Treatment For Stomach Pain
To help your child feel more comfortable, you can give paracetamol in the recommended dose and frequency. If your child has more than the recommended dose, it can cause liver damage.
Its also important to make sure that your child gets enough fluids and plenty of rest. Distracting your child from the pain and using relaxation strategies can help too.
Do not give your child aspirin for any reason. Aspirin can make your child susceptible to Reyes syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal illness. It can also cause serious illness or even death in children with chickenpox or flu symptoms.
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.
Upper Abdominal Pain Between The Ribcage
If you develop an aching or stabbing pain or pressure in the upper abdominal area just under the ribs, this may indicate a heart-related problem. Physicians say this pain is often accompanied by shortness of breath and is concerning if the pain persists. People often assume this type of pain is indigestion, and while that may be the case, anyone with risk factors such as diabetes or hypertension should see a doctor as soon as possible.
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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.
Sometimes Stomach Pain Can Be Serious While Other Times It Isn’t
Some conditions that cause stomach pain, upon diagnosis, require medical care. Per Oxford Academic, 1 in 10 patients suffering from abdominal pain are experiencing a symptom that stems from an acute disease, such as appendicitis , diverticulitis , biliary or pancreatic , or neoplastic diseases. However, unless you’re experiencing other acute symptoms, your morning stomach pain is most likely harmless, due to gas, overeating, or constipation.
Stomach pain can also be caused by stress, depression or anxiety. Per U Chicago Medicine, high levels of cortisol the stress hormone can cause gastrointestinal discomfort while dealing with stress.
When a person is stressed, the adrenal glands make and release the hormone cortisol into the bloodstream, according to U Chicago Medicine. This causes the fight-or-flight response and can also trigger abdominal discomfort, stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and other symptoms.
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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.
Heartburn Or Acid Indigestion
One of the most common digestive complaints, heartburn is described as a feeling of burning behind the sternum, with the discomfort often radiating upwards towards the mouth. It can also be described as a cramping, bloating, or a stabbing feeling. Heartburn happens when a sphincter in the stomach doesnt close properly, allowing stomach acid into the wrong areas of the intestinal tract. In many people, heartburn can be exacerbated by large meals, spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine. While taking an antacid may bring on relief, Adam Prinsen, a naturopath based in Peterborough, Ont., says suppressing stomach acid may not be the best long-term solution. Stomachs produce acid for a reason: to digest the protein in your stomach, he explains. If you dont have enough of it, you will compromise your digestion. And that could make the problem worse. Because sphincters are affected by stress, Prinsen recommends calming your nerves as a first step. Your digestive system wont work properly when youre stressed, he explains, because your body is in a fight-or-flight response-so all your blood goes to your muscles, rather than to your digestive system. Because people are always in a chronic state of stress, the digestive system eventually just shuts down. Thats why the secret to easing heartburn may be as simple as slowing down.
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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.
Stomach Ache Risk Factors
Risk factors associated with stomach aches in children include:
- Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or depression
- Emotional stress or disturbances
- Traumatic events such as abuse, a motor vehicle accident, or a poor home life
- Prior stomach infections
Some research suggests that eating a diet that is high in junk food may play a role in the onset of stomach aches in children, although more research is needed to determine whether a poor diet can be a risk factor for stomach pain.
Although the risk factors for headaches and stomach aches vary, one of the most common risk factors for both ailments is stress.
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How Common Are Stomachaches
Just about everybody will experience abdominal pain at one point or another. Most causes of abdominal pain are not serious and resolve spontaneously. A healthcare provider can usually readily diagnose and treat these conditions. However, abdominal pain can also be a sign of a serious illness, or even an emergency. Abdominal pain is responsible for some 5% of emergency room visits.
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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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
Signs Of Passing A Kidney Stone
David Cameron, DO, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City Lewisville and Medical City McKinney, says that you will know immediately if you are passing a kidney stone, with pain in the side of your back or abdomen.
This is the worst pain of your life that you’re experiencing, Dr. Cameron says. It’s so profound that it’s beyond a 10. You’ll be incapacitated with the pain, quite often. It’ll lead to nausea and vomiting, the pain is so severe.
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Diagnosis And Treatment Of A Headache And Stomach Ache In A Child
Your doctor will take a health history and perform a physical exam. If the pain in your childs head is getting worse, your doctor will perform a neurological exam to check for issues in the brain. If the history is consistent with migraine or tension headaches and the neurological exam is normal, no further diagnostic testing may be necessary.
Imaging tests such as an MRI and CT scan will be done. They will take pictures of the inside of the head or abdomen to assess for any potential problems in the brain or stomach. A polysomnogram may also be done if your doctor suspects your child has a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or another sleep-related problem.
When serious conditions have been ruled out, you can treat the pain at home by giving your child over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Aspirin should not be used to help treat pain in your child, and ibuprofen should only be used if your child is over the age of 6 months unless your doctor says otherwise.
Other home treatments for abdominal pain often depend on other symptoms that are present with the pain such as diarrhea and nausea. Try the following if your child has mild abdominal pain without other symptoms:
- Have your child rest. Most symptoms will get better or go away in 30 minutes.
- Have your child sip clear fluids such as water, broth, tea, or fruit juice diluted with water.
- Have your child try to pass a stool.
Sudden Stomach Cramps With Diarrhoea
If your stomach cramps have started recently and you also have diarrhoea, the cause may be a tummy bug . This means you have a viral or bacterial infection of the stomach and bowel. It should get better without treatment after a few days.
Gastroenteritis may be caused by:
- coming into close contact with someone who’s infected
- eating contaminated food
If you have repeated bouts of stomach cramps and diarrhoea, you may have a long-term condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome .
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Gastroenteritis And Infectious Colitis
These are the terms for inflammation in the lining of the intestines and colon, respectively. Symptoms will vary based on the location and cause. In both cases, the underlying cause could be due to a condition such as Crohns disease or even something more benign such as a lack of blood flow to the abdominal area, says Dr. Dann. Patients with infectious colitis generally have diarrhea associated abdominal pain, which may be severe.
How to treat it: Depending on the severity of symptoms, antibiotics may be needed.
Could It Be Norovirus
Christopher Ramos, MD, a gastroenterologist at Medical City Alliance and Medical City Fort Worth, says that the difficulty when dealing with stomach painespecially in the upper abdomenis knowing whether it’s heartburn or something more serious.
Dr. Ramos has seen many norovirus cases in North Texans returning from cruises.
“Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S., so it’s very common but sometimes hard to diagnose,” he says. “Members of the same family can have the same disease process but different symptoms and duration.”
Dr. Hanscom agreed, adding that there is no point-of-care test for norovirus.
“We don’t have a test for norovirus in the ER,” he says. “Diagnosis is done by looking at the patient’s symptoms and other clues, such as if there’s a local outbreak, if the patient has been on a cruise or if it’s during the colder parts of the year when people congregate indoors and spread germs.”
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A Bladder Or Kidney Infection
Bladder infections can definitely cause abdominal pain, as well as painful and urgent urination, and/or blood in the urine. If its a kidney infection youre dealing with, you may also have a fever, chills, thigh pain, and joint tenderness.
How to treat it: Most cases can be treated with a course of oral antibiotics, though severe cases may require hospitalization and IV antibiotics. In rare cases, surgery may be required, says Dr. Dann.
When To Go To The Er With Stomach Pain
You should seek immediate medical attention or go to the ER if you have:
- Constant or severe abdominal pain
- Pain associated with a high fever
- Changes in pain intensity or location, such as going from a dull ache to a sharp stab or starting in one area and radiating to another
- Pain accompanied by other serious or unusual symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or change in behavior
- Pain localized to one particular area
- Right lower quadrant could indicate appendicitis
- Right upper quadrant could indicate cholecystitis or a gallbladder infection
- Left lower quadrant could indicate diverticulitis or a colon infection
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When Should I Be Concerned About My Childs Headache And Stomach Ache
Although most headaches and stomach aches in children arent serious, some can be a sign of an underlying condition. For headaches, you should call your doctor immediately if your child is experiencing a sudden headache that is more painful than anything theyve ever experienced, a fever, or cognitive issues such as slurred speech, confusion, or behavior changes.
If your childs stomach ache is getting worse, it wakes them up from sleep, is accompanied by vomiting, and if they are unusually sleepy, you should call your doctor immediately. A fever, blood in their stool or urine, and unexplained weight loss should also prompt you to visit a doctor.
Headaches and stomach aches that occur directly after an injury should also be investigated by your childs doctor.
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.
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When Stomach Pain Is And Is Not An Emergency
Stomach pain can have a variety of causes, some of which you can address by resting, avoiding heavy and spicy foods, taking medication, or using a heating pad. Others, however, may require urgent medical care.
While it can be hard to determine this on your own, at least with total certainty, there are some guidelines you can use to figure out if you should head to the ER, your doctor’s office, or try some at-home solutions. Regardless of how your case matches up if you feel severe, out-of-the-norm pain that you think needs immediate attention, seek it.
When To Call The Doctor
If you experience symptoms for more than a week, its wise to make a doctors appointment. However, if you have severe symptoms at any point throughout, it is also a good idea to be seen. Other symptoms that warrant a doctor visit include high fever, nausea and vomiting, confusion, difficulty speaking, vision problems, rapid heart rate, and seizures. While the most common symptoms of diarrhea and stomach problems are flu, food reactions, medications, stress, alcohol consumption, IBD, and IBS, these conditions can also be indicative of cancer, cystic fibrosis, appendicitis, or intestinal obstruction. If you have persistent symptoms, its best to be safe and be seen.
If you need to see a doctor for diarrhea and abdominal pain, or you are experiencing other GI upset, book an appointment at Carolina Digestive today.
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When Stomach Pain Is An Emergency
Stomach pain can be caused by a life-threatening condition, such as appendicitis, bowel obstruction , or a bowel perforation .
These emergencies usually cause very noticeable and often intolerable signs and symptoms. Your stomach pain is probably a sign of an urgent medical problem if:
- You are pregnant
- Your pain started within a week of having abdominal surgery or a gastrointestinal procedure
- You have ever had a gastric bypass, a colostomy, or a bowel resection
- Your pain started shortly after you experienced severe abdominal trauma
- Your abdomen appears bruised or is rapidly expanding in size
Your stomach pain may be mild in the beginning, and then you may develop associated symptoms after a few hours. You should get help immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms along with your stomach pain:
- Abdomen is extremely hard
- Inability to have a bowel movement accompanied by vomiting
- Pain in neck, shoulder or between shoulder blades
- Vision changes
You May Have A Longer
If you have a stomach ulcer, you may experience more pain when your stomach is empty as well. While antacids can help with this pain, you should consult a doctor if you think you may have a stomach ulcer. Irritable bowel syndrome , on the other hand, is characterized by lower stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, excessive gas, or mucus in the stool. If your stomach pain is also accompanied by any of the aforementioned symptoms, ask your doctor about IBS.
Stomach pain spans a wide umbrella and it could be a symptom of any number of issues. If your stomach pain or discomfort persists, consult your doctor, as it could be an indication that you are dealing with a serious issue such as a pancreatic disease like pancreatitis , Crohns Disease, colitis, diverticulitis, gallstones, Celiac disease, or some other kind of food allergy.
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