We’ve all experienced belly pain at some time in our lives, usually because of a temporary issue like constipation or fecal incontinence, or that time you ate bad clams and got food poisoning. Occasionally, however, the pain is caused by something serious, and you should know what symptoms to look out for and when you should seek medical help.
What is Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain generally refers to any type of pain that is located between your chest and groin. This means that what you think is stomach pain could be caused by other organs or muscles, including menstrual cramps, kidney stones, or even a cardiac event.
What Could be Causing My Stomach Pain?
Besides the conditions already mentioned, abdominal pain can be the result of many issues including indigestion, a bowel blockage, stomach ulcers, lactose intolerance, gallstones, or even stomach or colorectal cancers.
The first thing to do is to evaluate the location of your stomach pain. Is it a general, all-over discomfort? Or is it located in a specific quadrant? Is the pain constant? Or does it come and go? If the answer to the last question is “yes,” when does the pain lessen and when does it worsen?
Contrary to popular belief, the severity of your abdominal pain is not a direct indicator of the seriousness of the cause. You may experience extreme pain and cramping from a stomach virus, which will pass without the need for medical attention.
When Should You See a Doctor for Stomach Pain?
If you are experiencing any of the gastrointestinal signs below it is time for you to make an appointment with a physician as soon as possible:
Your belly pain occurs with a high fever.
If this is the case, you could be battling an infection, such as appendicitis, diverticulitis, or pancreatitis, all of which are serious conditions.
The pain is severe or prolonged (lasting for 24 hours or more)
Non-serious stomach pain generally goes away within a few hours. If the pain stays hour after hour, it could indicate a problem that won’t resolve itself without assistance.
Your stomach pain is accompanied by repeated vomiting.
If you throw up once, it could be because you ate something that didn’t agree with you. Once the offending food is gone, your other symptoms should disappear fairly quickly. If you continue to vomit multiple times, there could be a more complex issue at the root of your nausea and pain.
Your abdominal pain is localized to one particular area.
This could indicate a specific organ problem, such as your gallbladder or appendix.
The pain is accompanied by other dire or unusual symptoms.
Such as difficulty breathing or a behavior change. If your other symptoms aren’t usually associated with belly pain, you may need professional medical treatment to figure out the source.
Home Remedies for Stomach Pain
If none of the above apply to your situation, you may benefit from one of the following homeopathic remedies to ease discomfort. You could try to sip clear fluids or perhaps a sports drink to stay hydrated. If you feel nauseated, try small amounts of mild foods such as crackers or rice. If your pain occurs after a meal and feels like a burning sensation high in your abdomen, you may benefit from an antacid.
See a doctor at Digestive Health Centers
If you fit one (or more) of the criteria listed above, make an appointment to get checked out by one of the board-certified gastroenterologists and Digestive Health Centers. Depending on your symptoms, there are multiple state-of-the-art endoscopic procedures used to evaluate and diagnose several gastrointestinal disorders, such as an upper endoscopy (also known as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD), colonoscopy, or flexible sigmoidoscopy.
Our gastroenterologists are all fellowship-trained in these specialized procedures in order to provide knowledgeable, high quality health care. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!