach pain is stress-related or if their symptoms are caused by a more serious condition.
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What Causes Mild To Moderate Abdominal Pain
Most Australians will experience mild or moderate abdominal pain from time to time. Often these episodes last only a few hours or days. They may clear up without the need for treatment. However, you may be more comfortable managing the symptoms with medicines from your pharmacy or doctor.
Some of the causes of short-term abdominal pain are:
Causes Of Acute Abdominal Pain
Pain can arise from many causes, including infection, inflammation, ulcers, perforation or rupture of organs, muscle contractions that are uncoordinated or blocked by an obstruction, and blockage of blood flow to organs.
Immediately life-threatening disorders, which require rapid diagnosis and surgery, include
) are frequently done to look for signs of a urinary tract infection or a kidney stone. Blood tests are often done but rarely identify a specific cause . An ultrasound Ultrasonography Ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of internal organs and other tissues. A device called a transducer converts electrical current into sound waves… read more is helpful if doctors suspect a gallbladder or gynecologic disorder. An endoscopic evaluation, using cameras to look inside the gastrointestinal tract, may be needed.
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Sudden And Severe Onset Stomach Pain
When mid-abdominal pain occurs suddenly especially in people with a history of peptic ulcer disease or in those who take excessive amounts of aspirin or NSAIDs it may be a sign of a perforation that could require emergency surgery. A tear could leak air and gastric content which can lead to a condition called peritonitis, and eventually, septic shock. Surgery would be required to seal the perforation.
If you’re experiencing chronic stomach pain, take steps now to head off any bigger problems down the road. Your primary care provider can help get to the bottom of what’s causing your issues and create a plan to help improve your gut health. Your plan may include medication, lifestyle changes, a healthier diet and stress management techniques.
7. Right or left lower abdominal pain in women
Sudden onset of right lower abdominal pain or left lower abdominal pain can indicate a ruptured ovarian cyst in a woman who is in the middle of her menstrual cycle. This kind of pain could also be a sign of ovarian torsion, which is the rotation of the ovary and part of the fallopian tube, or possibly a twisting of the ovary due to reduced blood supply. Seek treatment immediately at the nearest emergency department. Surgery to remove the ovary may be required.
What Are The Four Types Of Abdominal Pain
Since your abdomen it is home to many organs, your healthcare provider may want to narrow down the kind of pain youre having by narrowing down the region youre feeling it in. Healthcare providers often divide the abdomen into quadrants or four parts. They may ask if your pain is in the:
- Right upper quadrant.
- Left lower quadrant.
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Types Of Abdominal Pain
There are several types of abdominal pain, which are based on how quickly your pain starts and how long it lasts:
- Acute pain starts over a few hours or days and may come with other symptoms.
- Chronic pain lasts longer — from weeks to months or more — and may come and go.
- Progressive pain gets worse over time and often comes with other symptoms.
What Causes Upper Abdominal Pain
Upper abdominal pain is discomfort in the area between your belly button and ribs.
It can be difficult to identify the source of pain felt in the upper abdomen, as several vital organs and muscles are located here. Any pain you feel may have many causes.
Some causes of upper abdominal pain are more common than others and can be determined by the type of pain they cause.
If your pain persists, or has been occurring for some time, you should see a doctor.
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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
What Investigations Might Be Advised
Some conditions may not need any investigations. Otherwise, the type of investigation will depend on which part of the gut is affected. Blood tests sometimes provide useful information about what is causing abdominal pain. Sometimes an X-ray or ultrasound scan will be carried out, which will look for specific things your doctor may suspect. The gut can be looked at directly with endoscopy. A gastroscopy will look at the oesophagus and stomach, and a colonoscopy will look at the large bowel. More details can be found in the individual condition leaflets, mentioned above.
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What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and medical history. Your specific symptoms, the location of pain and when it occurs will help your provider detect the cause.
LOCATION OF YOUR PAIN
- Where do you feel the pain?
- Is it all over or in one spot?
- Does the pain move into your back, groin, or down your legs?
TYPE AND INTENSITY OF YOUR PAIN
- Is the pain severe, sharp, or cramping?
- Do you have it all the time, or does it come and go?
- Does the pain wake you up at night?
HISTORY OF YOUR PAIN
- Have you had similar pain in the past? How long has each episode lasted?
- When does the pain occur? For example, after meals or during menstruation?
- What makes the pain worse? For example, eating, stress, or lying down?
- What makes the pain better? For example, drinking milk, having a bowel movement, or taking an antacid?
- What medicines are you taking?
OTHER MEDICAL HISTORY
- Have you had a recent injury?
- Are you pregnant?
What Is Upper Abdominal Pain
Upper abdominal pain is pain that is experienced in the esophagus or stomach. There are many reasons for upper abdominal pain varying in severity. For some, upper abdominal pain is temporary and a rare occasion. For others, it is a chronic experience that can disrupt their daily life. Narrowing down on your upper abdominal pain can help you get a proper diagnosis and receive the proper treatment for reducing your discomfort.
Stomach pain in general is one of the most common reasons for a person to visit their doctor. Upper abdominal pain may be a direct result of a stomach condition, or it can be a symptom of a problem in another organ in the body. Its important to pay close attention to your upper abdominal pain to understand the underlying cause. For example, you should take note of when upper abdominal pain occurs , its frequency, intensity, and any other symptoms that may accompany your upper abdominal pain.
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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 briefly discussed below .
Other Abdominal Pain Causes
Abdominal pain can also occur due to the following.
- Bowel issues: Both diarrhea and constipation can cause abdominal pain symptoms. If your bowel movements are less than normal, you can expect some form of abdominal pain.
- Stress: Many diseases can come from mental and physical distress. Anxiety and panic disorders are connected to abdominal pain as well.
- Internal injuries: Internal bleeding, stomach ulcers, and tearing in any of the stomach muscles, lining, or nearby organs can cause severe abdominal pain that should be treated as soon as possible.
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Causes Of Pain In Upper Stomach
There are several causes of pain in the upper stomach. Some upper stomach pain goes away on its own. For others, pain in the upper stomach may indicate there are underlying issues, such as:
When the muscle that normally keeps acid down in the stomach doesnt work properly, it can lead to heartburn . If you experience heartburn a few times a week or if over-the-counter antacids arent working, you may want to call your doctor.
Inflammation of the stomach
Sometimes pain in the upper stomach may be caused by gastritis. Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach as a result of a bacterial infection.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the large gland behind the stomach , Normally, digestive fluid travels from the pancreas to the small intestine and activates to help digest food. If this fluid activates while its still inside the pancreas, it causes irritation and inflammation.
Pain in the upper stomach may be due to ulcers . Different things can cause ulcers, most commonly bacteria or anti-inflammatory drugs that damage the stomachs lining over time. Symptoms of ulcers may include a burning sensation, nausea, vomiting, or heartburn.
Questions For Diagnosing The Cause Of Upper Abdominal Pain
To diagnose your condition, some questions your doctor may ask include:
- Where do you feel the pain?
- Is the pain precise, or is it hard to pinpoint where it is?
- When did the pain start?
- Have you had pain like this before?
- How severe is the pain?
- How would you describe your pain? Is it sharp or dull, constant, or intermittent?
- Does anything make the pain go away or make it worse?
- Have you been injured?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
- What medications are you taking?
- What is your medical history?
- Have you had surgery recently?
- Could you be pregnant?
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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.
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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When In Doubt About Your Abdominal Pain 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 outweighed 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 45.1 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 if you should seek help immediately. Here are some of the most common signs your tummy troubles need more than an over-the-counter remedy.
In General What Conditions Do Gastroenterologists Treat
Gastroenterologists can evaluate for and treat a wide variety of conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease , gastroesophageal reflux disease , celiac disease, peptic ulcer disease, obesity and more. GI doctors also routinely perform screenings for colon cancer.
My area of specialty is in prevention and early detection of cancers such as colorectal, gastric and pancreatic cancer. I enjoy helping patients, especially those with a family history, understand their risk for cancer while offering genetic testing, screening and more.
Overall, its important for patients to openly discuss stress and GI symptoms with their doctors. Primary care doctors can help manage stress and treat symptoms, but in some cases it may be necessary to see a gastroenterologist to evaluate for other conditions.
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