Understanding The Abdominal Pain
If you feel any pain below your ribs and above your pelvis, you have what is known as stomach or abdominal pain. The abdomen includes the stomach, large and small intestines, liver, kidneys, among others. It also comprises blood vessels, bones, and muscles.
The good news is that abdominal pain is normally harmless. Other times you may need relief from the symptoms, and over-the-counter prescriptions will work just fine.
Using Hot Water Bottles To Relieve Stomachache
Hot compresses can help soothe stomach pain. The word hot is used loosely here, since the desired level of heat will depend on both the level of pain and personal preference.
Fill the bottle or similar object with warm or hot water, place a cloth between it and your skin, and find a comfortable place to lie down.
- Place the hot water bottle, or a cloth soaked in hot water, on stomach for a five- to 10-minute treatment throughout the day.
- Take a warm shower or bath twice a day for 15- to 20-minute intervals.
What Are The Causes Of Pain In Your Abdomen
There are many reasons you could have pain in the abdomen, and taking note of the patterns and location is important. Pains such as those caused by indigestion or a pulled muscle are generally not very serious and tend to resolve independently. If the pain does not seem to be resolving after a few hours and continues for several days, you may need to seek medical attention.
Here are some common causes of pain in your abdomen.
Let us explore the different types of pain in a little detail below
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When In Doubt About Your Abdominal Symptoms Physicians Say Its Best To Call Your Doctor Or Head To The Er
The egg salad didn’t taste quite right, but you were hungry. Or maybe your craving for cheesecake overrode the punishment you knew your lactose intolerance would inflict. You expect stomach distress in situations like these, but other times, abdominal pain can come out of nowhere. Sometimes it’s severe enough or lasts for so long that you know it’s not simply a matter of eating something that didn’t agree with you.
Digestive system issues account for 51 million visits to doctors’ offices and emergency departments yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The severity of the pain, its location within your abdominal area, and accompanying symptoms may provide clues to the origin of the pain and whether or not you should seek help immediately. Here are some of the most common signs your tummy troubles need more than an over-the-counter remedy.
Sudden And Severe Onset Stomach Pain
When mid-abdominal pain occurs suddenly especially in people with a history of peptic ulcer disease or in those who take excessive amounts of aspirin or NSAIDs it may be a sign of a perforation that could require emergency surgery. A tear could leak air and gastric content which can lead to a condition called peritonitis, and eventually, septic shock. Surgery would be required to seal the perforation.
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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.
When It’s Not An Emergency
If your stomach pain is not severe, persistent, or associated with concerning symptoms like those already discussed, it is likely to resolve on its own. Abdominal pain is usually caused by minor problems such as constipation, trapped gas, or eating something that didn’t agree with you, like a high dairy meal or a spice that you aren’t used to.
Waiting a few hours, having a bowel movement, or passing gas usually helps. There are a few things you can do so that you can be more comfortable and to help relieve your symptoms as your pain resolves:
- Limit yourself to clear liquids for a few hours.
- If you experience vomiting and/or diarrhea, stick with the BRAT diet and other mild foods until your symptoms start to subside.
- Avoid foods that are tough on the digestive system, such as food that is high in fat, fried foods, spicy foods, and drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
- Try an over-the-counter antacid or gas-relieving product.
- Try to have a bowel movement. Often, eating raw fruit, vegetables, beans, or high-fiber cereal can help.
- Use a hot water bottle or heating pad. This may help to soothe your pain. Place the pad on your abdomen for half-hour intervals and be sure to use a towel under the pad to protect your skin.
Your symptoms may completely improve within one to two days. If they do not, call your doctor’s office for advice.
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Right Or Left Lower Abdominal Pain In Women
Sudden onset of right lower abdominal pain or left lower abdominal pain can indicate a ruptured ovarian cyst in a woman who is mid-cycle. This kind of pain could also be a sign of ovarian torsion, which is the rotation of the ovary and part of the fallopian tube, or possibly a twisting of the ovary due to compromised blood supply. Seek treatment immediately at the nearest emergency department. Surgery to remove the ovary may be required.
Drink Prune Juice To Relieve Stomach Pain
Stomach pain from constipation tends to radiate from the lower part of your abdomen and sometimes features a periodic shifting or gurgling feeling accompanied by a temporary spike in pain.
When constipation is your cause, consider a glass of prune juice or another type of laxative. If effective, you can expect to experience sudden relief.
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Signs You Should See A Doctor About Stomach Pain
Stomach pain can be tricky for even the best doctors to diagnose, so if all youre armed with is Google, M.D., sussing out whats causing your discomfort can be hard. For starters, stomach pain is a pretty broad description. Are we talking a mild yet persistent twinge or a cramps-that-hurt-so-badly-youre-on-the-floor kind of situation? Then theres the fact that stomach pain can crop up pretty much anywhere in your abdomen, and health issues that cause problems in one part of your belly might not affect others. These seemingly little nuances all matter when it comes to narrowing down what could be behind your stomach pain.
If youre struggling with stomach pain that makes you wonder if you should see a doctor, you probably should. Nothing beats an evaluation from an expert. That said, its understandable that you might want to have some inkling of what may be going on before then. Here are some common types of stomach pain you can experience, plus the health issues that could be behind them.
A Stomachache Worries Doctors When
1. The pain is severe. By severe, I mean that the child cannot be distracted from it and is crying or otherwise showing that they are extremely uncomfortable. Any severe pain warrants a trip to the doctor, whether its unrelenting or it comes and goes.
2. There is blood in the stool. Most of the time, we see blood in the stool with constipation, which is usually not serious and can be easily treated. But a bad stomachache with blood in the stool can be a sign of a serious infection, inflammatory bowel disease, or another intestinal problem. So, any time your child has a stomachache and blood in the stool, give your doctor a call to be on the safe side.
3. The child vomits blood. As with blood in the stool, this isnt always a sign of something serious. Children who have been vomiting a lot can sometimes vomit some blood, and children who have nosebleeds, or bleeding from a lost tooth or some other problem of the mouth, may vomit that blood back up. But as with blood in the stool, any stomach pain with vomiting blood requires a call to the doctor.
4. There is green vomit. Green vomit can be a sign of a blockage in the intestine. Sometimes people vomit some yellow-green material when they have vomited up everything else, but stomach pain and green vomit should never be ignored.
8. The child says it hurts to urinate. Sometimes a stomachache can be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
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When To See A Doctor As Soon As Possible For Stomach Pain
Some causes of stomach pain arent immediately life-threatening, but they still need medical attention within 24 to 48 hours.
See a doctor as soon as you can if you have stomach pain and:
- it worries you, but you dont have the urgent symptoms listed above
- the pain is getting worse or keeps coming back
- you have trouble swallowing food
- youre losing weight without meaning to
- youre peeing more or less than you normally do
- it burns when you pee or you have blood in your pee
- you have vaginal discharge that looks or smells unusual
- you have diarrhoea that hasnt gotten better after a few days
Again, this list doesnt cover every possible sign to watch out for, and everyone is different which means some serious causes of stomach pain may show up differently in some people. Thats why its worth speaking to a doctor if youre not sure if your stomach pain is anything to worry about.
Speak to a doctor online
You dont need to make an appointment with your family doctor or go to an urgent care centre to do this a much quicker alternative is to speak to a registered doctor online now.
Three Things To Look For With Stomach Pain
Suhail Sharif, MD, a general surgeon at Medical City Fort Worth and Medical City Alliance says there are three things you should look for that can help diagnose the source of abdominal pain, including:
- Type of pain: Is it a dull, achy, constant pain? Or more of a sharp, stabbing pain that comes and goes? This can tell doctors a lot about what might be going on.
- Location of pain: Pinpointing the exact location can be difficult, but try to narrow it down to the upper abdomen, the lower abdomen, the right side or the left. The abdomen has multiple organs, Dr. Sharif says, and as such any organ can cause abdominal pain.
- Additional symptoms: Are there other symptoms associated with your abdominal pain, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or indigestion? Your doctor will take all of these into account when making a diagnosis.
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What Else Could It Be
Although not usually a sign of serious illness, excessive gas can be a warning sign of an underlying medical issue. Excessive gas could be a sign of an abnormality with your digestive system, like gastroparesis, for example. Also, what you think are gas pains could actually be any one of a number of health problems.
Home Remedies For Stomach Pain May Work For You
Stomach pain is a common complaint that can range from mild stabs of pain to debilitating painful cramps.
Causes of stomach pain may be linked to an underlying health condition such as appendicitis or kidney stones, or it may be a reaction to a food product that irritates the stomach lining.
Many cases of discomfort are mild and may be alleviated by home remedies for stomach pain.
Using natural and widely available products like herbal teas and probiotic yogurt may offer fast relief without causing the additional pain sometimes triggered by the irritants in shelf medications.
Sudden and severe stomach pain may indicate a serious health condition. If it is accompanied by a fever, breathing difficulty, or bloody vomit, seek immediate medical attention.
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What Causes Abdominal Pain In Children
Common causes of abdominal pain in children include:
- trapped wind
- lower urinary tract problems, such as cystitis
Most abdominal pain is mild and will go away without treatment after a few days. However, your child should see a doctor if the pain is severe or doesnt go away, especially when they also have other symptoms, such as a fever. In this case, you should ensure they are monitored closely and they may need further medical assessment.
See Your Doctor As Soon As Possible If:
- your pain is no better after 2 hours of home care
- your abdomen is very painful
- your pain gets worse over time, or becomes sharper or stronger in one particular place
- your abdomen feels bloated or sticks out more than usual
- you cant stop vomiting
- you havent had a bowel motion or passed wind for 3 days
- youve lost your appetite
- there is blood in your vomit, urine or bowel motion, or vaginal bleeding that isnt a period.
You also need to see your doctor if you have other symptoms along with the pain such as fever or dizziness especially if those symptoms get worse over time or new symptoms develop.
Call Healthline if you are unsure what you should do.
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Symptoms Of Abdominal Pain In Adults
The type of pain can vary greatly. When abdominal pain occurs, it can:
- be sharp, dull, stabbing, cramp-like, twisting or fit many other descriptions
- be brief, come and go in waves, or it can be constant
- make you throw up
- make you want to stay still or make you so restless that you pace around trying to find just the right position
- vary from a minor problem to one needing urgent surgery.
When Stomach Pain Is And Is Not An Emergency
Stomach pain can have a variety of causes, some of which you can address by resting, avoiding heavy and spicy foods, taking medication, or using a heating pad. Others, however, may require urgent medical care.
While it can be hard to determine this on your own, at least with total certainty, there are some guidelines you can use to figure out if you should head to the ER, your doctor’s office, or try some at-home solutions. Regardless of how your case matches up if you feel severe, out-of-the-norm pain that you think needs immediate attention, seek it.
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What Is Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is discomfort or other uncomfortable sensations that you feel in your belly area. Just about everybody at one time or another will get a bellyache.
Most causes of abdominal pain aren’t reasons to worry, and your doctor can easily diagnose and treat the problem. Sometimes, though, it can be a sign of a serious illness that needs medical attention.
How Do I Know When To Go To The Er For Stomach Pain
Because common conditions, like food poisoning or constipation, can cause abdominal pain, it can often be difficult to know when your symptoms require a trip to the ER. If you are having unexplained or severe abdominal pain, or if you are in doubt about the cause of your abdominal pain, it is always best to be examined by a professional. If your stomach pain is severe, chronic, or accompanied by additional symptoms, visit your nearest ER as soon as possible to receive a diagnosis and treatment. Some signs and symptoms that may mean your stomach pain is serious enough to go to the ER include:
- Blood in stool
When you arrive at either of iCare ER & Urgent Cares state-of-the-art facilities in Fort Worth or Frisco, you will be promptly seen by one of our knowledgeable board-certified ER physicians. Your physician will perform a thorough examination, take a detailed health history, and run any necessary tests such as lab work or imaging studies to help elucidate the cause of your stomach pain. From there, effective and appropriate treatment will be administered depending on your diagnosis, severity of symptoms, and other factors. Your doctor may recommend additional therapies or prescribe medications for you to continue at home.
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When To Seek Immediate Medical Help
Severe abdominal pain is a greater cause for concern. If it starts suddenly and unexpectedly, and persists, it should be regarded as a medical emergency, especially if the pain is concentrated in a particular area.
or go to your nearest hospital emergency department if this is the case.
If you feel pain in the area around your ribs, see the section on chest pain.
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