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, which should get better without treatment after a few days.
It can last for up to 14 days, and this would not require you to see your GP unless you have any of the following features:
- blood in the stool
- recent hospital treatment or antibiotic treatment
- persistent vomiting
- painless, watery, high-volume diarrhoea increased risk of dehydration
- night time symptoms disturbing your sleep
Gastroenteritis may be caused by coming into close contact with someone who’s infected, or by eating contaminated food .
Long-term or recurring abdominal pain
See your GP if you or your child have persistent or repeated abdominal pain. The cause is often not serious and can be managed.
Possible causes in adults include:
Possible causes in children include:
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
Lower Abdominal Pain In Women: 15 Possible Causes And Treatments
Lower abdominal pain can indicate a series of problems. Read our guide to work out what might be causing your pain.
Lower abdominal pain in women generally refers to pain, discomfort or cramps below the belly button. From appendicitis to period cramps, there are a number of potential causes for lower abdominal pain in women and the right treatment depends on the correct diagnosis.
Dr Juliet McGrattan looks at 15 possible causes of lower abdominal pain in women, so you know when to reach for the hot water bottle or when to call your doctor:
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What Do Upper And Lower Abdominal Pain Signify
If the pain is coming from higher up in your stomach, it could be caused by acid reflux or an ulcer. You might also have heartburn and belching and the pain may either be made worse or relieved by food.
If you feel pain right across your stomach area or low down, its probably coming from your bowel. You may also have bloating and wind. If your stomach cramps have started recently and you also have diarrhoea, the cause is probably gastroenteritis. If you are very ill for example, with chills or a fever you may have a more serious condition, such as food poisoning.
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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When To Seek Medical Help
Seek immediate medical help if an inability to pass gas and uncontrolled vomiting accompany your symptoms. These symptoms could indicate that a serious condition is causing your symptoms. You should also seek emergency treatment if you have any of the following symptoms associated with abdominal bloating or pelvic pain:
- a fever
- passing dark maroon, or bloody stool
- abnormal vaginal discharge
- a sudden worsening of pain, especially if it improves by lying completely still
If you have milder symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor if they dont resolve within one to two days or are affecting your daily life.
If you dont already have a gastroenterologist, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area.
This information is a summary. Always seek medical attention if youre concerned that you may be experiencing a medical emergency.
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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Home Remedies To Ease Mild Pain In Middle Of The Stomach
There are home remedies that you can try to help ease middle stomach pain. However, if you are in severe pain in the mid-abdominal area, it is best to see a doctor, as severe abdominal pain is a sign of a condition that needs medical attention as soon as possible.
For mild upper-middle abdominal pain and connecting areas, the following tips may be able to help you out.
Symptoms Of Sharp Pains In The Stomach
The symptoms of sharp stomach pains depend on the characteristics and location of the pain. It can also be accompanied by other symptoms, like nausea, vomiting, or fever.
You may experience different types of stomach pain. These characteristics can include:
Generalized pain is pain that you feel in large areas of your stomach, typically more than half of your abdominal area. This pain may be caused by a stomach virus, indigestion, or gas. If the pain is severe, it could be caused by blocked intestines.
Localized pain is focused in one area of your stomach. This is more likely to be a sign of issues in an organ, like the appendix, uterus, gallbladder, or stomach.
Cramp pain may feel more like a muscle tightening inside your abdomen. Most of the time, this type of pain is due to gas, bloating, or menstrual issues. However, if the pain is persistent, lasts longer than 24 hours, or is accompanied by fever, it may be more serious.
Colicky pain may come and go, seeming to arrive in waves. It may start and end suddenly. If severe, kidney stones or gallstones may be a cause.
Location of stomach pain
Stomach pain may be generalizedtaking up more than half of the abdomenbut it also may be stronger in some areas of the stomach. It can occur in these locations:
- Upper or lower abdomen
- Right upper and lower abdomen
- Left upper and lower abdomen
- Right and left pelvis
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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.
When To See A Doctor
At what point should you see a doctor? The basic answer would be the minute that the mid-abdomen pain becomes greater than mild or when you have become concerned about the pain. Beyond that, you should contact a medical professional about your mid-abdomen pain if:
- The pain lasts longer than a week
- The pain is fairly severe and last longer than 24 hours
- Youve had a recent injury to the area that is in pain
- Your belly is tender to the touch, or if its rigid
- The pain brings vomiting and diarrhea
- The pain is accompanied by fever
- The pain spreads from the abdomen to other parts of the body
You should also see a doctor if you are experiencing abdominal pain and already have the following conditions:
- You are pregnant or are potentially pregnant
- Suffer from colon, stomach, or pancreatic cancers
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Ovulation Pain Or Midcycle Spotting
Mittelschmerz is a German word that translates as “middle pain.” It refers to the normal discomfort sometimes felt by women during ovulation, which is at the midpoint of the menstrual cycle.
Each month, one of the two ovaries forms a follicle that holds an egg cell. The pain occurs when the follicle ruptures and releases the egg.
This is a dull, cramping sensation that may begin suddenly in only one side of the lower abdomen. In a few cases, there may be vaginal spotting. Mittelschmerz occurs about 14 days before the start of the next menstrual period.
Actual Mittelschmerz is not associated with nausea, vomiting, fever, or severe pelvic pain. These symptoms should be evaluated by a medical provider since they can indicate a more serious condition.
Diagnosis is made through patient history.
Treatment requires only over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain. An oral contraceptive will stop the symptoms, since it also stops ovulation.
Top Symptoms: abdominal pain , last period approximately 2 weeks ago, vaginal bleeding, bloody vaginal discharge, pelvis pain
Symptoms that always occur with ovulation pain or midcycle spotting: last period approximately 2 weeks ago
When To Make An Appointment To See Your Doctor
Schedule an appointment to see your doctor if:
- Your stomach pain doesnt go away within a couple of days.
- The pain comes back after going away.
- Symptoms like diarrhea dont go away within a couple of days.
- Youre urinating more or less often, and/or its painful.
- You have unintended weight loss.
Know your body, Dr. Kingsley says. If you start having pain that you have not had before and does not go away, you should contact your doctor to be evaluated further.
Bottom line: Trust your gut! Contact your doctor if youre concerned about lingering or unusual stomach pain.
National Health Service, Stomach Ache
National Health Service Inform, Stomach Ache and Abdominal Pain
U.S. National Library of Medicine, Abdominal Pain
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When Should My Child See A Doctor
Many children recover from abdominal pain quickly and dont need to see a doctor.
Take your child to a doctor immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency department if they:
- are in pain that goes on for longer than 24 hours or if youre worried about them
- have pain that is severe or debilitating even though they have taken pain medicine
- are hard to wake and are unwell
- vomit for more than 24 hours, or they are unable to keep any fluids down, refusing to drink any fluids and their vomit is green
- have blood in their poo or vomit
- are having trouble doing a wee
- have pain and lumps in the groin
- were recently injured for example, falling onto the handlebars of a bike
If your child is still a baby and they have fewer than 4 wet nappies per day, as well as their abdominal pain, you should take them to a doctor immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
Stomach Burning After Drinking Soda
Soda is a bubbly beverage, so right off the bat, drinking carbonated beverages can increase gas, which can contribute to stomach burning. Many soda varieties also contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener. Although this type of sweetener can reduce calorie count in your beverage, many people are intolerant to aspartame, which can also add to burning stomach.
If you have been diagnosed with IBS, soda can further lead to stomach irritations and promote diarrhea as well.
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Why Does My Stomach Hurt
Tummy troubles are a common cause for a visit to the doctors office. Whenpatients complain of stomach pain, they are sometimes describing painthat is throughout the abdomen area and may not actually be directlyrelated to the organ known as the stomach.
Doctors first try to determine if a patients abdominal pain is caused by astructural or functional problem.
Sometimes the digestive tract does not function properly due to anabnormality with the structure of an organ. Medical imaging will show thatthe organ does not look normal and is not working properly.
Functional problems, also called motility disorders, are conditions thatresult from poor nerve and muscle function in the digestive tract. Organsthat are part of the gastrointestinal tract will usually look normal onmedical images, such asCT scansorMRI scans, but the organs do not work like they should.
The gastrointestinal system has its own nervous system to control themuscle contractions that digest the food you eat, saysDr. Linda Lee. Functional disorders can be difficult to diagnose, because we cannoteasily see problems with the nerves or muscles in the gastrointestinaltract.
Some of the conditions that could cause abdominal pain are:
What Causes Pain Below The Ribs
Pain below the rib cage may be caused by organs in the chest cavity or ones just below it. These include the lungs, diaphragm, intestines, stomach, and gallbladder.
Pain below the ribs can feel dull or sharp. The pain may go away quickly or be ongoing. Depending on whats causing the pain, you may only feel discomfort on one side of the body.
The conditions that cause pain below the ribs usually cause other symptoms as well. These symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, bloating, chest pain, coughing, back pain, or pain that gets worse when you inhale.
Some conditions that cause pain below the ribs, such as a pulmonary embolism, can be life-threatening and require emergency treatment.
If you experience chest pain, difficulty breathing, or have upper abdominal pain that radiates to the jaw, neck, or arm, call 911.
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How Can I Treat Abdominal Pain
If you have abdominal pain, keeping warm and placing a heat pack or hot water bottle on your stomach may help.
If your abdominal pain does not require you to stop eating and drinking, stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of clear, non-alcoholic fluids. If you have a medical condition that restricts your fluid intake, check with your doctor about how much fluid you can have.
Eat small meals and – foods such as rice, dry toast or bananas. Avoid spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine until 48 hours after the pain has gone away.
Several medicines can help if you have non-acute abdominal pain, including:
- paracetamol to ease the pain
- charcoal tablets or similar for wind pain
- medicines to ease spasms
- medicines to stop diarrhoea
Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen and naproxen since these can irritate your stomach. A pharmacist can advise you about the most appropriate medicine for your abdominal pain.
In more serious cases, the treatment recommended will depend on the cause and severity of the abdominal pain, and how long you have had it. Treatment may include following a particular diet in the long term getting more exercise taking medicines or having surgery.
Why Does It Hurt Below Your Sternum
The sternum or breastbone is at the center of the chest and when you feel pain below it, some type of disorder in the abdomen may be present. Such pain may be mild or moderate or severe. Symptoms and treatments may depend on the specific cause and tissues involved. Read on to learn different causes of pain below sternum and how you can deal with each condition.
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Other Causes Of Stomach Pain
- Certain vascular diseases: Conditions where the intestines dont get enough blood can cause pain and cramps. A common one is a lack of blood supply to the large bowel, or colon, called ischemic colitis, Dr. Kirsch says. This typically causes left-sided cramping and bleeding.
- Gynecological issues: That whole organ system is in the pelvis, so ruptured ovarian cysts, a twisted ovary or ectopic pregnancies can all cause lower abdominal pain, he notes.
- Groin hernias: Hernias happen when an organ pushes through the enclosed area that holds it. A hernia in the groin can cause lower abdominal pain and discomfort.
- Tumors: People who have tumors in the large intestine may experience stomach pain and a change in their bowel pattern, especially if its blocking something.