Why Does My Stomach Hurt
Tummy troubles are a common cause for a visit to the doctors office. When patients complain of stomach pain, they are sometimes describing pain that is throughout the abdomen area and may not actually be directly related to the organ known as the stomach.
Doctors first try to determine if a patients abdominal pain is caused by a structural or functional problem.
Sometimes the digestive tract does not function properly due to an abnormality with the structure of an organ. Medical imaging will show that the organ does not look normal and is not working properly.
The gastrointestinal system has its own nervous system to control the muscle contractions that digest the food you eat. Functional problems, also called motility disorders, result from poor nerve and muscle function in the digestive tract. Gastrointestinal organs with motility problems will usually look normal on medical imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRI scans, but the organs do not work like they should. Because functional disorders are hard to see in imaging, they can be challenging to diagnose.
Why Does Belly Pain Happen
Pain is the bodys way of telling us that somethings going on. Belly pain alerts us to something thats happening inside us that we might not know about otherwise.
Some reasons for belly pain are easy to spot, like when someone gets hit in the gut or eats spoiled macaroni salad. Oher times, it might be hard to figure out.
When you get a pain in your stomach, it might be an actual problem right in your stomach, but not necessarily. Your abdomen is more than your stomach. Its more than your intestines. Its the whole area between your chest and your pelvic bones. With so many organs in the abdomen, different problems can have similar symptoms.
Emotional Reaction To Sex
Many people experience abdominal pain after sex because of a negative emotional reaction. If youâre feeling anxiety, stress, sadness, or irritation before sex, you may feel physical symptoms of nausea, pain, or gas after sex. Similarly, if you feel emotionally uncomfortable during intercourse, your feelings may translate into physical symptoms after intercourse.
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Are There Foods That Reduce Stomach Pain
Anxiety-related stomach pain is not usually the result of your diet , so there arent necessarily any dietary changes that can help reduce stomach pain.
That said, those with panic attacks are more prone to experiencing more severe stomach discomfort, even when no anxiety is present. In other words, when you have panic attacks, its possible to have stomach pain even without a panic attack.
Also, those with anxiety attacks and severe anxiety are prone to whats known as over-sensitization. That means that they are more likely to notice and feel smaller, normal changes in the body, and these can trigger an anxiety attack. So if your diet does contain foods that cause you gas, stomach discomfort, or mild indigestion, it may be best to avoid them because the slight amount of discomfort could feel worse than it should and may trigger a panic attack.
Thats why healthy eating is important in those that get stomach pain with anxiety. Make sure youre getting:
- Whole-Grain Carbohydrates
Also, if you suffer from stress-induced hyperacidity, then it is recommended that you consume dairy products and non-spicy foods. In moderate amounts, over-the-counter antacids may be needed as well.
In addition, if possible, try to avoid eating until youre too full. Those with severe anxiety sometimes interpret the full feeling as pain, and this could trigger a panic attack and further pain.
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Hard Stomach: Causes And Effective Natural Treatments That Really Work
Bloating around the abdominal region can cause a hard stomach. Some people experience that the area around their stomach becomes hard and rigid after eating or if they have issues digesting food. Usually, the bloating and feeling of tightness in the stomach goes away after passing gas, having a bowel movement, or taking natural remedies to relieve bloating. However, some serious medical conditions can cause your stomach to become hard and bloated.
Apart from causing abdominal discomfort, a hard, rigid stomach can cause embarrassment. Some women say that their stomachs become so stiff and swollen that others think they are pregnant. Of course, pregnancy is one reason for having a larger stomach. But, if your hard stomach is because of a digestive problem, there are many effective home remedies to help you get relief.
This article looks at the different reasons you can experience a hard stomach and what you can do to relieve the bloating.
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What Does Abdominal Pain Location Tell You
Location is an important clue to your abdominal pain, though its not the only factor. It may indicate which organs are involved. For example, pain in the upper right quadrant may indicate a problem with your liver or gallbladder.
However, your healthcare provider will also want to know more about what your pain feels like, how often you feel it, and how severe it is. This will give them additional clues about what kind of condition you may have.
Types Of Abdominal Pain
There are several types of abdominal pain, which are based on how quickly your pain starts and how long it lasts:
- Acute pain starts over a few hours or days and may come with other symptoms.
- Chronic pain lasts longer — from weeks to months or more — and may come and go.
- Progressive pain gets worse over time and often comes with other symptoms.
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How Can You Determine That The Pain Is Caused By Abdominal Gastritis
It is a common question for people with abdominal pain that is caused by gastritis. People with gastritis often have pain, stinging pain, Abdominal tenderness, cramping under the epigastric region. These pains can be either before eating or after eating or an empty stomach, like when you are hungry in the morning or late at night, you may have stomach pain as and the pain come and go. It can be several times a day or according to the meals you have. Each time the pain lasts about 15-30 minutes, the pain will improve by eating, drinking milk, or take antacids.
However, stomach disorders caused by stomach acids do not always have abdominal pain. In which many patients came to see a doctor because they vomited blood, which may be the result of stomach ulcers caused by excess acid or a burning sensation in the chest due to acid reflux causing the swelling of the esophagus or cough because of the inflammation reaching the throat, these are the most likely symptoms related to the stomach.
Stomach Pain In Children
Stomach pains are common in children. Causes include indigestion, stress, or more serious cases like appendicitis. Stomach pain of three hours or less is usually not severe. Call your healthcare provider immediately if a child has a fever of 100.4F or other symptoms such as diarrhea that could lead to dehydration.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
Sometimes, what seems like one problem food poisoning, for example can turn out to be something more serious, like appendicitis.
- the pain is very strong
- youre vomiting a lot
- you already have another health condition
- the pain gets worse over time, doesnt go away, or wakes you up from sleep
Also let the doctor know if you:
- have pain when you pee
- have trouble pooping or peeing
- have blood in your poop or pee
- think the belly pain is from an injury
- might be pregnant
Using Alcoholic Bitters To Relieve Stomach Pain
You may raise an eyebrow, but did you know that alcoholic bitters can naturally relieve stomach pain?
Many common brands of bitters contain a mix of mint, ginger, cinnamon, and fennel, all of which are known to help ease stomach pain in one form or another. Five to six drops in a glass of club soda or ginger ale might surprise you.
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Too Much Sugarless Gum
If you consume too much sorbitol, which is found in some sugar-free products, it can cause pain and diarrhea. According to a 2008 article in BMJ, a 21-year-old woman had an 11-pound weight loss, abdominal pain, and diarrhea from chewing about 16 sticks of gum a day.
A 46-year-old man had similar symptoms after chewing about 20 sticks of sugarless gum and eating sorbitol-containing sweets daily. “Sorbitol goes into your GI tract and since your body can’t absorb it, it gets to the bacteria in your colon, which eat it and produce gas and fluids that contribute to diarrhea,” explains Dr. Raymond.
To fix the problem, cut back on the amount of sugarless gum you chew.
When Should I Be Worried About Abdominal Bloating
See your healthcare provider if your bloated stomach:
- Gets progressively worse.
- Persists for more than a week.
- Is persistently painful.
- Comes with symptoms of illness, such as fever, vomiting or bleeding.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A bloated stomach is not a pleasant feeling. While its a common experience and usually temporary, you may become weary of the cycle. Spending a little focused attention on the problem to identify the cause can be well worthwhile. Try recording your symptoms and possible triggers in a journal. Note diet, hormonal and stress factors. When in doubt bring your notes to a specialist for professional guidance. The different factors that contribute to bloating can be complex and difficult to parse, but medical testing can help. As always, seek medical attention if your symptoms are persistent or severe.
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When Should An Adult Seek Medical Care For Abdominal Pain
- Abdominal pain that lasts more than six hours or continues to worsen
- Severe abdominal pain
- Pain that worsens when a person tries to move around
- Pain that starts all over, but settles into one area, especially the right lower abdomen
- Pain that awakens a person up at night
- Pain with vaginal bleeding or pregnancy, even if a female only thinks she might be pregnant
- Pain accompanied by a fever over 101 F
- Pain along with an inability to urinate, move the bowels, or pass gas
- Any other pain that feels different from a simple stomach ache
- Any other pain that alarms a person, or concerns them in any way
If the person has any of the following, or cannot reach their doctor, go to a hospital emergency department:
- Very severe pain
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How Are Stomach Ulcers Treated
Ulcers can heal if they are given a rest from the factors that created them. Healthcare providers treat uncomplicated ulcers with a combination of medicines to reduce stomach acid, coat and protect the ulcer during healing and kill any bacterial infection that may be involved. Medicines may include:
- Antibiotics. If H. pylori was found in your digestive tract, your healthcare provider will prescribe some combination of antibiotics to kill the bacteria, based on your medical history and condition. Commonly prescribed antibiotics include tetracycline, metronidazole, clarithromycin and amoxicillin.
- Proton pump inhibitors . These drugs help reduce stomach acid and protect your stomach lining. PPIs include esomeprazole,dexlansoprazole,lansoprazole, omeprazole,pantoprazole and rabeprazole.
- Histamine receptor blockers . These reduce stomach acid by blocking the chemical that tells your body to produce it . H2 blockers include famotidine, cimetidine and nizatidine.
- Antacids. These common over-the-counter medicines help to neutralize stomach acid. They may bring some symptom relief, but they arent enough to heal your ulcer. They also might interfere with some antibiotics.
- Cytoprotective agents. These medicines help to coat and protect your stomach lining. They include sucralfate and misoprostol.
- Bismuth Subsalicylate. This over-the-counter medicine, commonly found as Pepto-Bismol, can help coat and protect your ulcer from stomach acid.
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Is Postprandial Pain Life
Some causes of postprandial pain such as pancreatitis can be very serious and severe. According to a large epidemiologic study from the United States, approximately 15-25% of patients with acute pancreatitis develop severe pancreatitis . Severe pancreatitis can result in fever, hypotension, and organ failure and require monitoring in the intensive care unit. It is important to not ignore symptoms of pain in the upper abdomen and seek medical attention before the condition worsens.
Treatment And Home Remedies For Abdominal Pain
How abdominal pain is treated is highly dependent on the diagnosis. Medications that reduce inflammation may help with stomach pains resulting from ulcers.
But other conditions, like kidney stones, may require more intensive treatment like shock wave lithotripsy. Inflammation of the gall bladder might require gall bladder surgery.
If you and your doctor have determined that your abdominal pain is not the result of a serious medical condition, there are a number of home health remedies that may provide relief. Heres a brief list:
- bitters and soda
Not all forms of abdominal pain are preventable. But you can minimize the risk of developing abdominal pain by:
- eating a healthy diet
- exercising regularly
- eating smaller meals
If you have an intestinal disorder, like Crohns disease, follow the diet your doctor has given you to minimize discomfort. If you have GERD, dont eat within 2 hours of bedtime.
Lying down too soon after eating may cause heartburn and abdominal pain. Try waiting at least 2 hours after eating before lying down.
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How Common Is Stomach Bloating
Between 10% and 25% of otherwise healthy people complain of occasional abdominal bloating. As many as 75% describe their symptoms as moderate to severe. About 10% say they experience it regularly. Among those diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome , it may be as much as 90%. Up to 75% of women experience bloating before and during their period. Only 50% of people who experience bloating also report a distended abdomen.
Should You Keep Her Home
If your child comes down with an achy stomach just before school , think twice before letting her stay home, advises Dr. Richard Gilchrist. Kids often get stomach pain from a stressor like a big test or a bully, he says youre better off teaching her simple slow-breathing techniques to calm her nerves, or promise youll speak to her teacher and send her on her way. Even kids with known GI diseases shouldnt stay home unless their symptoms are severe, he says. By using guidelines developed with your childs physician and spelled out in advance, youll avoid repeat battles. Plus, at school shell be able to distract herself more easily when shes keeping busy and among friends.
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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:
Heartburn Or Acid Indigestion
One of the most common digestive complaints, heartburn is described as a feeling of burning behind the sternum, with the discomfort often radiating upwards towards the mouth. It can also be described as a cramping, bloating, or a stabbing feeling. Heartburn happens when a sphincter in the stomach doesnt close properly, allowing stomach acid into the wrong areas of the intestinal tract. In many people, heartburn can be exacerbated by large meals, spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine. While taking an antacid may bring on relief, Adam Prinsen, a naturopath based in Peterborough, Ont., says suppressing stomach acid may not be the best long-term solution. Stomachs produce acid for a reason: to digest the protein in your stomach, he explains. If you dont have enough of it, you will compromise your digestion. And that could make the problem worse. Because sphincters are affected by stress, Prinsen recommends calming your nerves as a first step. Your digestive system wont work properly when youre stressed, he explains, because your body is in a fight-or-flight response-so all your blood goes to your muscles, rather than to your digestive system. Because people are always in a chronic state of stress, the digestive system eventually just shuts down. Thats why the secret to easing heartburn may be as simple as slowing down.
When To Call The Doctor About Abdominal Pain
If your abdominal pain is serious, doesn’t go away, or keeps coming back, talk to your doctor. Call 911 right away if your belly hurts because you had a recent injury there or if you have any chest pain.
You should also contact your doctor as soon as you can if you have symptoms along with the pain, such as:
- Can’t keep food down for more than 2 days
- Signs you’re getting dehydrated, including not urinating frequently, dark-colored urine, and being very thirsty
- Can’t have a bowel movement, especially if you’re also vomiting
- Pain when you pee, or you need to urinate often
Also call your doctor if:
- Your belly is tender to the touch
- Pain lasts more than a few hours
You may have other symptoms that could be a sign of a problem inside your body that needs treatment as soon as possible. Get medical care right away if you have abdominal pain and you also:
- Have unexplained weight loss