Everyone has had that stinging stomach cramp at least once in their lifetime. That uncomfortable sensation that is felt in your tummy is basically the abdominal pain. Anyone at any time can suffer from stomachache due to various reasons. The severity of abdominal pain can range from mild to severe cramps felt in between the chest and the pelvic region. Abdominal pain is so common that, most often it is cured at home. However, it can be a cause of concern if it lasts for several days. If you experience abdominal pain for more than a week or so, it is time that you have a check-up from the Best Gastroenterologist near you.
Types of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is not always because there’s something wrong with your stomach. At times, it can be a result of an underlying condition. Depending upon the location of the pain and your symptoms, your primary care doctor may be able to detect the cause of your pain and the disorder afflicting you. Here are a few types of abdominal pain:
- Generalized pain: Generalized pain as the name suggests is a pain that is felt throughout or more than half of your stomach. This is the most common type of pain, usually caused by a stomach virus, bacteria, indigestion or gas. This may cause discomfort in the abdominal area and can be serious sometimes if not taken into consideration.
- Localized pain: Localized pain is restricted to a single region in the abdomen. This is because the pain is caused by a single organ such as the appendix, gallbladder, liver, etc. It even includes the Ulcer symptoms that cause pain.
- Cramps: Cramps are common but are not a cause of concern. Often, they’re caused by symptoms of bloating, constipation, gas, and diarrhoea. In women, cramps are likely to occur because of menstruation, pregnancy, etc. This type of abdominal pain comes and goes, however, if the cramps don’t stop, you need to see a doctor.
- Colicky pain: Colicky pain occurs suddenly, usually like a wave. It is a symptom of serious conditions such as gallstones or kidney stones. If you experience any of these conditions, you need to consult a Hepatologist or the best doctor for hepatitis b as soon as possible.
Thus, based on the type of pain you are suffering, your doctor may prescribe appropriate abdominal pain medicine.
Abdominal Pain Causes:
A person can face various conditions that can be wholly or partly related to the cause of abdominal pain. Most of the abdominal pains are easily curable. But if anyone faces any debilitating disorders, it is advisable to seek treatment from the doctor. Some of the conditions are:
- Appendicitis: Usually when a person is suffering from appendicitis, one experiences stinging pain in the lower right side of the abdomen. This is because the appendix is either inflamed or if it’s infected or when there this a blockage inside of the appendix. The latter may cause the appendix to be swollen, sore or in some cases to burst. Appendicitis is generally very painful and often needs to be removed surgically.
- Liver condition: Many times, liver conditions such as cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, etc can cause abdominal pain in the upper part of the abdomen. If you have any of these conditions, or if you suspect any pain in the liver area, you may consult a liver specialist or talk to a gastroenterologist.
- Gastroenteritis: Gastroenteritis is also known as stomach flu is the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract- the stomach and the intestine. This disease is characterized by severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Contact with a person who already has this disease, or consuming contaminated food can lead to this distressing condition.
- GERD or Acid Reflux: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition of frequent heartburns where the contents of the stomach move up to the oesophagus. If you are facing acid reflux on a regular basis, you may be diagnosed with GERD. To confirm the diagnosis, you should begin receiving medication from a food pipe specialist to relieve the discomfort. It is even possible that you might have a serious ailment such as oesophageal cancer.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a disorder of the large intestine. It causes pain in the stomach, diarrhoea, abdominal pain with constipation, (at times it may also alter between these two), bloating, etc. The main cause of this disorder is an infection. One may lose several nutrients because of the frequent bowels. Thus, one needs to make up for the loss of these nutrients by following an appropriate diet. Usually, a low FODMAP diet is recommended for those with IBS.
- Food Intolerance: Some people are allergic to certain types of food. This food sensitivity can cause people a great deal of pain in their abdomen. Food intolerance can be of several types such as lactose intolerance, gluten allergy, etc. Eating such foods may cause them full-body discomfort, diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, etc. It’s best that one avoids the food that they are sensitive to.
- Endometriosis: Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition among women where the tissue that grows on the lining of the uterus, starts growing on other parts of the body. It can inflict great pain and cramps during the monthly cycle. These cramps can cause severe abdominal pain, every time the woman has her period.
Abdominal pain in children could be because of a gamut of factors. Injury, food allergy, food poisoning, infections, underlying diseases, etc can be some of the many reasons. For abdominal pain treatment, it’s best that you consult a gastroenterologist.
Home Remedies for Abdominal Pain:
The safest step to get relief from abdominal pain is getting diagnosed accurately by consulting the doctor who will examine you to identify the seriousness of the pain. But if the pain is not so intense or is caused due to gastric issues you can definitely go for certain home remedies:
- Baking soda for heartburn; mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda water and drink and it will dissolve the acid formed in the stomach.
- Ginger is the best to prevent indigestion and reduces nausea; try soaking ginger roots in hot water or tea and drink, it will relieve the pain.
- Go for heating bags and compress on your stomach to prevent cramp-like pain.
- A liquid diet of broth and sweetened, non-caffeinated sports drinks can also help.
- Lying tilted to the left side, which can help you pass the gas.
- Modify your diet and try to eliminate problematic foods, such as dairy products, beans, broccoli, and potential allergens. Even try to avoid cereals in night which causes gastric problems like chole, rajma, etc.
- You can try out few yoga asanas too such as Apan asana, Spinal twist, Bridge Pose, Seated forward bend pose, Seated cat cow pose, pranayama etc.
When to See a Doctor:
If the abdominal pain is severe or mild but lasts for more than a week, then one should consult the doctor. The so-called “red flag” symptoms that may be the indication of serious or life-threatening ailment include:
- The abdomen is stiff or hard and tender when touched.
- Blood in stool or vomit.
- Constipation with vomiting.
- Difficulty in breathing.
- High fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Pulsating mass in the abdomen.
- Rapid pulse or rapid breathing.
- Severe pain spreading from the abdominal location to the chest, arm, neck, jaw, or shoulder.
- If suffering from jaundice including pain.
There are certain tests used to diagnose the cause of abdominal pain. But before conducting any kind of test doctors usually go for a physical examination of the abdomen. This is done by applying light pressure on different areas of the abdomen and any kind of tenderness or swelling is checked. This information and the severity of the pain along with its location in the abdomen help the doctor to decide which tests to prescribe. So, before the start of the treatment doctor advises us on the diagnosis.
Tests such as MRIs, ultrasounds, CTC, and x-rays are imaging hence used to visualize the organs, tissues, and other structures present in the abdomen in a fine manner. These tests can also help in identifying stones, ulcers, tumors, fractures, ruptures, and inflammation.
Few Other tests are:
- Upper GI (upper gastrointestinal tract)
Blood, urine, and stool samples can also be taken to look for the presence of infections like bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections.
Gastrointestinal abdominal pain caused by gas, indigestion, constipation, and upset stomach will likely disappear within a few hours today without treatment. You can go for over-the-counter (OTC) medications to get relief faster. Your doctor or pharmacist can prescribe you the right medicine. OTC options include:
- Antacids and acid reducers
- Anti-gas products like Maalox
- Anti-nausea medication
- Stool softeners for constipation
Other causes of abdominal pain like food poisoning, gastritis, or peptic ulcer disease, may disappear after the stomach or intestinal lining get to heal. Medical treatments for such pain include:
- Antibiotics for bacterial causes
- Acid reducers and acid blockers
- Electrolyte replacement fluids for vomiting or diarrhoea to prevent dehydration
Treatment for other abdominal pain depends upon its cause. A combination of medications is required for the treatment of chronic abdominal pain, such as inflammatory bowel syndrome. At times surgery is also involved to get rid of chronic conditions. For acute abdominal pain, such as bowel obstruction, appendicitis, or gallstones, requires hospital care and surgery through which diseased tissue is repaired or removed.
Abdominal pain happens frequently among people of every age be it adults or the pediatric population. A wide range of conditions that can be associated with abdominal pain and discomfort can be noted. Since it is a very sensitive case the person must consult the doctor or reach the most accurate diagnosis as in most cases the exact cause of the underlying disease is not known. So, in this case, consultation is required so as to provide the most appropriate course of treatment depending upon the person’s history and unique symptoms.
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