09 Aug When Tummy Trouble Means a Doctor Visit
Your stomach can be a sensitive region of the body. Nutrition, stress, and medications can all affect the stomach. Some people have an iron stomach, eat anything and rarely experience any type of upset. Others seem to suffer a more sensitive constitution when it comes to their abdomen. But, just what causes stomach pain and bloating? Is it due to work stress? Is it because of a spicy or greasy meal? Is it a family history?
Abdominal pain is characterized by discomfort located anywhere between the chest and groin areas. Severe abdominal pain does not necessarily mean you have a serious illness or condition. For instance, you may experience stomach pain if you have gas or cramps due to a stomach virus. While you may only experience mild or no pain with life-threatening conditions, such as colon cancer or early appendicitis.
The Big Bloat
Bloating is characterized as a feeling of fullness or being distended in the abdomen and experiencing gas. Men and women of all ages commonly experience bloating. While the reason for bloating can be complicated, several new therapies have become available over the past decade to help those suffering from this condition. It is also a common symptom described by nearly all patients who experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The main symptom of IBS is a chronic abdominal pain or discomfort that can, at times, worsen after eating. In addition, patients may experience diarrhea or constipation. The pain is often relieved following a bowel movement. Symptoms can flare-up and change over time or even from day to day.
When Is Stomach Pain Serious?
If you experience abdominal pain, it does not necessarily mean an IBS diagnosis. However, pinpointing the abdominal issue is important when describing the pain to your physician.
If your stomach hurts, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it a generalized pain? Generalized pain can mean you feel it in more than half of your belly. This pain is associated more with a stomach virus, indigestion or gas. If the pain increases in severity, it may be due to an intestinal blockage.
- Is it a localized pain? Localized pain is found in one area of the abdomen. A symptom like this is likely due to an organ issue, like the appendix, gallbladder or stomach.
- Is it a cramping type of pain? Generally, this type of pain is not critical, and more likely due to gas and bloating, often followed by diarrhea. However, medical treatment may be needed if symptoms increase in frequency, last more than 24 hours or occur with a fever.
- Is it a throbbing, spasm type of pain? This can be described as a colicky type of pain that occurs in waves and is often severe. It typically begins and ends suddenly. Common causes are related to kidney stones and gallstones.
Explaining these types of gastrointestinal issues in better detail helps your doctor determine the right course of action, one that hopefully resolves those troublesome bellyaches.