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 Of Stomach Pain
Cramping abdominal pain arises from hyperactivity of normal intestinal peristalsis, also known as muscle contractions, and can be caused by excess gas, irritation of the intestines from infection or inflammation, blockage, and even stress.
There are many other causes of stomach pain that can wake you up at night. Some of them are listed below:
Sometimes, stomach pain can occur when you eat raw or contaminated food, resulting in diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Most people experience these symptoms a few hours after eating the contaminated food.
Stones developed in your gallbladder can block your gallbladder duct, causing constant abdominal pain. These tend to develop after a large, fat-heavy meal, and a gallstone attack can occur while youre sleeping.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is defined as abnormal discomfort and pain associated with altered bowel habits for at least three days per month during the previous three months. Cramping abdominal pain is the most common symptom.
Pain Around The Belly Button
If you experience pain around the belly button it could be one of the following:
Inflammation of the appendix is often initially felt around the belly button. It may come and go and gradually move to the right side. It gets more severe over 24 hours and is worse on movement. You may feel nauseated, have slight loose stools and a temperature. Surgery is often required to remove an inflamed appendix so dont wait at home if you think this may be the diagnosis.
Conditions of the stomach lining such as inflammation or ulcers may be felt in the centre of your abdomen. The pain is often burning in nature. Nausea, indigestion, belching and even vomiting are common. Blood in the vomit or black, tar-like stools are worrying signs and need urgent assessment. Treatment to stop acid production and ease pain are required so see your doctor.
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How Are Abdominal Pain And Painful Urination Treated
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection causes your symptoms. Kidney infections, which are serious, may require intravenous antibiotics.
A medication called pyridium relieves burning in the urinary tract, but it can turn your urine bright orange or red.
Antibiotics or antiviral medications are prescribed to treat sexually transmitted infections.
Drinking plenty of fluids may help you overcome painful urination. This can dilute the amount of bacteria in your urinary tract and encourage urination.
You also may wish to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen to relieve your pain.
If a UTI is the cause, symptoms will typically resolve soon after you begin taking antibiotics. However, be sure to take your full course of antibiotics to ensure that the infection is cured.
Describing Your Lower Abdominal Pain
When a doctor asks you about your pain, they will want to know where exactly you are feeling the pain. This can be a useful indicator of what the cause might be.
Theyll also want to know how long youve had the pain, the severity and the nature of the pain is it coming or going or is it continuous? They will ask you to describe how the pain feels, is it sharp, dull, crampy or burning for example.
Associated symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and urinary symptoms can all help to distinguish the cause so your doctor will question you about these as well.
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What Is Lower Abdominal Pain
When we talk about lower abdominal pain, we generally mean pain that you feel below the level of your belly button. It can come from any of the tissues and organ systems in that area, which is why it can be very confusing. Pain which is very low down is termed pelvic pain but well be including it as lower abdominal pain for this guide.
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.
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Other Sources Of Lower Abdominal Pain
A study published in April 2011 in the American Journal of Surgery suggests that almost 12 percent of appendectomies between 1998 and 2007 were conducted on patients who didnt actually have appendicitis.
This is because several health issues can also cause pain thats localized to your lower right abdominal area, making an accurate diagnosis of appendicitis difficult without using imaging tests, such as computed tomography , ultrasound, and MRIs.
For instance, ovulation pain occurs on either the right or left side of the lower abdomen and can be quite sharp, like appendicitis pain. But that pain doesnt start near the belly button, nor does it get worse with movement.
Constipation can cause pain localized in the lower right abdomen, as well as rebound tenderness. But the constipation starts before the abdominal pain, unlike when you have appendicitis though constipation can be a symptom of appendicitis.
Pain from kidney stones can spread to the lower right abdomen, though it doesnt start at the belly button it usually starts below the ribs on one of your sides and back. It also usually comes in waves.
Common Causes Of Abdominal Tenderness
Abdominal tenderness is generally a sign of inflammation or other acute processes in one or more organs. The organs are located around the tender area. Acute processes mean sudden pressure caused by something. For example, twisted or blocked organs can cause point tenderness.
Some common causes of abdominal tenderness are:
- appendicitis: swelling of the appendix, a small pouch attached to the large intestines, which usually occurs when the appendix becomes blocked by feces traveling through the intestines
- abdominal abscess: a pocket of infected fluid and pus inside the belly, caused by a burst appendix, intestine, or ovary inflammatory bowel disease or infection
- Meckels diverticulum: a remnant of the umbilical cord that creates a small bulge on the small intestine which can cause bleeding or intestinal obstruction later in life (occurs in about
- diverticulitis: inflammation of the inner lining of the intestines
Common causes for women include:
These conditions are all linked with some sort of inflammation. Inflammation causes swelling, which creates pressure inside the abdomen and results in tenderness.
Symptoms that go along with abdominal tenderness are:
- loss of appetite
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Treatment For Abdominal Pain In Adults
Your treatment depends on what is causing your pain, but may include:
- Pain relief â your pain may not go away fully with painkillers, but it should ease.
- Fluids â you may have fluids given into a vein to correct fluid loss and rest your bowel.
- Medicines â for example, you may be given something to stop you vomiting.
- Fasting â your doctor may ask you not to eat or drink anything until the cause of your pain is known.
Common Stomach Pain Causes
Around 40% of emergency department visits initiated by abdominal pain are reported as having an undiagnosed cause, explains Dr. Mahidhara. She adds that 30% of those emergency room patients under 50 had an ultimate diagnosis of appendicitis. With that being said, the list of potential stomachache culprits is pretty extensive. The more common stomach pain causes, according to Dr. Greenwald and Dr. Mahidhara, are:
- Indigestion or acid reflux
- Viral hepatitis
Symptoms associated with abdominal pain vary depending on cause, but may include fever, lack of appetite, weight gain or loss, difficulty swallowing, chest pain or burning, bloating, fullness, nausea or vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, black or bloody stools, burning with urination, blood in the urine, back pain, rash, jaundice, and bruising, says Mahidhara.
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How To Diagnose Pain Below Sternum
There are many possible causes of upper abdominal pain or pain below the sternum. Aside from taking a medical history and conducting a physical exam, healthcare providers may order some diagnostic tests to help confirm the diagnosis. These include blood tests, chest X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scan.
It is always best to seek medical consultation, especially when the symptoms do not get better with over-the-counter medications or other home remedies.
What Types Of Pain Are There
Doctors have different words to describe the different types of pain you can feel in the gut. Very broadly, pains may be sharp or stabbing, crampy, colicky or a general dull ache. Colicky means gradually becoming worse, then easing off again. This may happen repeatedly.
Doctors may also be interested in where the pain is and whether the pain seems to be travelling in a certain direction. Having this information and putting it together with other information, such as whether you have been being sick or have had diarrhoea, will help the doctor work out what is wrong.
Pain that comes on suddenly may be called acute. Longer-standing pain is called chronic.
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Abdominal Pain Examination And Investigations
Your doctor will have a good idea as to what might be causing your pain after listening to your description and asking questions. They will usually examine your abdomen too to see if there is any pain on pressing on certain areas of your tummy and to check for any lumps.
They may be able to give you a diagnosis and recommend treatment but if any further clarification is needed then further tests will be arranged. These will vary according to what condition is suspected but may involve:
- Taking urine, stool or blood samples
- Taking vaginal swabs
- Arranging a scan of your abdomen
- Possibly referring you to a specialist
It can be a tricky business figuring out exactly what the cause of lower abdominal pain is so do make an appointment if you are concerned and always go back to your doctor if your symptoms arent resolving.
Treating Abdominal Bloating And Lower Abdominal Pain
Your doctor will first try to determine the reason for your symptoms by asking questions. They may want to know when you noticed the pain, what makes it worse, and whether you have experienced it before. A complete list of treatment options for the conditions that may cause abdominal bloating and pelvic pain are beyond the scope of this article, but some examples of treatments for certain conditions include the following:
- Your doctor may be able to treat an intestinal blockage with intravenous fluids, bowel rest, and a nasogastric tube, but sometimes surgery is necessary.
- A ruptured appendix requires surgery as treatment.
- Your doctor can give you antibiotics to treat bacterial gastroenteritis, colitis, or PID.
- At-home and over-the-counter medications can reduce these symptoms if theyre due to painful menstruation.
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Pain Below The Ribs Quiz
Take a quiz to find out what’s causing your pain.
A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in a blood vessel in the lungs. PE blocks blood flow to your lungs and lowers the level of oxygen in your blood. The lungs may become damaged.
These clots usually dont form in the lungs. Instead, they develop in the lower leg, then break off and travel through your blood vessels to your lungs. Blood clots in the leg are called deep vein thrombosis . People with DVT may also have leg pain and swelling.
PE and DVT are life-threatening conditions. If you have symptoms, you should call 911 or go to the ER immediately.
Treatment depends on the severity of the clot. A large, life-threatening clot may require surgery or clot-dissolving medications called thrombolytics. Less dangerous clots can be broken up by your body with the help of blood-thinning medications called anticoagulants.
Diagnosis Of Lower Abdominal Pain
If your abdominal pain doesnt seem to be the result of indigestion and is getting worse or not going away, you should see a healthcare provider.
They will likely perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms in detail. They may also request tests to rule out possible causes of your abdominal pain.
Expect your provider to ask you about the exact location of the pain and to describe the sensation youre feeling. They may perform a gynecological or rectal exam if you have lower abdominal pain.
Testing may include:
- Blood tests such as a complete blood count to check for infection or blood loss
- A pregnancy test
- Imaging tests such as a computed tomography scan to look at your abdominal organs
If you could be pregnant, an ultrasound is the preferred imaging method for evaluating unexplained abdominal pain.
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How To Course Correct And Regain Your Strength
Sitting at a desk isnt always feasible, possible, or comfortable when were using our devices. Part of the beauty of having them is that theyre mobile.
But to preserve our health, it helps to have a few rules in place for using them in bed or when cuddled up on the couch next to the cat. Parents, you may want to keep an eye on little ones to prevent them from developing this bad habit.
One last interesting tidbit on the topic: More gals than guys reported pain in regards to tablet use, says the UNLV study, and the ladies are also more likely to use their tech while on the floor.
Regardless of gender, if youre spending time down there with your devices, invest in a cushy chair or some supportive bed pillows for the benefit of your bod.
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Why Do My Ribs Feel Bruised
Rib cage pain can be caused by a variety of things, ranging from pulled muscles to a rib fracture. The pain may occur immediately upon injury or develop slowly over time. It can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. You should report any instance of unexplainable rib cage pain to your doctor immediately.
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Eat Plenty Of Roughage
Fibre is the part of food that is not digested. It is filling but has few calories. It helps your bowels to move regularly, which reduces constipation and other bowel problems. Fibre may also help to lower your cholesterol level.
Starchy foods, and fruit and vegetables contain the most fibre. So the tips above on starchy foods and fruit and vegetables will also increase fibre. If you switch to wholemeal rice and pasta and wholemeal bread, this can significantly increase your fibre intake. Pulses like lentils and beans are also full of fibre.
Have plenty to drink when you eat a high-fibre diet .
How Do Doctors Find The Cause Of A Bellyache
Your doctor will first ask you some questions, examine you, and maybe do some tests. Your doctor may suggest you take some medicine or might give you special instructions for eating to help your body heal the bellyache.
If it turns out that you have appendicitis, you will need an operation called an appendectomy .
If stress is behind your stomach problems, your doctor may recommend a specialist, such as a psychologist. These experts can help kids figure out the source of the stress and help them come up with some ideas for how to fix the problems or handle them better.
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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.