What is Abdominal Pain

What is Abdominal Pain

Abdominal discomfort occurs in the abdomen or belly, the space between the chest and pelvis. The discomfort can be described as sharp, achy, and cramp-like pain that originates from organs such as stomach, liver, spleen, gallbladder, small intestines, pancreas, and colon.

Although various conditions can cause abdominal pain, inflammation, digestive disorders, blockage, and infection are the primary causes.

Abdominal pain is acute or chronic depending on the causes and the lifespan of the symptoms.

Acute abdominal pain is caused by appendicitis, gallstones, gastric ulcers, and pancreatitis. The pain is sudden, severe, and oftentimes requires emergency care. Ignoring the pain can lead to severe health complications, so visit our emergency care in Lake Jackson for immediate treatment.

Chronic abdominal pain is caused by constipation, GERD, gastritis, diverticulitis, and IBS. The pain is not sudden, but rather slow, less severe, and long-lasting. This type of abdominal pain comes and goes and at times can be managed at home.

What Are the Characteristics?

Abdominal pain is characterized by the location and it can be localized or generalized.

  • Generalized pain is felt in the entire stomach and is due to indigestion, gas, or stomach flu
  • Localized pain affects only one part of the stomach and is felt either on the right, left, middle, or upper part of the belly. The cause and the symptoms are different. For instance, pain in the left part of the stomach can be due to diverticulitis, while on the lower abdomen, the pain can be caused by gas, bloating, menstrual pain and fever.

What’s the Trigger?

Various causes can trigger abdominal pain;

  • Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis or stomach flu is a viral infection that causes diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms are unbearable in the first two days, but they subside and clear up within a week. If they don’t, then it could be an indication you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome instead of stomach flu.

  • IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic and lifelong disorder that affects the digestive system. The exact cause is not known, but it is believed that inflammation of the intestines, compromised gut microbiome, and abnormalities in the nervous system can be a trigger. There’s no known cure for IBS, but diet modifications can help mitigate the symptoms.

  • Acid reflux

Acid reflux causes a burning sensation in the lower chest area and it occurs when stomach contents flow back to the food pipe.

At the stomach entrance, there is a valve– Lower Esophageal Sphincter that is responsible for opening and closing of the stomach to keep the contents from flowing back. When it loosens, it causes both acidic and non-acidic stomach contents to flow back. As a result, you will experience bloating, abdominal pain, heartburn, and cramps.

  • Gastritis

Gastritis represents a variety of stomach conditions that cause inflammation of the stomach lining such as H. Pylori.

The gastrointestinal condition causes vomiting, nausea, chest pain, bloating, and shortness of breath among others.

  • Peptic Ulcers

Peptic or stomach ulcers are wounds of the stomach lining that causes abdominal pain, indigestion, bloating, and weight loss.

The abuse of Non-Steroidal inflammatory medication and Helicobacter Pylori are the primary causes of stomach ulcers.

Other causes of stomach pain include:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal gas
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Endometriosis
  • Kidney function
  • Food poisoning
  • Appendicitis

When is Abdominal Pain an Emergency?

Abdominal pain resolves on its own with home remedies and self-care. However, at times the symptoms may advance and cause complications. Visit an emergency room near 77566 when you notice blood in stool, fever, unexplained exhaustion, weight loss, or changes in the bowel movement.

What Can Be Done to Reduce the Pain?

Abdominal pain treatment will depend on the cause and the symptoms. Anti-inflammatory, pain relievers, and antibiotics can be used to relieve the discomfort. Additionally, east small frequent meals, reduce stress and stay away from spicy foods.

Next Steps

Although abdominal pain at times can’t be prevented, the symptoms can be managed to prevent complications. However, if you notice shortness of breath, sudden severe pain, chest pain, fever, and uncontrolled vomiting you need to visit our 24-hour emergency room in Lake Jackson.

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