Duration Of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can be brief or long-lasting, depending on its underlying cause. It can be ongoing or recurring, coming and going at what seem like random intervals or with certain activities or behaviors.
How long your abdominal pain lasts, or whether it comes and goes, doesnt necessarily correspond to how severe the underlying condition is.
When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
Some kinds of stomach pain need immediate attention. With others, you can call or visit your healthcare provider. It can be hard to know what you should do. Listen to your body and trust your instincts if you’re not sure.
If you have any of these symptoms along with stomach pain, call your healthcare provider within a day or two:
- Excessive vaginal bleeding or blood clots
- Vaginal bleeding that lasts for longer than usual
You should also call your healthcare provider if you have stomach pain while you are being treated for cancer.
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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Change In Bowel Movement Frequency
There is no magic number of bowel movements we should all be having each day. Some people go three-to-four times a day, and that is normal for them. Others only move their bowels once a day and that is their normal. However, if you or a loved one experiences a significant change in bowel movement frequency, whether more or less often, its important to discuss this change with your healthcare provider.
Can Stress Cause Stomach Pain
Yes. Stress and anxiety can cause stomach pain or make existing pain worse. Stress makes your body over-produce cortisol, the hormone associated with the fight-or-flight instinct. This can cause stomach cramps, as can stress-relieving behaviors like drinking caffeine or alcohol, smoking, or eating unhealthy foods.
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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.
Common Causes Of Stomach Pain
Harmless abdominal pain usually subsides or goes away within two hours.
- Gas: Formed in the stomach and intestines as your body breaks down food, this can cause general stomach pain and cramps. This often can be indicated by belching or flatulence.
- Bloating: Related to gas, this occurs when excessive gas builds up in your digestive tract. Your stomach will usually feel full, and you may experience cramps.
- Constipation: This occurs when you are having difficulty making bowel movements. If you are having two or fewer bowel movements a week, constipation is the likely cause. In addition to feeling bloated and nauseous, you may experience cramping and pain in your rectum.
- Indigestion: You typically experience this as an upset stomach, burning, or belly pain after eating.
- Stomach flu: Your stomach may hurt before each episode of vomiting or diarrhea.
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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.
Can Stomachaches Be Prevented
Not all belly pain can be prevented. But to help avoid common types of stomachaches:
- Wash your hands before eating or preparing food, and after using the bathroom.
- Don’t overeat, and try not to eat right before going to sleep.
- Drink plenty of water and eat fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to keep food moving through your digestive system.
- Avoid foods that have passed their expiration date or or weren’t stored properly.
- If you have a food allergy or intolerance, avoid eating foods that make you sick. If you have a food allergy, always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors, and know when you should use them.
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Using Apple Cider Vinegar As A Stomachache Cure
Another paradoxical-sounding remedy is using acidic drinks to relieve pain from gastric reflux. Since gastric reflux can result in stomach acid leaking out into places its not wanted, your stomachs acidity can end up lower than is optimal for digesting food.
Drinking apple cider vinegar can help improve the levels and ease an upset stomach. This assumes that youre able to, well, stomach the drink in the first place. While apple cider vinegar does its work best if taken raw, you may find mixing it with water, a teaspoon of honey, and sipping slowly to be the more tolerable option.
- Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one cup of warm water.
- Mix in one tablespoon of honey.
- Drink this remedy every three hours until pain is gone.
When In Doubt About Your Abdominal Symptoms 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 overrode 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 51 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 whether or not you should seek help immediately. Here are some of the most common signs your tummy troubles need more than an over-the-counter remedy.
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How Do I Handle Stomach Pain In Kids
Kids can get a stomach ache just like adults, and it often feels terrible for them. Feed your child simple foods like toast, banana, rice, and applesauce. If your child seems to suffer stomach pain after eating, you may want to ask their doctor to check for lactose or gluten intolerance or a new food allergy. Kids commonly experience stomach pain from constipation, gas, and illnesses like a UTI, or the stomach flu.
Belly Pain In The Lower Left Side That’s 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, recommending acetaminophen instead.
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Related Conditions Of Abdominal Pain
Some of the most common conditions associated with abdominal pain include the following:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome This condition is characterized by symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
Constipation If you arent having regular bowel movements, you may feel bloated and full and experience sharp gas pains in your abdomen.
Peptic Ulcer When a sore develops in the lining of your stomach or upper small intestine, you may experience a burning sensation similar to hunger pangs, along with nausea, vomiting, or heartburn.
Pancreatitis Inflammation of your pancreas may cause sharp, severe pain in the upper middle area of your abdomen, along with nausea, vomiting, or fever. This condition can be either acute or chronic.
Stomach Pain Goes Away When Lying Down
Stomach or abdominal pain is a common ailment caused due to a myriad of reasons. Gallbladder disease, stomach ulcer, food poisoning, diverticulitis, appendicitis, cancers, intestinal disorders, and vascular problems. During pregnancy, lower abdominal cramps are more common. Depending on the severity of your condition, the pain down your stomach can be sharp as well as dull. Lying down on the back is an ideal position to soothe your stomach pain, helping you feel relaxed. Whereas laying down on the left side may also relieve your abdominal pain. But when the irritation becomes totally uncontrollable, its best to seek medical help.
You enjoyed a delicious cheese pasta last night delivered to your doorstep from your favorite restaurant in town. Now, as you lay down to sleep, your stomach began to make those strange snarling sounds, then comes the cramp, and now you are sitting up with your tummy tightly clutches into your hands, feeling the worse pain in your abdomen.
Digestive issues are more common in people of all ages. In fact, more than 72% of Americans alone suffer from digestive conditions such as diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain.
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Home Remedies For Stomach Pain May Work For You
Stomach pain is a common complaint that can range from mild stabs of pain to debilitating painful cramps.
Causes of stomach pain may be linked to an underlying health condition such as appendicitis or kidney stones, or it may be a reaction to a food product that irritates the stomach lining.
Many cases of discomfort are mild and may be alleviated by home remedies for stomach pain.
Using natural and widely available products like herbal teas and probiotic yogurt may offer fast relief without causing the additional pain sometimes triggered by the irritants in shelf medications.
Sudden and severe stomach pain may indicate a serious health condition. If it is accompanied by a fever, breathing difficulty, or bloody vomit, seek immediate medical attention.
If Your Stomach Hurts Because Youre Stressed
The remedy: Go for a walk
It’s not unusual to feel your stomach doing flips before a first date, a big presentation at work, or another stressful event. “The gut-brain connection is very strong,” says Vijaya Rao, MD, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor at The University of Chicago Medicine. “When you’re stressed, the nerves in your GI tract become more hypersensitive, so you might get cramping or become nauseated.” It’s not always easy, but the best Rx really is to chill out. Go for a walk, talk to a friend, or do some deep breathing, Dr. Rao suggests.
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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.
Vague Upper Abdominal Pain Associated With Nausea And Belching
Sometimes stomach pain is hard to identify or comes with multiple symptoms. Vague pain in the upper and mid-abdominal area that is linked to nausea, burping, or belching could be signs of a heart attack, particularly in older patients. Physicians say tests like an ECG or cardiac markers can be lifesaving. They also warn that vomiting with back or jaw pain and shortness of breath can also be a sign of a life-threatening emergency.
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Lime Or Lemon Juice Baking Soda And Water
Some studies suggest that mixing lime or lemon juice in water with a pinch of baking soda can help to relieve a variety of digestive complaints.
This mixture produces carbonic acid, which may help to reduce gas and indigestion. It may also improve liver secretion and intestinal mobility. The acidity and other nutrients in lime or lemon juice can help to digest and absorb fats and alcohol while neutralizing bile acids and reducing acidity in the stomach.
Most traditional recipes recommend mixing the following quantities:
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 8 oz of clean water
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Get medical help right away or call your local emergency number if you:
- Are currently being treated for cancer
- Are unable to pass stool, especially if you are also vomiting
- Are vomiting blood or have blood in your stool
- Have chest, neck, or shoulder pain
- Have sudden, sharp abdominal pain
- Have pain in, or between, your shoulder blades with nausea
- Have tenderness in your belly, or your belly is rigid and hard to the touch
- Are pregnant or could be pregnant
- Had a recent injury to your abdomen
- Have difficulty breathing
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When To See A Doctor
Many causes of intermittent stomach pain, such as ovulation pain, do not require treatment. Others, such as food sensitivities, are not medical emergencies.
It can be difficult to decide when to see a doctor and when to wait, so it is important to pay attention to any additional symptoms. Seek medical care for severe pain or pain that gets worse with time.
Speak to a doctor about:
- unexplained stomach pain that gets steadily worse over time
- worsening menstrual cramps or cramps that are regularly severe
- worsening digestive symptoms
- symptoms of an ulcer or a digestive disorder
- occasional, mild pain in the upper right abdomen
Symptoms that may require emergency medical attention include:
- intense stomach pain during pregnancy
- symptoms of premature labor
Unproven Ways To Diagnose Food Allergies
Some techniques can’t effectively identify food allergies. These include:
Cytotoxicity testing. A food allergen is added to your blood sample. A technician then checks the sample under the microscope to see if white cells in the blood “die.”
Sublingual or subcutaneous provocative challenge. It’s similar to a skin test, but the sample of food allergen goes under your tongue or gets injected under your skin.
Immune complex assay. This blood test looks for groups of certain antibodies bound to the food allergen. But these clusters normally form as part of food digestion, and everyone, if tested with a sensitive enough measurement, has them.
IgG subclass assay. This blood test looks specifically for certain kinds of IgG antibody, but they’re part of a normal immune response.
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Lactose Intolerance And Food Allergies
Eating something youre allergic or sensitive to can cause sharp pains in your abdomen as your body struggles to digest it. Sometimes gas and indigestion symptoms will arise if you eat food that your body doesnt agree with.
Unless you have food allergies that put you at risk for anaphylaxis, abdominal pain from food allergies or sensitivities is not an emergency. You may also notice bloating or diarrhea because of eating food your body cant digest properly.
If you have a lactose allergy, speak to your healthcare provider about replacement enzyme pills that may allow you to consume dairy without discomfort.
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.
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