If you're like most other people, you've experienced abdominal pain at some time in your life. In most cases, pain in the abdominal area is normal and isn't cause for alarm.
Unfortunately, the severity of your pain doesn't always coincide with the seriousness of the condition. You may have sharp pain from plain old gas or a stomach virus, whereas cancer and symptoms of early appendicitis may only cause slight pain or none at all. Thankfully, most causes of stomach pain can be easily diagnosed and treated.
Recognizing when the pain is reason for concern or when it's a normal part of life will keep you from suffering undue stress.
Possible common causes for abdominal pain include the following:
On top of these causes, you may suffer stomach pain for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with your belly. Examples include but aren't limited to heart attack, menstrual cramps, tubal pregnancy, pneumonia, muscle strain, and urinary tract infection.
How do you know if the pain in your belly is reason for alarm? Certain symptoms make it obvious that you should not take care of your pain on your own. Severe pain or pain that won't go away, fever, bloody stool or vomit, and an inability to keep food down are all reasons to seek medical attention.
Additionally, you'll want to head to the doctor or hospital if you have belly pain coupled with breathing difficulty, pain during pregnancy, tenderness in the stomach area, painful or frequent urination, or pain that begins after an injury.
Treating stomach pain is dependent on the cause of the pain. In order to determine the cause of stomach pain, you need to decipher where and what type of pain you experience. Is the pain all over, or just in one area? Is it stabbing and severe or a dull ache? Does it come and go, is it at certain times of day, or is it constant? How long have you suffered with the pain? Are you on medications or supplements? Have you recently been injured? What have you found to relieve the pain? Answering these questions will help get to the root cause of your pain. If needed, there are many tests available to better determine what is at the root of your problem.
Often, medication is required to help for those who suffer from conditions such as ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome. Antibiotics can both fend off an infection and relieve pain brought on by the infection. Experience frequent gas or indigestion? A change in your diet may be all that is required for relief. For more serious conditions like appendicitis or gallstones, surgery may be required.
For mild stomach pain, you may want to try out some home remedies. Sip on water or clear liquids. Don't eat solids for a few hours. If you've been vomiting, wait six hours and then only eat small amounts of bland foods like rice, saltine crackers, and applesauce. To prevent belly pain from striking, drink plenty of water, avoid fatty foods, eat smaller and more frequent meals, get plenty of exercise, and eat a high-fiber diet with lots of fruits and veggies (avoiding those that produce gas if necessary).
If these measures don't help, or if you can't determine the cause of your pain, contact your physician. Getting back to a pain-free life depends on it.