What Are The Causes Of Severe Abdominal Pain
- Appendicitis the swelling of the appendix , which causes unbearable pain in the lower right-hand side of your abdomen, and removal of the appendix is needed.
- Acute cholecystitis Gallstones causes inflammation of the gallbladder which results in removing of a gallbladder.
- Kidney stones small stones may come out in your urine, but larger stones may block the kidney tubes, and that needs to be broken down.
- Diverticulitis small pouches in the bowel leads to inflammation that sometimes requires treatment with antibiotics in a hospital.
When To Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Get medical help immediately if:
- You have abdominal pain that is very sharp, severe, and sudden.
- You also have pain in the chest, neck, or shoulder.
- Youre vomiting blood, have bloody diarrhea, or have black, tarry stools
- You have a high fever.
- Youre having difficulty breathing.
- You develop consistent nausea and/or vomiting.
- Your abdomen is stiff, hard, and tender to the touch.
- You cant move your bowels, especially if youre also vomiting
When Should I Call The Doctor
Sometimes, what seems like one problem food poisoning, for example can turn out to be something more serious, like appendicitis.
- the pain is very strong
- you’re vomiting a lot
- you already have another health condition
- the pain gets worse over time, doesn’t go away, or wakes you up from sleep
Also let the doctor know if you:
- have a fever
- have pain when you pee
- have trouble pooping or peeing
- have blood in your poop or pee
- think the belly pain is from an injury
- might be pregnant
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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.
Youre Anxious Or Stressed
According to the Anxiety And Depression Association of America, there is a very strong connection between your brain and your gut. Other than the brain itself, the digestive tract contains the largest amount of nerves, many of which are directly connected to your brain â hence butterflies in your stomach before you give a speech in public. Did you just go through something stressful? Are you anticipating doing something that scares you? Scanning your emotional state can help you identify when your upset stomach is anxiety-related.
According to Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant Stephanie Papadakis, “Stress not only heightens your emotions but your physical body functions as well. Stress can send your digestive system into overdrive,” she tells Bustle, “which can cause a stomach ache or nausea. Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms to manifest into feelings of nausea or butterflies in your stomach.” Papadakis goes on to explain that being a chronic “fight or flight” state from chronic emotional stress is often overlooked as a cause of upset stomachs. Taking breaks, saying no, and being gentle with yourself as you ride through the anxiety can all be helpful at relieving these kinds of stomachaches.
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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
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.
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Food Allergies In Infants And Children
Milk and soy allergies are particularly common in infants and young children, probably because their immune and digestive systems are still developing. These allergies can appear within days to months of birth. They may not show up as hives and asthma, but rather lead to colic and perhaps blood in poop or poor growth.
Typically, the doctor sees a very unhappy colicky child who may not sleep well at night and diagnoses a food allergy partly by changing their diet, like switching from cow’s milk to soy formula. This type of allergy tends to disappear within a few years.
Doctors recommend only breastfeeding infants for the first 4-6 months, if possible, for many reasons, but there’s no proof that it prevents food allergies later in life. While some pregnant women may hope limiting their diets while they’re pregnant or breastfeeding may help their children avoid allergies, the experts disagree and don’t suggest it. Soy formula isn’t a good way to prevent allergies either.
What Is Stomach Pain
The stomach is the organ responsible for most of your foods digestion. Breaking down food swallowed through your esophagus and sending the resulting mixture onto the small intestine is the stomachs primary function.
Most everyone has had a stomach ache after eating at some time or another. The causes are usually quite benign, ranging from overindulging to simply eating something that didnt agree with you. However, frequent stomach pain after eating is a sign of a deeper problem and shouldnt be ignored.
Stomach aches and pains can happen at almost any point during this process. While some of this is usually normal, see a doctor right away if youre experiencing:
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Some Stomach Problems Have A Simple Cause Others Are More Complicated Use This Guide To Diagnose Your Symptoms And Get The Scoop On The Most Common Gi Problems
It’s normal to get a stomachache now and then, like after a super-spicy meal or before a big job interview. But gut woes that stick around for more than a few days could signal bigger problemsanything from lactose intolerance to ulcerative colitis. And, unfortunately, gastrointestinal conditions can be tricky to diagnose. “There’s a lot of overlap, the symptoms aren’t always specificfor example, pretty much every GI condition can cause bloating or painand it’s possible to have more than one issue at once,” says gastroenterologist Robynne Chutkan, MD, founder of the GutBiome Institute in Chevy Chase, Md., and author of The Microbiome Solution. Here’s how to start sussing out your symptomsand smart strategies for relieving them.
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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Your Pain Relief Medication Might Disagree With You
While over-the-counter pain medication is a go-to for many people looking to relieve anything from period cramps to headaches, pain relievers can also cause upset stomachs. Aspirin can weaken your stomach lining, and ibuprofen can cause heartburn. If you think your body is reacting badly to these medications, the British Heart Foundation website says it may be helpful to take your pain relief medicine with food.
What Causes Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can be caused by many conditions. However, the main causes are infection, abnormal growths, inflammation, obstruction , and intestinal disorders.
Infections in the throat, intestines, and blood can cause bacteria to enter your digestive tract, resulting in abdominal pain. These infections may also cause changes in digestion, such as diarrhea or constipation.
Cramps associated with menstruation are also a potential source of lower abdominal pain, but these are more commonly known to cause pelvic pain.
Other common causes of abdominal pain include:
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You Might Have Food Intolerances
Letâs get this settled first: food intolerances arenât food allergies. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergies trigger the immune system, while intolerances cause digestive pain after eating food your body isnât able to effectively break down. Your body might lack the enzymes needed to process certain foods, like with lactose intolerance. Or there might be chemicals in certain foods or drinks causing intolerance, like in the caffeine and histamines in coffee that doesnât sit right with some people. If you notice that your stomach is getting angry with you after eating or drinking certain things, you might want to try reducing or eliminating the food for a while to see if your body feels better.
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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Cramping Or Pain With Bloody Diarrhea
Possible explanation: ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease
What is it: Ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease are both examples of inflammatory bowel disease that are differentiated by the part of the digestive tract that they affect. The cause of IBD is understood to be a complex interaction between genetic and lifestyle factors. Both diseases involve inflammation of respective parts of the digestive tract that cause numerous symptoms, including intestinal bleeding and associated abdominal pain.
Treatment: As with IBS, there is currently no cure for either ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease, so treatment is focused on managing the symptoms and long term quality of life. Usually, medication is chosen to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms. In severe cases, surgery to remove part or all the colon may be necessary in order to bring relief.
Taking Care Of Yourself At Home
Most abdominal pain goes away without special treatment. Be guided by your doctor, but there are some things you can do to help ease the pain, including:
- Place a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag on your abdomen.
- Soak in a warm bath. Take care not to scald yourself.
- Drink plenty of clear fluids such as water.
- Reduce your intake of coffee, tea and alcohol as these can make the pain worse.
- When you are allowed to eat again, start with clear liquids, then progress to bland foods such as crackers, rice, bananas or toast. Your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Try over-the-counter antacids, to help reduce some types of pain.
- Take mild painkillers such as paracetamol. Please check the packet for the right dose. Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs unless advised to take them by a doctor. These drugs can make some types of abdominal pain worse.
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Why Does Your Stomach Hurt Common Causes And How To Get Relief
Stomach flu or stress? Find out the most likely reason for your stomach pain.
Troy Mensen, DO
Troy Mensen is a family medicine doctor based in Chicago. He received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and holds a certification in family medicine from the American Board of Family Medicine. He is licensed by the State of Illinois Medical Examining Board.
Senior Associate Editor
Kim Wong-Shing is a senior associate editor at CNET, covering health and wellness. She has five years of experience in digital media, and she loves demystifying the world of wellness to make it accessible for a range of different readers.
Stomach aches are one of the most frustrating, yet common ailments. They can be caused by so many different things: Were those leftovers expired after all? Or do you perhaps have a food sensitivity or a GI condition? There’s never a convenient time to be bowled over with cramps, but some symptoms — like gas or noisy rumblings — can get especially embarrassing.
Based on your symptoms and how frequently you experience them, you can nail down the most likely culprit behind your stomach pain — which means you can treat and manage it more wisely. Below, we go over the most common reasons that your stomach hurts and what to do, including when it’s time to call the doctor.
Diagnosis Of Stomach Pain After Meals
Your doctor will ask you a number of questions about your diet, lifestyle, and medical history. All of these can significantly affect the digestive system.
Doctors can use computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans to diagnose gastrointestinal pain, but it is not always easy to generate accurate images of the digestive system using these methods.
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Gut Feeling: How To Know If Stomach Pain Is Serious
Abdominal pain is the single leading reason for emergency room visits in the U.S. according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, accounting for more than 12 million of the nearly 139 million annual ER visits. Most people call it stomach pain, but its not always a stomach problem. Your abdomen holds many other organs, too, including your intestines , pancreas, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, spleen and appendix.
So its not surprising that, just as with chest pain or a headache, it can be difficult to tell whats really going on in there when your tummys not feeling well. Add in other vague symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and you could have the stomach flu, food poisoning, gallstones, kidney stones or any number of other conditions.
Here are some ways to tell what the source of your pain is and when you should seek medical care.
Possible Causes Of Upset Stomach Every Morning
1. Morning Sickness
For women in the early stages of pregnancy, upset stomachs can strike any time during the day, but the stomach issues usually occur first thing in the morning. The morning sickness typically doesn’t pose any risk to the pregnancy, and although the nausea is annoying and uncomfortable, the most common symptom is vomiting. The good news is that after the first trimester, the symptoms usually pass. Discuss with your health care provider the severity and frequency of the symptoms to make sure you do not develop other complications or become anemic.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is a chronic disorder that causes food to move too quickly through the digestive track. Normally, IBS doesn’t create any lasting damage in your colon however, it can cause early morning stomach issues and diarrhea. Any change in routines or added stress can cause IBS symptoms to appear more frequently. Restless sleep has also been known to aggravate IBS symptoms first thing in the morning. Other symptoms may include abdominal cramps, gas, bloating, and watery diarrhea. Thankfully, a high fiber diet and a relaxing period before bedtime can help prevent these issues.
4. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
7. Peptic Ulcers
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What I Can Do If My Stomach Hurts And I Feel Like Throwing Up
You can use a number of approaches to ease nausea and vomiting, consisting of home remedies and medications.
Self-treatment for Stomach Ache and Feeling Nausea
To treat nausea at home:
- Consume just light, plain foods, such as bread and crackers.
- Prevent any foods that have strong tastes, are extremely sweet, or are greasy or fried.
- Drink cold liquids.
- Prevent any activity after eating.
- Drink a cup of ginger tea.
Self-treatment for Feeling Nausea
- Eat smaller, more regular meals.
- Drink a big amount of clear fluids to remain hydrated, however consume it in little sips at a time.
- Avoid solid foods of any kind up until vomiting stops.
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Your symptoms: Diarrhea and blood in your poop.
You could have an inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes ulceration and inflammation of the large intestine. You might have diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and pain, but the classic symptom is blood in the stool. “If it’s been going on for months and there’s a lot of bleedingyou’ll see blood mixed with the stool, rather than streaksit’s most likely colitis,” says gastroenterologist Lisa Ganjhu, DO, clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. An abnormal immune system response may be involved heredity can also play a role. Mild cases may benefit from lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods that seem to cause flare-ups and reducing stress. Research suggests that a low FODMAP diet may help some IBD patients. Most cases require prescription drugs, such as anti-inflammatories, steroids or immune suppressors. In some cases, surgery may be needed.
Your symptoms: Diarrhea , along with abdominal pain.
Your symptoms: Diarrhea , and occasional bloat. Symptoms are worse after you eat dairy.
You likely have lactose intolerance, an inability to digest the milk sugars in cow’s milk. Besides diarrhea, you may experience bloating or notice gurgling or other stomach noises after having pizza, a latte or other dairy. You’ll need to cut out dairy or take lactase enzyme pills to ease its digestion.
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