Abdominal pain, commonly known as a stomachache, is a prevalent and often unsettling sensation that occurs in the area between the chest and pelvis..
Abdominal pain can present as a sharp, stabbing sensation, a continuous dull ache, or cramping discomfort. The location of the pain may vary, with upper abdominal pain often associated with factors like dietary choices, such as consuming excessive fatty foods or gas-inducing items like cabbage. Lower abdominal pain, on the other hand, may be linked to issues like menstruation, digestive disorders, or infections.
To understand abdominal pain fully, it's important to explore its diverse characteristics, potential causes, and the impact it can have on your daily life.
Abdominal pain can stem from various factors, offering a nuanced understanding of the discomfort individuals may face. Recognizing these causes is vital for effective self-management and informed decision-making.
Understanding the nuances of abdominal pain requires considering various contributing factors. For instance, abdominal pain can be a result of overeating, leading to indigestion and discomfort, especially if the diet includes high-fat or spicy foods..
Additionally, infections, such as stomach flu or food poisoning, can bring about abdominal pain, accompanied by symptoms like nausea and diarrhea.To make sure we cover all of the common causes of abdominal pain, we have have summarized them in the table below.
- Dietary Factors: Overindulgence in fatty foods or gas-inducing items like cabbage, beans, and spicy foods can lead to upper abdominal pain, accompanied by belching and bloating.
- Infections and Viruses: Abdominal pain can be a symptom of infections such as stomach flu or food poisoning, often accompanied by nausea and diarrhea. In rare cases, it can be caused by appendicitis.
- Digestive Disorders: Chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) contribute to recurrent abdominal pain, accompanied by bowel irregularities, gas, and bloating.
- Stress and Emotional Factors: The gut-brain connection plays a significant role in abdominal pain. Emotional well-being, stress, and tension can contribute to or exacerbate stomach discomfort.
- Menstruation: For some women, menstrual cycles may cause abdominal pain along with back pain, commonly referred to as menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea.
- Medication and Other Causes: Certain medications can have side effects, including stomach pain or nausea. Additionally, conditions like appendicitis, bleeding, or gallstones can manifest as abdominal pain, necessitating prompt medical attention.
- Other Potential Causes: Abdominal pain may also result from factors such as bladder infections, the side effects of certain medications, or even emotional distress.
Self-Management - Healthy Eathing Habits
To achieve stomach pain relief, it's important to establish a routine with healthy eating habits, incorporating foods good for an upset stomach and staying hydrated. Here are some tips to deal with abdominal pain:
- Establish a routine: Regular mealtimes promote digestive regularity.
- Try a balanced, fiber-rich diet: Incorporate fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to support gastrointestinal health.
- Avoid problem foods: Steer clear of excessive fatty or gas-inducing foods that may contribute to abdominal discomfort.
- Consume 2 liters of fluids daily: Emphasize water and herbal teas for optimal hydration.
- Limit certain beverages: Reduce carbonated and caffeinated drink intake, as they can worsen stomach discomfort.
Self-Management - Physical Activity
Engage in regular exercise activities like walking, cycling, or sports. Regular exercise promotes digestive health and helps prevent constipation, contributing to relief from abdominal pain.
When to contact your doctor
We strongly advise you to make a doctor appointment or to use our MIA app in case you experience persistent abdominal pain for more than a few days, if you experience abdominal pain and have a fever. Also contact your doctor if you see a change in your bowel habits or if you have abdominal pain during sex or urination.
- Vomiting blood
- Severe upper abdominal pain and the inability to sit still.
- Sudden intense or increasing abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain while pregnant: If you're throwing up a lot and it's not stopping, especially if you have a headache.
- Black or Tarry stool: If you have a fever and feel very sick, mostly without cold-like symptoms.
- Blood in stool: For more info, see blood in stool.
- Inability to urinate: If you feel excessively sleepy or drowsy.