What is Abdominal Pain?
The abdomen is located between the chest and the pelvis and is called by various names like midriff, tummy, belly, or stomach. The abdominal area includes the pancreas, spleen gallbladder, colon, liver, small intestine, and stomach. Abdominal pain can arise from the abdominal wall tissues or anywhere between the chest and groin. The intensity can be mild or severe and depends on the underlying cause of the pain. The types of abdominal pain:
- Localized: Limited to one area
- Cramp-like: It can be due to flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, etc.
- Colicky: It can be due to issues like kidney stones and gallstones.
Abdominal Pain Symptoms
Abdominal pain symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloating and belching
- Unable to pass stool especially if there is also vomiting
- Signs of dehydration
- The abdomen is tender when touched and is associated with pain that lasts for more than a few hours.
- Discomfort in the lower, upper, or middle part of the abdomen.
- Heartburn or chest discomfort
- Loss of appetite
If the pain becomes more intense the symptoms also get severe and include:
- Bloody stools
- Unexpected weight loss
- Vomiting and nausea persistently
- Abdominal swelling
Commonly abdominal pain brings along chest pain, back pain, cough, and difficulty breathing. The pain can be sharp, cramp-like, or radiating and can be caused after eating, vomiting, or diarrhoea.
Who is at Risk?
Pain in the tummy can happen due to many factors. Abdominal pain risk factors are broadly divided into the below groups:
- People who have digestive tract diseases or have issues with the digestive tract. People who have malignancies or pancreatic cancers or those with ulcers of the stomach have tummy aches.
- People with functional digestive disorders like IBS and Non-ulcer Dyspepsia, NUD.
- People with systemic diseases like diabetes and heart issues have poor digestion and hence likely to suffer from abdominal pain.
- People who suffer from insomnia, thyroid disorders, celiac disease, pancreatitis also have chances of pain and should consult a general physician to get relief.
Abdominal Pain Causes
The common reasons for abdominal pain are:
- Conditions like appendicitis, colitis, diverticulitis lead to inflammation and hence pain.
- Distention or stretching of an organ can lead to obstruction of the intestine.
- Swelling of the liver, bile duct blockage, etc can lead to pain.
- It can be caused due to unknown conditions like Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS where the reasons for the pain are not clear.
- OTC medications and some supplements can also cause stomach pain.
- Indigestion, fool allergies, constipation, lactose intolerance, ulcers, UTI.
Speak to an Abdominal Pain doctor to know the cause of the pain in your tummy.
How is Abdominal Pain Diagnosed?
Abdominal pain diagnosis is done based on various factors and includes:
- Physical examination: The doctor gently presses many areas of the abdomen to check for swelling and tenderness. This along with the severity of the pain will determine the tests the doctor will recommend.
- Blood and urine tests: CBC, pancreatic enzymes, and liver enzymes are tested along with a urinalysis to check for possible infections.
- Imaging tests like X-rays, ultrasound, and MRI scans are done to check the abdomen, organs, and tissues in detail. It is also useful in finding tumours, inflammation, and ruptures.
- Colonoscopy, endoscopy and upper GI is done to check for blockage, ulcers and other abnormalities.
How is Abdominal Pain Treated?
Abdominal pain treatment depends on the cause. Treatment options are:
- Prescription medications for treating inflammation, GERD, antibiotics for infections.
- Over the counter medicines for pain relief and antacids for relief from heartburn.
- Antidepressants in low doses for changes in personal behaviour due to pain
- Taking the services of a dietician to understand if certain foods or beverages are causing abdominal pain.
- Surgery to treat infected organs, hernia, or intestinal blockages.
Tummy ache can be mild, moderate, or severe. While mild aches go away on their own if it persists or increases in intensity it is best to visit a doctor at Cure.fit for abdominal pain cure. Contact our experts through our online video consultation if you have a stomach ache and get it resolved quickly.
How to Prevent Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain can cause many symptoms which is bothersome. But prevention of Abdominal Pain is possible by changing a few things and making it less likely to cause pain. It includes:
- Taking time to eat food by chewing well and taking small bites instead of big ones.
- Eating smaller meals frequently instead of taking large meals so that the stomach is not empty for long periods.
- Avoid consuming spicy, salty, and fried food as that slows down the digestion process and leads to constipation.
- Consume food that is high in fibre and other nutrients to aid in digestion.
- Drink plenty of food as that helps in digestion
- Wash hands before consuming food to prevent infections from entering into the stomach.
- Manage stress as that can also lead to aches and pains.