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Abdominal Pain

Abdominal Pain

What’s Causing Your Abdominal Pain, and What Can You Do About It?

Stomach pain can be caused by a wide array of disorders, from gas to more serious conditions like appendicitis or Crohn’s disease. A diagnosis might be aided by noting the degree and location of the abdomen affected.

Discomfort between the chest and the pelvis is known as abdominal pain. Abdominal discomfort can be crampy, achy, dull, intermittent, or acute. A stomachache is another name for it.

The pain is restricted to a single location in the abdomen. This form of discomfort is frequently caused by issues with a certain organ. Stomach ulcers (open sores on the stomach’s inner lining) are the most common cause of localised pain.

Diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, or gas can all cause cramp-like pain. It has been linked to menstruation, miscarriage, and reproductive difficulties in people who were born female. This discomfort comes and goes, and it may go away without therapy.

Infections of the stomach and intestines caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites can cause severe abdominal pain.

Abdominal Pain Types

Abdominal discomfort is not the same for everyone. If you’re suffering from acute stomach pain, for example, you’ve probably only been suffering from it for a week or less.

Chronic abdominal discomfort, on the other hand, is persistent or recurrent pain. It can last for three months or longer.

Because there are so many gastrointestinal and systemic illnesses that cause stomach pain, doctors and healthcare providers sometimes struggle to pinpoint the source of the discomfort.

Abdominal discomfort that worsens over time is known as progressive abdominal pain. As the abdominal discomfort gets worse, other symptoms usually appear. Abdominal pain that persists is often a sign of something more serious. Continue reading to discover more about the many types of abdominal pain, including what causes it and where it occurs.

What’s abdominal pain?

Abdominal discomfort can occur anywhere on your body between the chest and the groyne. The discomfort could be broad, regional, or feel like stomach cramps. Gas, bloating, or constipation are all possible causes of stomach cramps and discomfort. It could also be a symptom of a more serious medical problem.

Pain in the abdomen that is colicky and comes and goes. You may feel good one minute and then have a sharp, abrupt ache in your belly the next. This type of pain is frequently caused by kidney stones or gallstones.

Diagnosis of abdominal pain

The reason for stomach discomfort can be determined by a battery of tests and an open discussion with your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination before scheduling testing. Check for soreness and swelling by gently pushing on several parts of your abdomen.

Prepare to respond to the following questions:

  • Where exactly on your body is it hurting?
  • Is the pain always in the same place, or has it moved?
  • How bad is the discomfort?
  • Is the discomfort constant or does it come in waves?
  • Is your discomfort so severe that it’s affecting your daily life?
  • When the discomfort first started, what were you doing?
  • Is there a particular time of day when the pain is the most intense?
  • When was the last time you passed gas?
  • Are your bowel movements consistent?
  • Have you noticed any differences in the colour of your urine?
  • Have you made any significant dietary changes?

Questions about sexual and menstruation history may be asked of people of reproductive age who were designated female at birth.

This information, when combined with the severity of the discomfort and its location inside the abdomen, will assist your doctor in deciding which tests to order.

Organs, tissues, and other structures in the abdomen are viewed in-depth with imaging tests such as MRI scans, ultrasounds, and X-rays. Tumours, fractures, ruptures, and inflammation can all be diagnosed using these tests.

Additional tests include:

  • Colonoscopy is a procedure that involves the examination of the colon (to look inside the colon and intestines)
  • Endoscopic examination (to detect inflammation and abnormalities in the oesophagus and stomach)
  • Upper gastrointestinal tract (a special X-ray test that uses contrast dye to check for the presence of growths, ulcers, inflammation, blockages, and other abnormalities in the stomach)

Samples of blood, urine, and faeces may also be taken to test for signs of bacterial, viral, or parasite illnesses.

Causes

Abdominal pain can result from a variety of factors. However, the following are the primary causes:

  • Infection
  • Abnormal growths
  • Inflammation
  • Impediment (blockage)
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Illnesses that damage the abdominal organs

Bacteria can enter your digestive tract due to infections in the oesophagus, intestines, or blood, causing stomach pain. Changes in how your body digests food, causing diarrhoea or constipation, may occur as a result of these illnesses.

Cramps connected with menstruation can also induce lower abdomen discomfort, but they’re more typically related to pelvic pain.

The following are some more prevalent causes of stomach pain:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • Indigestion is also known as acid reflux, when stomach contents leak backwards into the oesophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms
  • Vomiting
  • Stress

Chronic abdominal pain can be caused by diseases that damage the digestive system. The following are the most common:

  • GERD which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or colon spasms (a disorder that causes abdominal pain, cramping, and changes in bowel movements)
  • Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel illness (an inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Lactose intolerance (the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and milk products)

Severe abdominal discomfort can be caused by:

  • Rupture or near-rupture of an organ (like a burst appendix, or appendicitis)
  • Stones in the gallbladder (known as gallstones)
  • Renal stones
  • Infected kidneys

The location of the pain in the abdomen could reveal the source.

Pain that is widespread (rather than localised) in the abdomen could indicate:

  • Inflammation of the appendix (Appendicitis)
  • Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel illness.
  • Traumatic injury
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Infected urinary tract
  • Flu

Lower abdominal pain could mean one of the following:

  • Appendicitis
  • Intestine blockage
  • Ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb)

Pain in the reproductive organs of the lower abdomen in those assigned females at birth can be caused by:

  • Severe menstrual pain (called dysmenorrhea)
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Miscarriage
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Ectopic pregnancy

The following things can induce upper abdominal pain:

  • Gallstones
  • Heart failure
  • Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver (liver inflammation)
  • Pneumonia

The following conditions could cause abdominal pain:

  • Appendicitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Injury
  • Uremia (buildup of waste products in your blood)

The following factors may contribute to lower left abdomen pain:

  • Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel illness.
  • Cancer
  • Infected kidneys
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Appendicitis

Upper left abdomen pain might be brought on by:

  • Spleen enlargement
  • Faecal impaction (a hardened stool that refuses to pass)
  • Injury
  • Infected kidneys
  • Heart failure
  • Cancer

Lower right abdomen pain can be caused by:

  • Appendicitis
  • Hernia (when an organ protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles)
  • Infected kidneys
  • Cancer
  • Flu

Upper right abdomen pain could be caused by:

  • Hepatitis
  • Injury
  • Pneumonia
  • Appendicitis

When to call a doctor

Mild stomach pain may resolve on its own. If you’re having abdominal pain due to gas or bloating, for example, it may just need to pass.

Abdominal pain, on the other hand, may need a visit to the doctor in some circumstances.

If your abdomen discomfort is severe and is accompanied by trauma (from an accident or injury) or chest pressure or pain, dial 999.

If the pain is so severe that you can’t sit still or need to curl up into a ball to get comfortable, or if you have any of the following symptoms, you should get medical help right away:

  • Stools contain blood
  • Temperature more than 38.33°C (101°F )
  • Vomiting up blood (called hematemesis)
  • Nausea or vomiting that persists
  • Yellowing of eyes or skin
  • Swelling or severe abdominal tenderness
  • Suffer any breathing problems

If you have any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor:

  • Stomach ache that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Long-term constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Urinate with a burning sensation
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Undiagnosed weight loss

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and you’re having stomach pains, call a doctor.

Abdominal pain treatment and home remedies

The treatment of stomach discomfort is highly reliant on the diagnosis. Medications that lower inflammation may help with ulcer-related stomach aches.

However, some disorders, such as kidney stones, may necessitate more aggressive therapy, such as shock wave lithotripsy. Gall bladder inflammation may necessitate gall bladder surgery.

To relieve the pain, your doctor may prescribe a pain reliever such as amitriptyline or trazodone. These could alter how the brain interprets pain signals.

If you and your doctor have concluded that your abdomen discomfort is not caused by a major medical issue, there are several home health remedies that may help. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Soda and bitters
  • Ginger
  • Chamomile tea
  • BRAT (bananas, rice, apple sauce, toast)
  • Peppermint
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Heat pad
  • A hot bath

Prevention

Not all types of stomach pain may be avoided. However, you can reduce your chances of having stomach pain by:

  • Consuming a nutritious diet
  • Consuming plenty of water
  • Take regular physical activity
  • Consuming fewer meals

If you have an intestinal illness, such as Crohn’s disease, stick to the diet prescribed by your doctor to reduce discomfort. If you have GERD, avoid eating within two hours of going to bed.

Heartburn and abdominal pain can occur if you lie down too soon after eating. Before lying down, wait at least 2 hours after eating.

Outlook

It’s crucial not to leap to conclusions if you’re suffering stomach pain because it’s generally not serious. If the discomfort is persistent or chronic, consult your doctor. If your acute stomach pain is severe, see a doctor right away so you can figure out what’s wrong and start treatment.

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