Abdominal Pain can be defined as discomfort that occurs anywhere between the ribs, pelvis, and belly. Often referred at stomach ache this pain could be coming from any number of internal organs besides the stomach.
A brief onset of abdominal pain is known as acute while one that lasts three months or longer is known as chronic.
Notably, abdominal pain can take many different forms, ranging from intermittent cramping to sharp, stabbing sensations to persistent, dull aches. Even slight pain can be an early symptom of a dangerous ailment, which is why these individuals’ conditions are closely monitored by healthcare specialists.
Common causes of abdominal pain
- Food intolerance: When the body is unable to digest food, bacteria in the intestines and stomach break it down. This leads to releasing gas in the process. The build-up of this gas results in pain.
- Constipation: When too much waste accumulates in the bowel, the pressure on the colon rises, causing pain.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease: this long-term condition that involves persistent acid reflux can cause abdominal pain, heartburn, and nausea.
- Stomach or peptic ulcers: Severe and persistent stomach discomfort is often caused by ulcers or wounds that refuse to heal. Bloating, indigestion and weight loss are all possible side effects.
- Pulled or strained muscles: For exercise enthusiasts doing more sit-ups than usual, for example, may lead to muscle pain in the abdominal area.
- Menstrual cramps: Inflammation and pain in the abdomen are common during menstruation thus stomach discomfort can be caused by bloating, gas, cramps, and constipation.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: Caused by one’s ability not to digest certain foods for unknown reasons thus IBS comes with an of experience abdominal pain, which is often eased after a bowel movement.
- Gastritis: inflammation of the lining of the stomach resulting from the infection with the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers to make the stomach lining become inflamed or swollen and pain may occur.
- Acid reflux: Stomach acids can occasionally go back into the throat. This reflux is always accompanied by a burning feeling and pain.
- Appendicitis: When the appendix gets blocked, often by poop, a foreign body (something inside you that isn’t supposed to be there), or cancer pain in your lower right belly will occur.
- Cancer: Forms of cancer such as liver, pancreas, or stomach have abdominal pains as the main symptom.
- Ectopic pregnancy: This occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus. It causes sharp waves of pain in the abdomen.
Abdominal Pain diagnosis
There are many factors that come to consider when a doctor is affecting a diagnosis. This is based on your symptom history, a physical examination, and testing if needed.
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions about the characteristics of your pain, and whether you have any underlying physical or mental health conditions that could be contributing to your abdominal pain.
If your doctor suspects a serious health condition that may need treatment, any of the following tests may be used to help diagnose the cause of your abdominal pain:
- X-ray of the abdomen
- Ultrasound of the abdomen
- Computerized tomography (CT) scans of the abdomen
- Barium enema which is a colon X-ray
- Blood, urine, and stool tests
- Endoscopic procedures-which is inserting a tube with a tiny camera through your mouth or rectum to view areas inside your digestive tract
Prevention of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can often be avoided by making lifestyle and dietary changes that address the source of your discomfort. Constipation, digestive distress, and even abdominal damage can all be avoided in many cases.
The following steps may help you prevent abdominal pain:
Drink more water: Staying hydrated helps in avoiding constipation
Develop bowel habits that are consistent. To avoid constipation, many people can train themselves to have regular bowel movements.
Maintain a fiber-filled diet: Consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, can aid in digestion and relieve constipation.
Eating in a regular and slow manner: eating reasonably sized meals rather than waiting until you’re ravenous and cramming yourself, this will help stop the pain caused by stuffing food when extremely hungry.
Exercise on a regular basis: Constipation can be avoided by increasing physical activity and strengthening your abdominal muscles, which can assist minimize straining.
Abdominal Pain Treatment
Over-the-counter drugs which are pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen can be taken but it is advisable to take them once the doctor prescribes them.
8 reasons you should see a doctor for abdominal pain
- The pain is sudden, sharp, and on one side of your pelvis, followed by dull pain in your lower abdomen, because this particular pain signals a ruptured ovarian cyst.
- Menstrual pain that gets worse over the years could be a sign of a condition like endometriosis.
- You have intense stomach cramps in your lower abdomen, but you feel better after you poop. This can be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome.
- The lower right abdomen came on suddenly and is getting worse with time. Classic appendicitis pain happens in such a manner.
- Pain that is spreading into your back and lasts more than a day is a sign of pancreatitis
- When the pain comes pretty quickly and your body has an effect of vomiting, the gastroenteritis or stomach flu could be presenting its signs
- Intense stomach pain and bloody diarrhea could suggest you’re dealing with a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), like ulcerative colitis, a chronic, sometimes debilitating condition that causes sores on the inner lining of the large intestine.
Abdominal pain that may not arise from the abdomen
- Abdominal pain and nausea are common side effects of heart attacks and pneumonia.
- Adults may experience stomach pain due to diseases of the pelvic or groin.
- Lower abdomen pain is frequently caused by testicular problems.
- Even if there is nothing wrong with the person’s body, certain skin rashes, such as shingles, can cause stomach pain.
- Little poisonings and bites, such as those from the black widow spider, can produce severe stomach agony.