Abdominal pain is the pain that occurs between the chest and pelvic regions. Abdominal pain can be crampy, achy, dull, intermittent or sharp. It’s also called a stomachache.
Inflammation or diseases that affect the organs in the abdomen can cause abdominal pain. Major organs located in the abdomen include:
- Intestines (small and large)
- appendix (a part of the large intestine)
Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections that affect the stomach and intestines may also cause significant abdominal pain.
What causes My Stomach to hurt?
Abdominal pain or stomach pain can be caused by many conditions. However, the main causes are infection, abnormal growths, inflammation, obstruction (blockage), and intestinal disorders.
Infections in the throat, intestines, and blood can cause bacteria to enter your digestive tract, resulting in abdominal pain. These infections may also cause changes in digestion, such as diarrhea or constipation.
Cramps associated with menstruation are also a potential source of lower abdominal pain, but more commonly these are known to cause pelvic pain.
Other common causes of abdominal pain include:
- gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
- acid reflux (when stomach contents leak backward into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms)
- kidney infection
Diseases that affect the digestive system can also cause chronic abdominal pain. The most common are; gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon (a disorder that causes abdominal pain, cramping, and changes in bowel movements), lactose intolerance (the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and milk products).
Gallstones can lurk inside your gallbladder. Many people have gallstones and never know it. Gallstones are hard deposits in your gallbladder, a small organ that stores bile, which is a digestive fluid, made in the liver. Gallstones may consist of cholesterol, salt, or bilirubin, which are discarded red blood cells. Gallstones range in size. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as an apricot.
Pancreatitis is a disease in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. Pancreatic damage happens when the digestive enzymes are activated before they are released into the small intestine and begin attacking the pancreas.
- It releases powerful digestive enzymes into the small intestine to aid the digestion of food.
- It releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body control how it uses food for energy.
Your body needs the enzyme lactase to break down lactose in your small intestine. Without sufficient lactase, lactose passes through your colon intact, where bacteria metabolize it instead. Bacterial breakdown of lactose results in abdominal bloating and cramps, diarrhea, gas and nausea.
Side Effects of Medications
Every drug has some kind of side effect to the body that may include stomach pain. Even the medications prescribed by the doctors. Pain medicines can too cause swelling in the abdominal area.
Diverticula are small pouches that bulge outward through the colon, or large intestine. If you have these pouches, you have a condition called diverticulosis. It becomes more common as people age.
Most people with diverticulosis don’t have symptoms. Sometimes it causes mild cramps, bloating or constipation. Diverticulosis is often found through tests ordered for something else. For example, it is often found during a colonoscopy to screen for cancer. A high-fiber diet and mild pain reliever will often relieve symptoms.
If the pouches become inflamed or infected, you have a condition called diverticulitis. The most common symptom is abdominal pain, usually on the left side. You may also have fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation. In serious cases, diverticulitis can lead to bleeding, tears, or blockages. Your doctor will do a physical exam and imaging tests to diagnose it. Treatment may include antibiotics, pain relievers, and a liquid diet. A serious case may require a hospital stay or surgery.
Endometriosis is a condition that affects a woman’s reproductive organs. It happens when the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it. Causes, symptoms, diagnosis and the options to manage and treat endometriosis including lifestyle, pain relief medications, hormone therapy and different types of surgery are all discussed. Often women have questions about the effect of endometriosis on their bladder and bowel, fertility, emotional health and relationships. Knowing where to go for advice and support is important, and reading and listening to the personal stories of women who have endometriosis is helpful too, particularly the importance of not giving up hope.
The term “sour stomach” is commonly used to describe a range of symptoms associated with upper gastrointestinal disturbances. The most notable symptoms attributed to a sour stomach include regurgitation, nausea, stomach bloating and excessive belching. These symptoms are often related to two common gastro esophageal conditions, namely and acid reflux and indigestion.
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