A stomach ache is something that all of us are familiar with, as it is impossible to avoid completely even when very careful. It doesn’t matter how severe the stomach pain is or how long it lasts, one thing is for sure – it is never pleasant.
Like Organic Soul on Facebook
There are a few reasons why your stomach might be in agony, and the symptoms you experience often offer good clues to help you narrow down the causes.
While high blood pressure and headaches are common symptoms of stress, it can also result in stomach aches. It has even been found that chronic exposure to stress can result in other stomach related issues, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer disease and food allergies.
2. Lactose Intolerance
If you experience bloating, cramps, nausea and painful gas, the cause of your stomach pain could be lactose intolerance. This can happen if your body struggles to digest lactose, which is the main sugar found in dairy products. As there is no cure for lactose intolerance the only option is to skip dairy products.
Despite their name, gallstones are not actually stones, but solid bits of material that can form in the gallbladder. This small organ is situated just below the liver and is susceptible to two types of gallstones – cholesterol stones and pigment stones.
The causes of gallstones range from your weight and diet to your genes or problems with the gallbladder itself, but can typically be felt in the upper right of the abdomen.
4. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
GERD is known for causing the contents of the stomach to push back up into the esophagus, resulting in heartburn. This pain is then felt in the lower chest/upper stomach. GERD can be the result of either eating too much food or eating the wrong type of food and often only requires lifestyle changes to remedy. In more severe cases medication or surgery might be needed.
If you are over 40 and suffer sharp pains in the lower left area of your abdomen it could be diverticulitis. This condition occurs due to the infection or inflammation of the small pouches that form in the lining of the colon. Mild cases of diverticulitis can be treated with antibiotics and rest, but surgery is often the only solution for more severe cases.
In addition to not being able to pass a stool, or only managing a few hard, small ones, constipation can also cause a dull pain in the lower abdomen. It can be caused by your dietary habits, such as consuming too little fiber or even through changes to your routine, such as travelling somewhere new. Constipation can be remedied by a gradual increase of your daily fiber intake.
When experiencing a burning pain in the middle or upper abdomen, it could be due to inflammation of the pancreas. This condition usually requires a visit to the hospital and in many cases is caused by over-consumption of alcohol, although gallstones can also play a role.
8. Side Effects From Medication
Abdominal pain can also sometimes be one of the unfortunate side-effects from medication. In fact, some types of pain medication are known to cause the stomach lining to swell and can, in some cases, even result in ulcers forming.
9. Gluten Intolerance
Just like some people are intolerant to lactose, others have trouble with the protein found in rye, wheat, and barley, called gluten. Symptoms include fatigue, bloating and mild to severe pain. These are caused by the gluten causing damage in the small intestine, and the only remedy is to switch to a gluten-free diet.
10. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is another condition that can result in chronic abdominal pain, and typically women are more susceptible than men, as it can be triggered by hormonal changes. Flare-ups can also be caused by certain foods, which is why it can sometimes be treated by dietary changes.
When stomach pains are accompanied by cramps, nausea and diarrhea there is a chance that the culprit could be parasites. It is not a very pleasant thought, but parasites can be contracted by drinking contaminated water, swimming in contaminated bodies of water or even from eating food that is undercooked or contaminated.
Endometriosis is another condition that only affects women and occurs when lining cells of the uterus grow in other parts of the body, such as in the pelvis. This condition is not only very painful, but also difficult to diagnose. It is usually treated with pain medication as well as hormone therapy, but if confined to a small area, it is possible that surgery can be used to help.
For pain that begins in the mid-abdomen and then spreads across into the lower right the cause could be appendicitis. This is caused by an inflammation of the appendix and can be life-threatening if the appendix isn’t removed, as the appendix could burst and lead to peritonitis. Children and young adults are the most susceptible, but cases of older adults with appendicitis are not unheard of either.
14. Problems With Your Thyroid Gland
The digestive tract can be affected by the thyroid gland being either underactive or overactive. When underactive, the thyroid can result in constipation and gas causing stomach pain because the digestive tract is slowed down. Abdominal cramps and diarrhea can also be the result of an overactive thyroid speeding up the digestive tract.
15. Food Poisoning
Food poisoning can be caused by bacteria or viruses and will result in vomiting and diarrhea along with the abdominal pain. Symptoms typically only last one or two days, so if they persist for longer it could be that the culprit is a stomach bug called viral gastroenteritis that is transmitted via food or other people.
When stomach pain is caused by ulcers the pain is typically felt in the mid-upper abdominal area. Another telltale sign that the cause is an ulcer is if the pain flares up after meals. Although easily cured, stomach ulcers can become more severe if not treated properly.
17. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
As the name suggests, inflammatory bowel disease causes an inflammation inside the large or small intestine. This can be serious enough to result in scarring as well as blockage, which in turn results in abdominal pain. Diagnosing this disease is made harder by the fact that although the symptoms are chronic, they can occur in cycles.
It is possible that cancer can cause abdominal pain, especially if it is one of the organs such as the gallbladder, ovaries, liver, or pancreas that is afflicted. However, pain is usually only experienced during later stages of the cancer and appears in conjunction with other symptoms, such as weight loss and persistent vomiting.