What Causes Sudden And Severe Abdominal Pain
Sudden and severe abdominal pain should never be ignored. Steadily worsening abdominal pain may also be a sign of a serious condition.
If you have these symptoms, go immediately to your nearest hospital emergency department or call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.
Some of the causes of serious abdominal pain include:
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. It should get better without treatment after a few days.
Gastroenteritis may be caused by:
- coming into close contact with someone who’s infected
- eating contaminated food
If you have repeated bouts of stomach cramps and diarrhoea, you may have a long-term condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome .
Pain After A Fatty Meal
Many times after consuming a fatty meal, we can develop severe pain in our stomachs. It may just be the meal, but it could also be a gallbladder attack. Women in their 40s who are overweight are at the highest risk for gallbladder problems. If the pain gets progressively worse, seek treatment from a medical professional.
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Lactose Intolerance And Food Allergies
Eating something youre allergic or sensitive to can cause sharp pains in your abdomen as your body struggles to digest it. Sometimes gas and indigestion symptoms will arise if you eat food that your body doesnt agree with.
Unless you have food allergies that put you at risk for anaphylaxis, abdominal pain from food allergies or sensitivities is not an emergency. You may also notice bloating or diarrhea because of eating food your body cant digest properly.
If you have a lactose allergy, speak to your healthcare provider about replacement enzyme pills that may allow you to consume dairy without discomfort.
Treatments For Pain In Upper Stomach
Treatments for pain in the upper stomach depend on the underlying cause. Some pain in the upper stomach can be treated with over-the-counter medicine or a simple lifestyle change. Other pain in the upper stomach may be cause for a more extensive treatment administered by your doctor.
Some other treatments for pain in the upper stomach could include prescribed medication, surgery, or changes to your diet. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, or a doctor who specializes in digestive tract disorders.
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Preexisting Conditions That Make Abdominal Pain Even More Dangerous
Certain medical conditions make abdominal pain an even more serious event, especially in older adults.
If your loved one has abdominal pain and any of these medical conditions, call 911 or visit an emergency department immediately:
- Recent surgery in the abdomen
- Upper abdominal pain or tightness in the chest
- Recent gastric bypass surgery
- Recent endoscopy, colonoscopy or abdominal surgery
Once in the emergency department, be sure to notify the care team of any past surgeries to the abdomen right away.
Every minute counts when it comes to abdominal pain and your loved one, so dont second guess yourself. If youre wondering if its serious, it iscall 911 or go to the ER.
NOTE: This article is not meant to substitute for medical advice. Always call 911 if there is any hesitation or question about abdominal pain in your loved one.
Experienced An Upper Central Abdominal Pain Share Your Experience Here
Have you or a loved one suffered or are currently suffering with upper central abdominal pain? How did it start? Share your experience with our online community.To help us understand what might be causing your upper stomach pain, can you please include the following information in your story:
- Where exactly is this pain?
- When it all started and for how long it has been going on?
- Is the pain mild, moderate or severe?
- What are the characteristics of the pain? Is it sharp, burning or a dull ache?
- Is the pain always there or does it tend to be worse at a particular time of the day or night or after eating, etc.?
- Does the pain spread to anywhere else> For example, to the side or back?
- What makes the pain better? Food or pain relief?
- What makes it worse?
- Has there been any recent intake of alcohol or spicy food? Have you been more stressed recently?
- Is there any associated vomiting or change in bowel habit?
- Is there any change in the colour of your stool? Is there blood in your stool?
- Have you been losing weight unintentionally in the past few weeks or months?
- What is your past medical history?
- Are you on any medications?
- Do you suffer with any allergies?
- Is there any other relevant information or description of the pain you want to provide?
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When Stomach Pain Is And Is Not An Emergency
Stomach pain can have many causes. Most of them aren’t serious, but some are, and you need to be able to recognize their warning signs.
If you rest, avoid certain foods, take medication, or use a heating pad, you may get relief from some kinds of pain. For others, you may need urgent medical care.
This article explains which symptoms mean you should head to the ER. It also lists symptoms that mean you should visit your healthcare provider. Finally, it provides some at-home solutions to try.
Verywell / JR Bee
What Is Upper Stomach Pain
Upper stomach pain is a common ailment among adults and children. Your intestines, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are all found in your upper stomach. Because of this, the list of potential causes of upper stomach pain is long. Indigestion, heartburn, gas, or a common stomach virus can cause pain in your upper stomach.
Causes for upper stomach pain range from benign to life-threatening, so it is important to consult with a doctor if you are experiencing stomach pain. The ailment can cause severe discomfort, but there are several steps you can take to alleviate upper stomach pain.
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What Is Epigastric Pain
Epigastric pain is pain in the upper middle part of the abdomen. This area is known as the epigastrium. Most of the abdomen is occupied by the digestive organs, like the stomach, intestines andthe liver. We tend to assume that abdominal pain is due to a problem with the digestive system but there may be a host of other possible causes. First it is important to understand which organs lie in the region of the abdomen where the pain is being experienced. Second the associated symptoms need to be considered.
Upper middle abdominal pain may also be linked to problems in the chest cavity since the region lies right next to the thorax. This may also cause some degree of confusion. For example, a heart attack can cause epigastric pain and there may be nausea or vomiting which most people will assume to be a digestive rather than a heart problem. As a general rule, epigrastic pain that is severe and unabating, worsening over time, accompanied by symptoms like dizziness or difficulty in breathing should always be investigated by a medical professional immediately.
Upper Stomach Pain: When Is It Serious
Stomach pain passes on its own in a matter of days. However, persistent pain or additional symptoms may signal something serious and urgent. Seek immediate medical attention if the patient is experiencing the following:
- Stools are bloody, pale, black and tarry, or white
- Persistent vomiting, with blood
- Pain so severe that the patient cant move
- Abdominal pain is accompanied by fever
- Pain is severe in the upper right abdomen
- Signs of dehydration are apparent
- Pain that occurs frequently in short, sharp bursts
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Liver And Gallbladder Issues
Pain in the upper right stomach that comes and goes could signal a problem with the gallbladder, such as gallstones.
Gallstones can block the ducts of the gallbladder, making digestion more difficult. This causes pain shortly after eating, especially after very fatty meals. People with gallstones may notice that the pain appears a few hours after eating, lasts for 46 hours, and then disappears.
Gallstones sometimes pass on their own. If they do not, they can block the biliary ducts, which can affect liver function. Untreated gallstones may also cause problems with the pancreas.
If a person experiences vomiting, pale stool, or a fever along with symptoms of gallstones, they should seek emergency medical treatment.
Otherwise, see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Home treatment is not effective for gallstones.
Eat Plenty Of Roughage
Fibre is the part of food that is not digested. It is filling but has few calories. It helps your bowels to move regularly, which reduces constipation and other bowel problems. Fibre may also help to lower your cholesterol level.
Starchy foods, and fruit and vegetables contain the most fibre. So the tips above on starchy foods and fruit and vegetables will also increase fibre. If you switch to wholemeal rice and pasta and wholemeal bread, this can significantly increase your fibre intake. Pulses like lentils and beans are also full of fibre.
Have plenty to drink when you eat a high-fibre diet .
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What Causes Upper Stomach Pain
Potential causes of upper stomach pain include:
- Obstruction of the bowel
- Stomach virus
While the ailment has many causes, the nature of your discomfort gradual or sudden, aching or sharp can indicate to your doctor what is causing your upper stomach pain. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe an appropriate treatment.
Common Causes Of Lower Abdominal Pain
The common causes of lower abdominal pain are the menstrual cycle, urinary tract infection and constipation. The common symptoms include:
- painful urination
- painful sex
The management of the associated pains with the above symptoms can typically be accomplished with over-the-counter pain relievers or antacids. A person should seek medical attention at an urgent care center in New Braunfels, Texas, if any symptom does not improve within three days, or at the first indication of painful urination.
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Causes Of Epigastric Pain
So if epigastric pain is so common, whats causing it?
The truth is, there are many possible causes of epigastric pain. Epigastric pain can be attributed to anything from trivial health issues to serious diseases. Many different health issues can contribute to epigastric pain. Here are 10 common epigastric pain causes:
1. Acid reflux: Acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease cause stomach acid to flow upwards into your esophagus . This causes epigastric pain, particularly when laying down after eating a meal. While anyone can experience occasional acid reflux, GERD is a chronic disease that requires treatment.
2. Gastritis: Gastritis refers to inflammation of the lining of the stomach. This can be temporary, often due to infections or other triggers, or it can be a chronic condition.
3. Heartburn and indigestion: Similar to acid reflux, indigestion occurs when your stomach produces an excessive amount of acid that flows up into your esophagus. This commonly causes heartburn, which is a burning sensation in your chest. However, it also typically causes epigastric pain. Indigestion can be either temporary or a repeated occurrence.
4. Pregnancy: Pregnancy can bring a wide range of health issues with it, and one of those is epigastric pain. Pregnant women have more pressure on their abdominal walls, which can cause pain. Hormone fluctuations can lead to issues with digestion that cause acid reflux and other conditions associated with epigastric pain.
What Investigations Might Be Advised
Some conditions may not need any investigations. Otherwise, the type of investigation will depend on which part of the gut is affected. Blood tests sometimes provide useful information about what is causing abdominal pain. Sometimes an X-ray or ultrasound scan will be carried out, which will look for specific things your doctor may suspect. The gut can be looked at directly with endoscopy. A gastroscopy will look at the oesophagus and stomach, and a colonoscopy will look at the large bowel. More details can be found in the individual condition leaflets, mentioned above.
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Types Of Sharp Pains In The Stomach
There are several types of abdominal pain, depending on the duration of the pain:
- Acute pain occurs over a few hours or days
- Chronic pain can last weeks, months, or more and it may come and go
- Progressive pain gets worse over time
Some abdominal pain or discomfort is normal, but sharp, stabbing pain can be frightening. Most abdominal pain isnt a cause for worry, but it may be a sign of a more serious health concern.
The severity of the pain, the location within the abdomen, and other symptoms can help determine the potential cause behind your sharp stomach painsand whether or not you need to see a doctor.
Treatment Of Epigastric Pain
Treatment of epigastric pain depends entirely on what is causing it. For pain that occurs because of overeating, alcohol consumption, or food triggers, nothing more than lifestyle changes are typically necessary. By stopping the behavior that causes the pain, your pain will resolve itself.
For serious conditions, such as diseases or cancers, the underlying cause has to be treated.
Currently, there are some medications that can reduce epigastric pain. Anti-inflammatory medications can help calm inflammation, while antacids and other treatments can reduce the amount of stomach acid you are producing.
However, many natural treatment options are also effective. There are a wide range of natural remedies that can soothe your stomach and improve your digestion. Cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and lemon juice all help secrete digestive juices in your stomach. Having a warm glass of lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of cumin seeds before a meal will help prevent any pain from developing. After a meal, eat half a teaspoon of fennel seeds, unless youre pregnant.
Epigastric pain is an uncomfortable but common condition for many people. There are a large number of health conditions that can contribute to it. While many of the causes are not concerning, it is still best to see a doctor to rule out serious disorders. Most of the time, you dont have to worry and your pain will resolve on its own.
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When Stomach Pain Is An Emergency
Stomach pain can sometimes be caused by a life-threatening condition. Some examples are:
- Bowel obstruction, which is when food or waste blocks the intestine
- Bowel perforation, which is a hole in the intestine that leaks food material
These emergencies usually cause pain that feels extreme. Your stomach pain may be urgent if:
- You are pregnant
- Your pain started within a week of abdominal surgery
- Your pain started after a procedure in your stomach area, such as an endoscopy
- You have ever had surgery on your digestive tract, such as gastric bypass, a colostomy, or a bowel resection
- Your pain started shortly after an abdominal trauma
- Your abdomen is bruised or rapidly expanding
Even if you don’t have these symptoms, get help if you feel unusually severe pain.
Sometimes stomach pain is mild at first but gets worse after a few hours. You may also develop other symptoms. Get help right away if you have any of these symptoms along with stomach pain:
- Extremely hard abdomen
- Inability to have a bowel movement, along with vomiting
- Pain in neck, shoulder, or between shoulder blades
- Vision changes
If you have these symptoms, call for an ambulance or have someone drive you to the emergency room. You should not “wait and see” or take medicine for the pain. Get help right away.
Severe Stomach Pain After Eating A Fatty Meal
If you find yourself doubled over after eating a high-fat meal, you may be experiencing a gallbladder attack. “Women are especially prone to gallbladder disease,” says Hardeep Singh, MD, gastroenterologist from St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA. “Overweight women in their 40s are at highest risk.” The pain becomes worse after eating, lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and may come and go, becoming more constant and severe over time, says Singh.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Pain In Upper Stomach
People experiencing pain in the upper stomach may have only one symptom or may have a combination of several symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms of pain in the upper stomach:
Belching is natural and common. Its your bodys way of getting rid of excess air. Everyone belches from time to time. However, if it interferes with your day-to-day life, it could be a sign of something more serious.
Most people have a regular desire to eat, but if you lose this desire, or appetite, the reason could be connected to pain in the upper stomach.
An unexplained drop in weight can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Pain in the upper stomach combined with weight loss could be related to disorders that prevent your body from absorbing the nutrients it needs.
What Type Of Abdominal Pain Do You Have
When it comes to abdominal pain, we classify it into four categories depending on the location. This helps us to know the symptoms and the ideal treatment.
Your abdominal pain can be felt either on the right, left, upper, or lower abdomenand all have different causes and symptoms.
- Upper abdomen
The upper stomach houses several organs such as gallbladder, liver and pancreas and any problem with any of these organs will cause abdominal pain.
The upper abdominal pain can be mild, severe, or come in waves, and it is caused by a variety of conditions such as gas, gallstones, gastritis, and indigestion among others. The symptoms of these conditions are similar and can include nausea, vomiting, a burning feeling in the upper part, or intense cramping. Since its hard to know and distinguish the specific condition, you should visit our emergency room in Harker Heights for an assessment and treatment.
- Lower abdomen
Lower abdominal pain is a sign of urinary tract infection, menstrual pain, or constipation. Constipation and menstrual pain is cramp-like pain that comes in waves and can be managed at home with pain-reliever, and hot water treatment.
You should, however, seek emergency treatment if you have pressure in your lower abdomen or back, frequent and burning feeling when urinating, fever or chillsthese are symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection.
- Right abdomen
- Left abdomen
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