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.
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.
How Bubbles Form Inside The Stomach
A bubbling feeling in the stomach occurs because of the expansion of gases within the intestinal walls. When the intestines become distended with gas, the bubbles push against each other until they burst. Gas-filled bubbles move from the stomach into the small bowel where they cause pain and discomfort.
Stomach popping feeling could be caused by anything from overeating, overuse of laxatives, excessive consumption of caffeine, smoking cigarettes, consuming large amounts of alcohol, having a gallbladder infection, or simply not getting enough fiber in our diet.
Gas-forming bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide which combines with oxygen to create sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid dissolves calcium carbonate in the colon wall, allowing the gas to escape. As the gas escapes, it pushes the lining outward creating a bubble.
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Bubbles Popping During Last Trimester
Yes, its common for pregnant women to experience a little bit of abdominal pressure and stomach sounds like bubbles popping during their third trimester. The reason: Your uterus grows larger and pushes outward toward your belly button.
It may feel like theres an ache when you lie on your side. You might even hear a pop sound when you cough or sneeze. If these symptoms persist beyond 3-6 weeks after your due date, see your doctor. Hell likely recommend bed rest until labor begins.
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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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.
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.
Why It Feels Like Bubbles Popping In My Stomach
A stomach bubble refers specifically to air being trapped inside your digestive tract and causing gas or bloating. The first thing to understand is that the word bubble has a lot of different meanings. What is a Stomach Bubble?
Stomach Bubbles form when undigested material accumulates in the colon. This can be caused by eating too much food, drinking alcohol excessively, or taking certain medications. Its also possible for people who have an underactive thyroid gland to experience this problem as well.
So, why feels like bubbles popping in my stomach? Probably, when gases expand due to heat, pressure, or other causes.
In the case of digestion, they may occur if undigested material remains in the intestine after meals. If this happens frequently, then the body will try to expel the excess gas through burping, belching, flatulence, or vomiting.
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When To Call The Doctor About Abdominal Pain
If your abdominal pain is serious, doesn’t go away, or keeps coming back, talk to your doctor. Call 911 right away if your belly hurts because you had a recent injury there or if you have any chest pain.
You should also contact your doctor as soon as you can if you have symptoms along with the pain, such as:
- Can’t keep food down for more than 2 days
- Signs you’re getting dehydrated, including not urinating frequently, dark-colored urine, and being very thirsty
- Can’t have a bowel movement, especially if you’re also vomiting
- Pain when you pee, or you need to urinate often
Also call your doctor if:
- Your belly is tender to the touch
- Pain lasts more than a few hours
You may have other symptoms that could be a sign of a problem inside your body that needs treatment as soon as possible. Get medical care right away if you have abdominal pain and you also:
- Have unexplained weight loss
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What Other Symptoms Relate To Abdominal Pain
Pain in the abdomen may be experienced as aching, stabbing, burning, twisting, cramping, dull, or a gnawing pain.
The pain may also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a feeling of discomfort in the abdomen, bloating, constipation, wind , belching , fever, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, fever, dehydration or loss of appetite
Describing the pattern and location of your symptoms to a doctor may help them in identifying the cause of your abdominal pain. These causes include:
- Peptic ulcer The pain is often felt in the upper abdomen, as a knife-like pain which goes through to the back.
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease The pain usually causes a central burning pain that develops just under the breastbone, and may rise upwards. It may be accompanied by belching.
- Appendicitis The pain usually starts near the navel before moving down to the lower right abdomen when it becomes more constant.
- Gallstones or gallbladder irritation The pain is felt in the upper right abdomen, back or right shoulder.
- Lower abdominal pain: Also referred to as lower stomach pain, it is probably coming from your bowel.
- Period pain This is usually a dull, cramping pain, felt low down, which may radiate through to the back.
Stomach Pain After Eating Spicy Food
If you love spicy foods, you’re not alone. Chile peppers, curry or garlic are used to season some of the most popular restaurant dishes, spicy snacks and family favorites.
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Unfortunately, this spice can bite back and cause stomach pain and discomfort, particularly if you already have a gastrointestinal disorder. With effective management of any underlying condition, and by curtailing the spice according to your tolerance, you should be able to get back to enjoying many of the foods you love.
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Heres How The Digestive System Works
Or how digestion should work when everything goes according to plan.
Your body employs multiple organs to turn the food you eat into energy. When everything is going well, you should barely notice this process, which is good because it can actually take a pretty long time. The Mayo Clinic estimates that it takes two to five days for a mouthful of food to go through all the various digestive processes and come out the other end looking unrecognizable.
First, though, this all starts with one bite. Between the chewing action of your mouth and the enzymes and lubrication from your saliva, you start to break down what youre eating, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains. Once the bite is small enough to swallow, your tongue pushes it to the back of your throat into your esophagus, which begins to contract automatically in a motion called peristalsis.
The first organ the newly chewed food encounters after this is the stomach. Muscles in your stomach walls churn the food and release acid and enzymes, slowly mixing the food into a paste called chyme. Your stomach gradually releases the chyme into the small intestine, which reduces it further by mixing it with enzymes from the pancreas and from bacteria, along with bile from the liver, all while pushing the chyme further through the digestive tract. The walls of the small intestine absorb the extracted nutrients and water, which move into your bloodstream.
Symptoms Of Stomach Pain After Meals
Most of the time, the causes of digestive trouble after eating are not too much to worry about. But if the pain is very strong, sudden, or long-lasting, it should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible.
Some common warning signs of stomach pain after a meal are:
Just because others can tolerate certain kinds of food well, does not mean you will too. Eating too fast, too much, or foods too high in fat can all trigger gas and bloating issues in the stomach. Try logging the foods you eat and tracking how your body responds to different things.
Stomach pains after eating, coupled with constipation, can spring from various lifestyle and dietary factors. For example, the abdominal muscles and diaphragm are needed to aid digestion, and insufficient fiber in the diet can make it hard for food to pass through your system properly.
Heartburn often accompanies stomach pain and indigestion. Heartburn is often caused by acid reflux, the reverse flow of stomach acid up into the esophagus, causing burning and discomfort. Too much alcohol and fatty food are often to blame.
Nausea is an important sign to look out for because it has several possible causes, anything from food poisoning to Crohns disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. If you regularly feel nauseous after eating, see a doctor.
Other symptoms and warning signs associated with stomach pain after eating are:
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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.
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
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Emotional Reaction To Sex
Many people experience abdominal pain after sex because of a negative emotional reaction. If youâre feeling anxiety, stress, sadness, or irritation before sex, you may feel physical symptoms of nausea, pain, or gas after sex. Similarly, if you feel emotionally uncomfortable during intercourse, your feelings may translate into physical symptoms after intercourse.
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.
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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.
Try Not To Avoid School
If the stomachache is stress-related, explain that not going to school today can make kids more anxious about going tomorrow.
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A simple, step-by-step tool to help you figure out if the struggles youre seeing might be signs of a learning and thinking difference
Some kids rarely get stomachaches. For others, its a common occurrence especially on school days. They often wake up with pain thats bad enough to make them want to stay home or not attend class.
Whats causing their frequent stomach problems? It might be something physical, like constipation or lactose intolerance. But stomachaches can also be caused by stress.
Doctors sometimes call this type of stomachache psychosomatic because its triggered by thoughts. While the cause isnt physical, the pain is real.
Stress doesnt only cause pain it can also affect our tolerance for pain. For example, a gas bubble might not bother us much when were happy and well-rested. But it might be very uncomfortable when were tired and stressed.
Frequent stomachaches or visits to the school nurse can sometimes be a sign that kids are struggling in school. The challenges may be academic or social.
No matter what the cause, starting a dialogue is a good first step to find out whats going on.
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Noisy Abdomen / Rumbling
A noisy gut does not always mean youre hungry. There may be other reasons why your stomach is churning and gurgling. The digestive system causes belly noises, known as borborygmi when fluids or air moves around your small and large intestines.
Borborygmi Definition: The term for the gurgling or rumbling noises made by the movement of gas and fluids in the intestines. During the process called peristalsis, the small intestine and stomach muscles contract and move contents forward in your gastrointestinal tract. These gas noises in stomach can occur both when the stomach is empty and when its full.
Peristalsis Definition: A series of wave-like contraction and relaxation of stomach muscles. Two hours after the stomach contents are emptied, the brain signals the digestive muscles to begin peristalsis again. The belly noises and contractions of an empty stomach can make you hungry. A noisy gut may be louder in this case because the intestines and stomach are empty the stomach noises and pain are not muffled. Take note that you may swallow a lot of air because of eating too fast or talking while eating. This can lead you to have louder stomach rumbles after eating.