Lactose Intolerance And Food Allergies
The REAL Cause of Abdominal Pain and Bloating – Dr. Berg
Eating food youre allergic or sensitive to can cause sharp pains in your abdomen as your body works to digest it. Sometimes gas and indigestion symptoms occur if you eat food your body doesnt agree with.
Unless you have food allergies that put you at risk for anaphylaxis, abdominal pain from food allergies or sensitivities is not an emergency. You may also notice bloating or diarrhea after eating food your body cant digest properly.
If you have a lactose allergy, speak with a healthcare professional about replacement enzyme pills, which may allow you to consume dairy without discomfort.
How Do You Relieve Abdominal Pain
Stomach pain has a wide variety of causes and treatments. Some conditions, such as gallstones or appendicitis, may require surgery. Others, such as ulcers or infections, may be eased with medicine. And sometimes you may just have to get through a bout of stomach flu or a kidney stone until it passes.
If you dont know whats causing your abdominal pain, its important to find out, especially if it doesnt go away on its own. Remember that even mild cases can be serious. However, if you have a pretty good idea that your stomachache is related to digestion, you can begin by treating yourself with:
- Bowel rest. Stop eating, or only eat easy-to-digest foods like crackers or bananas.
- Hydration. Drink plenty of water or a hydration formula.
- Heat therapy. Try a warm water bottle or a soak in the bath.
- Home remedies. Try licorice for gas, ginger for indigestion, or peppermint to help relax your intestinal muscles.
What Is The Initial Workup And Treatment Of Dyspepsia
An upper endoscopy is indicated if dyspepsia occurs in patients older than 55 years of age or if any of the following alarm features are present:
- Evidence of bleeding from the GI tract
- Unintended weight loss
- Trouble or pain with swallowing
- Persistent vomiting
- Having a relative with stomach cancer
- Previous personal history of esophageal or stomach cancer
- Previous personal history of stomach ulcer
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Unusual mass in the stomach
“If the patient is 55 years or younger, and no alarm features are present, a doctor may consider either testing and treating for a stomach bacteria, called H. pylori, or consider one to two months of treatment with an acid-blocking medication,” explains Dr. Dryer. “If neither of these treatments help, an upper endoscopy might be a reasonable next step.”
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How Do I Know If My Stomach Pain Is Serious
Signs and symptoms that warrant a trip to your healthcare provider or the ER
- Frequently Asked Questions
You can’t know for sure if your stomach pain is due to something serious or not without an evaluation, but there are some signs that indicate you need urgent medical attention. For example, if your abdomen is sensitive to touch or your pain is accompanied by high fever, persistent vomiting, or chest pain, you need to go to the hospital.
Certain individuals, such as pregnant people and those who have had recent abdominal surgery, should also consider their stomach pain potentially serious.
This article walks you through how to know if your stomach pain is likely serious or not, and how quickly you should seek medical care. It also provides some suggestions for how to ease stomach pain when the cause is not serious.
Verywell / JR Bee
What Causes Upper Stomach Pain
You may experience upper stomach pain that doesnt feel like nausea, an upset stomach, or a stomach ache. Its pain in your upper abdominal area. What causes upper stomach pain, and when should you see a doctor about it?
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Whats Causing You Upper Abdominal Pain
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Experiencing upper abdominal pain in the midst of daily activity is always an uncomfortable situation.
The problem is, abdominal pain is both common and complex. Few things puzzle patients and doctors alike more than undiagnosed upper abdominal pain. Not because there are unexplained symptoms, but rather there are too many possibilities.
How do you find out whats causing it?
This article discusses the major causes of upper abdominal pain and the methods of addressing the condition.
In the event that you experience upper abdominal pain or any other condition you think might be serious, do not self-diagnose.
There is a difference between listing your symptoms and making your own diagnosis. The former can help your caregivers make an accurate evaluation. The other is making an unqualified opinion that can impede in arriving at the correct answer.
Instead, contact your family doctor and get a professional diagnosis. Alternatively, you can also contact the MidSouth Pain Treatment Center for a professional consultation on pain identification and treatment.
Severe Acute Pain In The Lower Right Side Of The Abdomen
Sudden pain in the lower part of the abdomen may be a sign of appendicitis. It may also be accompanied by a fever. Pain often begins around the belly button area and becomes worse with time. Vomiting or constipation or diarrhea along with the pain also indicate it’s time to go to the emergency room.
Appendicitis mostly affects kids and teens between the ages of 5 and 20. While there are many digestive health issues that can cause stomach pain in kids, it’s important to talk to your child’s doctor immediately if you suspect appendicitis – especially if the pain comes on suddenly over several hours or is persistent. Appendicitis often requires surgery. If left untreated, a ruptured appendix can be deadly.
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Muscle Pain And Injuries
Muscle overuse, a sedentary lifestyle, and trauma from falling or other injuries can cause pain in the abdominal or back muscles. These injuries can cause pain that comes and goes.
Pain that appears only in certain positions, while lifting, or after exercise could be a sign of a muscle injury.
A muscle injury is not a medical emergency. Most people can treat muscle injuries at home with rest, hot and cold packs, and gentle massage. Ice packs for pain relief are available for purchase online.
If home treatment does not work or the pain is very intense, it is best to see a doctor.
When To Seek Immediate Medical Help
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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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Pain In The Upper Right Abdomen Treatments And Relief
Treatment for your right upper abdominal pain will be dependent on the cause. After your physician makes the appropriate diagnosis, he or she may suggest:
- Pain medication: Medications such as NSAIDs are often used to help treat this condition.
- Medications: In the case of gallstones, there are some medications that can break them up without the need for surgery. If your symptoms are due to infection, you may receive antibiotics.
- Surgery: Surgery to remove gallstones or the gallbladder entirely is a common procedure, especially for people who suffer from chronic gallstones.
- Bowel rest: Your physician may suggest a lighter diet that will allow your intestines and digestive system to recover.
Causes Of Pain In Upper Stomach
There are several causes of pain in the upper stomach. Some upper stomach pain goes away on its own. For others, pain in the upper stomach may indicate there are underlying issues, such as:
When the muscle that normally keeps acid down in the stomach doesnt work properly, it can lead to heartburn . If you experience heartburn a few times a week or if over-the-counter antacids arent working, you may want to call your doctor.
Inflammation of the stomach
Sometimes pain in the upper stomach may be caused by gastritis. Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach as a result of a bacterial infection.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the large gland behind the stomach , Normally, digestive fluid travels from the pancreas to the small intestine and activates to help digest food. If this fluid activates while its still inside the pancreas, it causes irritation and inflammation.
Pain in the upper stomach may be due to ulcers . Different things can cause ulcers, most commonly bacteria or anti-inflammatory drugs that damage the stomachs lining over time. Symptoms of ulcers may include a burning sensation, nausea, vomiting, or heartburn.
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Upper Stomach Pain: When Is It Serious
Stomach pain passes on its own in a matter of days. However, persistent pain or additional symptoms may signal something serious and urgent. Seek immediate medical attention if the patient is experiencing the following:
- Stools are bloody, pale, black and tarry, or white
- Persistent vomiting, with blood
- Pain so severe that the patient cant move
- Abdominal pain is accompanied by fever
- Pain is severe in the upper right abdomen
- Signs of dehydration are apparent
- Pain that occurs frequently in short, sharp bursts
When Stomach Pain Is An Emergency
Your stomach pain may be serious and indicate a medical emergency if it is accompanied by:
- Extremely hard abdomen
- Inability to have a bowel movement, along with vomiting
- Pain in the neck, shoulder, or between shoulder blades
- Pain that starts in the belly button and moves to the right side
Sometimes stomach pain is mild at first but gets worse after a few hours. These symptoms may not develop until that time.
If you have these symptoms, call for an ambulance or have someone drive you to the ER. You should not “wait and see” or take medicine for the pain. Get help right away.
When stomach pain is associated with these other symptoms, it may be caused by a life-threatening condition. Some examples of these conditions include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Bowel perforation
These emergencies usually cause pain that feels extreme.
Other circumstances in which you should discuss stomach pain with a healthcare provider include when:
- You’re pregnant
- Your pain started within a week of abdominal surgery
- Your pain started after a procedure in your stomach area, like an endoscopy
- You have ever had surgery on your digestive tract, like a gastric bypass, colostomy, or bowel resection
- Your pain started shortly after an abdominal trauma
- Your abdomen is bruised or rapidly expanding
- Excessive vaginal bleeding, or blood clots and bleeding longer than usual
- You have rectal bleeding, or tarry-looking or bloody stool
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Know When To Talk To A Doctor
Keep track of your symptoms. A good understanding of your symptoms lets you know when to see a doctor, and it can help your doctor provide proper treatment.
- When did the pain start?
- Does it persist, or does it go away and return?
- Did the pain occur suddenly or slowly?
- Is it mild or severe?
- Does the pain move around?
- Does it occur after you eat?
- Do you experience additional symptoms such as fever, vomiting, increase heart rate, diarrhea, weight loss, shortness of breath, or swelling?
Communicating this information to your physician can improve the level of care that your receive.
Talk to your doctor if:
- you experience severe abdominal pain
- the pain moves to different areas
- the pain that does not go away after one or two days
- you experience pain with additional symptoms
Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist a doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating digestive tract disorders.
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.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Some kinds of stomach pain need immediate attention. With others, you can call or visit your healthcare provider. It can be hard to know what you should do. Listen to your body and trust your instincts if you’re not sure.
- Fever for three days or longer
- Loss of appetite
- Pain that gets worse or doesn’t get better within one or two days
You should also call your healthcare provider if you have stomach pain while being treated for cancer.
When To Seek Medical Advice
How I do it: Ultrasound of the Abdomen
Before you seek medical advice, answer these questions:
- Does the pain come on as a sharp or dull ache just below your sternum in the middle of your upper abdomen?
- Does it spread through the middle towards your back? Have you noticed that this pain tends to come after your means? Does it make you feel like vomiting sometimes?
- Does the pain wake you up at night?
- Is the pain a sharp piercing pain through the upper stomach?
- Do you feel bloated even after a small meal?
If you answered yes to any of these questions it is worth seeking medical attention.
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Causes Of Upper Stomach Pain
Stomach pain in the upper abdomen can be chronic or acute it can be mild or severe. It can go away on its own, or it may require treatment from a medical professional. This all depends on what is causing the pain.
Here are a few of the things that might cause upper abdominal pain.
- Inflammation in the stomach or other abdominal organs such as the gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, liver, or spleen.
- Muscle injury from exercise, lifting heavy objects, physical activity without warming up, twisting movements, or even violent coughing or sneezing
- Respiratory infections, such as pneumonia
Other serious disorders may cause pain in the upper abdomen.
Abdominal pain doesnt always require medical treatment. For example, pain from gas or indigestion is typically mild and goes away on its own within one to two days. However, infections may require antibiotics or treatment from a physician.
Severe Stomach Pain After Eating A Fatty Meal
If you find yourself doubled over after eating a high-fat meal, you may be experiencing a gallbladder attack. “Women are especially prone to gallbladder disease,” says Hardeep Singh, MD, gastroenterologist from St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA. “Overweight women in their 40s are at highest risk.” The pain becomes worse after eating, lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and may come and go, becoming more constant and severe over time, says Singh.
Get ahead of your abdominal pain with a diet that’s rich in nutrients and fiber and low in fatty foods.
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How To Manage Stomach Pain
If your stomach pain is not severe or long-lasting, and if you’re not having symptoms like those mentioned above, the pain may go away on its own.
This pain is often caused by minor problems such as constipation, gas, or something you ate. Waiting a few hours, having a bowel movement, or passing gas may help.
You can also try taking these steps:
- Limit yourself to clear liquids for a few hours.
- If you have vomiting or diarrhea, make sure to stay hydrated. Small sips of fluids and electrolyte replacement beverages is important. If you can tolerate food, eat low-fiber foods such as bread and crackers until you feel better. Some people find success following the BRAT diet for short-term until their symptoms have improved.
- Avoid foods that are hard to digest. Fatty, fried, or spicy foods can cause stomach pain. So can drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
- Try an over-the-counter antacid or a product to relieve gas.
- If you are constipated, eating foods with fiber can help to initiate a bowel movement. Fruits, vegetables, high-fiber grains, breads, and cereals, can help. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids with your fiber.
- Use a hot water bottle or heating pad. Place the pad on your abdomen for a half hour at a time, with a towel under the pad to protect your skin.
Your symptoms may improve within a day or two. If they do not, call your healthcare provider.
Upper Gastric Pain: 11 Causes Of Pain On Top Of The Stomach
Upper gastric pain, also known as epigastric pain, is any kind of soreness experienced on top of the stomach region, beneath the rib cage. Upper gastric pain is a commonly experienced condition and it may occur while eating or directly after eating. Upper gastric pain may range from mild discomfort to severe burning sensation with extreme pain. The symptoms are often accompanied by other digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhoea and bloating.
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Common causes of acute upper abdominal pain include pancreatitis, gallbladder infection, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In these cases, medical intervention is sometimes needed immediately. Upper abdominal pain can disrupt your life. Getting a diagnosis early can help you get back on your feet.What helps with pain at the top of your stomach? ›
Pain from a mild muscle injury or spasms can cause temporary pain in the upper abdomen. The pain often gets better with gentle massage and rest. Some people also find relief by using cold and hot packs. If muscle pain is intense or does not get better after a few days, see a doctor for an evaluation.How long does it take for upper stomach pain to go away? ›
Pain in your upper abdomen is usually due to a temporary, minor problem, such as indigestion or gas. However, ongoing or severe upper abdominal pain may indicate a potentially serious condition. Contact a doctor for severe pain or pain that does not go away within 2 days.When should I worry about upper abdominal pain? ›
If the pain is sudden, severe or does not ease within 30 minutes, seek emergency medical care. Sudden abdominal pain is often an indicator of serious intra-abdominal disease, such as a perforated ulcer or a ruptured abdominal aneurysm, although it could also result from a benign disease, such as gallstones.When should I go to the ER for upper abdominal pain? ›
Some causes, such as an upset stomach, can be managed at home. But if you are experiencing pain that does not go away, or you're having other symptoms like a high fever, nausea or vomiting, you should see a medical professional.