Stomach ache and abdominal pain
A stomach ache is a term often used to refer to cramps or a dull ache in the tummy (abdomen). It's usually short-lived and is often not serious.
Severe abdominal pain is a greater cause for concern. If it starts suddenly and unexpectedly, it should be regarded as a medical emergency, especially if the pain is concentrated in a particular area.
If this is the case phone your GP as soon as possible, or the 111 service if your GP is closed.
If you feel pain in the area around your ribs, read about chest pain for information and advice.
Stomach cramps with bloating
Stomach cramps with bloating are often caused by trapped wind. This is a very common problem that can be embarrassing but is easily dealt with.
Your pharmacist will be able to recommend a product such as buscopan or mebeverine, which can be bought over the counter to treat the problem.
Sudden stomach cramps with diarrhea
If your stomach cramps have started recently and you also have diarrhea, the cause may be a tummy bug (gastroenteritis). This means you have a viral or bacterial infection of the stomach and bowel, which should get better without treatment after a few days.
Gastroenteritis may be caused by coming into close contact with someone who's infected, or by eating contaminated food (food poisoning).
If you have repeated bouts of stomach cramps and diarrhea, you may have a long-term condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Sudden severe abdominal pain
If you have sudden agonizing pain in a particular area of your abdomen, phone your GP immediately or the 111 service if your GP is closed. It may be a sign of a serious problem that could rapidly get worse without treatment.
Serious causes of sudden severe abdominal pain include:
appendicitis – the swelling of the appendix (a finger-like pouch connected to the large intestine), which causes agonizing pain in the lower right-hand side of your abdomen, and means your appendix will need to be removed
a bleeding or perforated stomach ulcer – a bleeding, open sore in the lining of your stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine)
acute cholecystitis – inflammation of the gallbladder, which is often caused by gallstones, in many cases, your gallbladder will need to be removed
kidney stones – small stones may be passed out in your urine, but larger stones may block the kidney tubes, and you'll need to go to hospital to have them broken up
diverticulitis – inflammation of the small pouches in the bowel that sometimes requires treatment with antibiotics in hospital
If your GP suspects you have one of these conditions, they may refer you to hospital immediately.
Sudden and severe pain in your abdomen can also sometimes be caused by an infection of the stomach and bowel (gastroenteritis). It may also be caused by a pulled muscle in your abdomen or by an injury.
Long-term or recurring abdominal pain
See your GP if you or your child have persistent or repeated abdominal pain. The cause is often not serious and can be managed.
Possible causes in adults include:
IBS – a common condition that causes bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation, the pain is often relieved when you go to the toilet
inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – long-term conditions that involve inflammation of the gut, including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and endometriosis
a urinary tract infection (UTI) that keeps returning – in these cases, you'll usually also experience a burning sensation when you urinate
period pain – painful muscle cramps in women that are linked to the menstrual cycle
other stomach-related problems – such as a stomach ulcer, heartburn and acid reflux or gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining)
Possible causes in children include:
UTI that keeps returning
Heartburn and acid reflux
Abdominal migraines – recurrent episodes of abdominal pain with no Identifiable cause
Abdominal pain during pregnancy can be a normal part of the process as your body changes to accommodate your growing baby. While there are many harmless causes of abdominal pain in pregnancy, some may be more serious. As an expectant mother, it is important to educate yourself on all potential causes so you are able to recognize symptoms that may cause concern.
Common Causes of Abdominal Pain during Pregnancy
Mother with serious abdominal pain during her pregnancy dome abdominal aches and pains during pregnancy are quite common and generally pose no threat to you and your baby. These include:
Round Ligament Pain: This can be characterized by a sharp stabbing pain when you change positions, or it can also be an achy, dull, lingering pain. Round ligament pain is caused by the two large ligaments that run from your uterus to your groin. As the uterus grows, these ligaments are stretched and create discomfort. This pain is generally reported in the second trimester, and considered to be harmless. Read another article on full Round Ligament Pain.
Gas and Constipation: Gas during pregnancy is caused by increased levels of progesterone. As more of this hormone is released, your gastrointestinal tract slows down, which makes food travel more slowly. Drinking plenty of water, eating fiber rich foods, exercising, and using stool softeners are excellent ways to combat excessive gas and constipation. Read another article on Constipation during Pregnancy.
Braxton Hicks Contractions: Sometimes labelled “practice contractions,” Braxton Hicks are more of a mild annoyance than a risk to you or your baby. Many women report that Braxton Hicks feel like a tightening of the stomach muscles so your stomach feels firm or hard. It is important to differentiate Braxton Hicks from true contractions. True contraction will be closer together, last for a longer period of time, and are painful. True contractions will take your breath away, so a general rule of thumb is that if you are able to carry on your normal activities, then it is most likely Braxton Hicks. Also, doctors report that Braxton Hick can be caused by dehydration, so drinking plenty of water can help eliminate this problem. Read another article on Braxton Hicks Contractions.
Common Discomforts: In addition to those listed above, there are several other common abdominal discomforts that can be experienced during pregnancy and are generally non-threatening. Your growing uterus, stomach viruses, kidney stones, fibroids, and food sensitivities are all valid forms of harmless abdominal pain.
When Abdominal Pain during Pregnancy is Serious
Pregnant woman with abdominal pain although many women who experience abdominal pain have healthy pregnancies, there are times when abdominal pain can pose a serious risk. If you exhibit any severe symptoms, such as those discussed below, please consult your medical care professional immediately.
Ectopic Pregnancy: Occurring in 1 out of 50 pregnancies, an ectopic pregnancy is when the egg is implanted anywhere other than the uterus. Most often, the egg is implanted in the fallopian tube. Sadly, an ectopic pregnancy cannot continue to term and requires medical treatment. In the unlikely event that you have an ectopic pregnancy, you may experience intense pain and bleeding between your 6th and 10th weeks of pregnancy. Women at increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy include those who have had an ectopic pregnancy in the past or have had endometriosis, a tubal ligation, or an intrauterine device (IUD) in place at the time of conception. Read another article on Ectopic Pregnancies.
Placental abruption: Placental abruption is a life-threatening condition in which the placenta separates from your uterus before the baby is born. One symptom of placental abruption is constant pain that causes your stomach to stay hard for an extended period of time without relief. Another sign is bloody fluid or premature breakage of your water. Additional symptoms include tenderness in your abdomen, back pain, or fluid discharge that includes traces of blood. You can access the complete Placental Abruption article on HelloDox.
Miscarriage: The unfortunate truth is that 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage making it the most common form of pregnancy loss. Sometimes referred to as “spontaneous abortion,” miscarriage most often occurs in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Signs of a miscarriage include mild to severe back pain, true contractions (happening every 5-20 minutes), brown or bright red bleeding with or without cramps, tissue or clot-like material passing from the vagina, and a sudden decrease in other signs of pregnancy. Read another article on Miscarriage.
Urinary Tract Infection: While easily treated during pregnancy, if ignored, a urinary tract infection can cause complications. Most often recognized by pain, discomfort, and/or burning when you urinate, UTIs can also produce lower abdominal pain. Should you notice pain in your lower back, the sides of your body under your rib cage or above your pelvic bone accompanied by fever, nausea, sweats, or chills, then it is possible that the UTI has spread to your kidneys. If this is the case, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine after 20 weeks gestation. Upper abdominal pain, usually under your ribs on the right side, can accompany other symptoms used to diagnose preeclampsia. Nausea, vomiting and increased pressure on your abdomen are additional symptoms that will affect your abdomen. Read another article on Preeclampsia.
When should you call your Doctor?
Please call your medical care professional immediately if any of the following symptoms accompany abdominal pain or discomfort:
Severe or persistent pain
Spotting or bleeding
Discomfort while urinating
Nausea and vomiting
An abdominal lump is a swelling or bulge that emerges from any area of the abdomen. It most often feels soft, but it may be firm depending on its underlying cause. In most cases, a lump is caused by a hernia. An abdominal hernia is when the abdominal cavity structures push through a weakness in your abdominal wall muscles. Usually, this can be easily corrected with surgery. In rarer cases, the lump may be an undescended testicle, a harmless hematoma, or a lipoma. In even rarer circumstances, it may be a cancerous tumor. If you also have a fever, vomiting, or pain around an abdominal lump, you may need emergency care.
Possible causes of an abdominal lump:
A hernia causes the majority of lumps in the abdomen. Hernias often appear after you have strained your abdominal muscles by lifting something heavy, coughing for a long period, or being constipated.
There are several types of hernias. Three kinds of hernias can produce a noticeable lump.
An inguinal hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall and a part of the intestine or other soft tissue protrudes through it. You’ll most likely see or feel a lump in your lower abdomen near your groin and feel pain when coughing, bending, or lifting.
In some cases, there are no symptoms until the condition gets worse. A hernia isn’t typically harmful by itself. However, it needs to be repaired surgically because it can cause complications, such as a loss of blood flow to the intestine and/or obstruction of the intestine.
An umbilical hernia is very similar to an inguinal hernia. However, an umbilical hernia occurs around the navel. This type of hernia is most common in babies and often disappears as their abdominal wall heals on its own. The classic sign of an umbilical hernia in a baby is outward bulging of tissue by the belly button when they cry. Surgery is required to fix an umbilical hernia if it doesn’t heal on its own by the time a child is four years old. The possible complications are similar to those of an inguinal hernia.
An incisional hernia happens when a prior surgical incision that has weakened the abdominal wall, allows intra-abdominal content to push through. It requires corrective surgery to avoid complications.
Less common causes of an abdominal lump
If a hernia isn’t the cause of an abdominal lump, there are several other possibilities.
A hematoma is a collection of blood under the skin that results from broken blood vessels. Hematomas are typically caused by an injury. If a hematoma occurs by your abdomen, a bulge and discolored skin may appear. Hematomas typically resolve without needing treatment.
A lipoma is a lump of fat that collects under the skin. It feels like a semi-firm, rubbery bulge that moves slightly when pushed. Lipomas typically grow very slowly, can occur anywhere on the body, and are almost always benign. They can be removed surgically, but in most cases, surgery isn’t necessary.
During male fetal development, the testicles form in the abdomen and then descend into the scrotum. In some cases, one or both of them may not fully descend. This may cause a small lump near the groin in newborn boys and can be corrected with hormone therapy and/or surgery to bring the testicle into position.
Although rare, a benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumor on an organ in the abdomen or in the skin or muscles can cause a noticeable lump. Whether it requires surgery or another type of treatment depends on the type of tumor and its location.
How is it diagnosed?
If you have a hernia, your doctor will likely be able to diagnose it during the physical exam. Your doctor may want you to undergo an imaging study, such as an ultrasound or CT scan of your abdomen. Once your doctor confirms an abdominal hernia is present, you can then discuss arrangements for a surgical correction. If your doctor doesn’t believe the lump is a hernia, they may require further testing. For a small or asymptomatic hematoma or lipoma, you probably won’t need further tests. If a tumor is suspected, you may need imaging tests to determine its location and extent. You’ll likely also need a biopsy, which involves tissue removal, to determine if the tumor is benign or malignant.
After eating a meal to your heart’s content, it is very normal to burp or belch. However, it is normal only when it happens occasionally, or after a meal, for someone used to a contented meal every single time. On the other hand, excessive burping or belching can happen due to two reasons.
Excessive air intake: There are multiple ways that excessive air can reach the food pipe. Sucking on straws, chewing gum constantly and ill-fitting dentures are some common reasons for burping.
Digestive problems: Ulcers in the stomach, prolonged gastric, gallstones and rarely, esophageal or stomach cancers can also cause burping.
When to see a doctor
Check with a doctor if you have persistent burping, followed by a meal or otherwise, and accompanied by the following symptoms.
1.Go slow when eating and/or drinking: Most of us are pressed for time and eating and/or drinking has now become a task that needs to be finished quickly. Eating fast causes air to be swallowed, and therefore one of the best ways to stop burping is to eat slowly. Sitting in a calm, relaxing environment when eating also allows one to enjoy the food and avoid or stop burping.
2.Avoid taliking while eating: There is always so much to catch up, whether at home or outside. So, talking while eating is a common practice. This is not just bad manners, but there is also a lot of air that is swallowed, which leads to burping. A solution is to chew the food properly, which not just helps stop burping, but also aids in better food digestion by mixing it adequately with saliva.
3.Substitute coke with water: Carbonated drinks are another reason for belching. Replacing them with water, tea, or anything noncarbonated is advisable, not just from burping perspective, but also from the excessive sugar consumption. Carbonated drinks are just sugar solutions, and are absolutely of no nutritive value.
4.Avoid straw: When possible, drink from a glass and avoid straws. This reduces the amount of gas taken in and helps stop burping.
5.Quit smoking: Quitting it has multiple health benefits, and getting rid of smoking is just one of them.
6.Dentures: Ill-fitting dentures can be a reason for belching, and so they should be checked and corrected, if required, in a person who has persistent burping.
7.Chewing gum: Constantly chewing gum contributes to burping, and so avoiding chewing gum or sucking on hard candy is another way to control burping.
8.Avoid certain foods: Foodstuffs like broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, sprouts, and lentils can produce excessive gas and should be avoided in people who have persistent burping.
Causes of #AbdominalPain may not seem harmful at first, but it can result in an Infection or other issues. The issues may change depending upon the age and other health-related factors.
A good physician or a specialist can analyze the reason for the pain and make a particular plan for your treatment that will address the basic reason to cure abdominal pain.
Causes can be :
1. Lactose intolerance
Difficulty in digesting milk and milk-based products. These symptoms include, a growling or rumbling stomach, loose stool or diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, bloating, gas pain and nausea.
Caused by a buildup of acid after eating.Symptoms of indigestion include a burning sensation, slight pain or discomfort, heartburn, bloating, or gas.
Occurs when diverticula (small pouches) in the intestinal wall become infected and inflamed. The pain tends to increase while a person is eating or shortly after a meal. Additional symptoms of diverticulitis may include, tenderness in the abdomen, fever, nausea, vomiting and feeling bloated.
4. Flatuelance (Gas)
Caused by overeating, digesting foods that are prone to releasing gas, swallowing air, smoking, chewing gum, undigested foods and bacteria, too.
5. Celiac disease
A chronic condition that occurs in the digestive tract when a person cannot digest a protein called gluten.Symptoms of celiac disease may include, pressure and gas, bloating, pain in the abdomen, fatigue, weight loss and diarrhea, too.
Caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Symptoms of shingles include, pain when the abdomen is touched, itching, tenderness on the skin, rashes and also blisters that may break open and scar.
7. Inflammatory bowel diseases.
Symptoms include pain in the abdomen and bloody diarrhea. It can also cause fever and unexplainable weight loss.
8. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Symptoms of IBS may include, abdominal pain, pressure, constipation or diarrhea, gas and bloating.