Our health is so important and when things don’t feel right, or illness occurs, it can be rather concerning. How many times have you suffered from occasional abdominal pain only to wonder what the cause was, how serious it may be and if it’s something you should see the doctor about? Chances are it went away as fast as it arrived, and you probably didn’t think much about it, then it wasn’t anything to worry about. However, for those whose pain lingers or becomes chronic, it’s important to dig a little deeper and get some all important answers. Here are four common causes of abdominal pain.
Digestive Issues Can Lead to Pain
One of the most common problems associated with acute abdominal pain is digestive issues, including indigestion, gas and constipation. These can occur at any time and most people will have experienced them at some point in their life. What may surprise you, however, is just how painful these issues can be. For example, gas pain can be extremely sharp and severe, causing worry and panic that something more serious may be happening. Digestive issues can also cause pain to spread to the pelvis and chest.
Some of the common symptoms to look for that can point towards digestive pain include:
-Bloating – your stomach can feel full and even become a bit swollen
-Cramps in the abdomen
-A knotted sensation in the abdomen
-Passing gas on a more excessive basis
These can happen after a meal since they are associated with digestive issues. While digestive problems aren’t usually something serious, you should speak to your doctor immediately if you also notice the following issues:
-Vomiting and/or nausea
Abdominal pain can also be caused by the gallbladder thanks to gallstones. As the name suggests, these are small, hard stones that can develop inside your gallbladder. It’s not unusual for them to be of various sizes, with some being as large as a golf ball (ouch). They can be extremely painful, and the course of action will depend on the size of the stones and the amount of pain they are causing.
What’s interesting is that some people can develop these stones and never feel any pain, therefore they don’t even know they have them. In this case, there is no need to remove them.
The most common signs of gallstones are:
-Pain in the upper right or upper mid–abdomen
–Jaundice (eyes and skin)
-Pain in the right shoulder
Appendicitis is a health issue that needs to be taken and treated very seriously. Appendicitis means your appendix has become infected or inflamed. Pain can be intermittent or continuous. Should your appendix burst right open, it will cause severe pain and it can be fatal if not treated right away. In the majority of cases, those with appendicitis will require immediate surgery which is called an appendectomy. In this procedure, your appendix is completely removed.
Below are the common signs you should watch for that could signal appendicitis:
-A feeling like you need to pass gas but can’t
-Tenderness or pain in the abdominal area (it can be pronounced when you inhale, sneeze, move or cough)
-Loss of appetite
Stomach Flu – Gastroenteritis
All too often gastroenteritis gets mistaken for influenza but the two are different. Influenza is caused by a respiratory virus, whereas gastroenteritis is caused by bacteria, viruses and toxins. For those familiar with the norovirus, this is a form of gastroenteritis. Unfortunately, gastroenteritis is extremely contagious and tends to spread any time people are sharing dining and/or living spaces.
-Body aches and pains
-Abdominal cramps or pain
Some people will get a worse case than others, and you need to be careful you stay well-hydrated, especially when your body is losing so much fluid. If you are experiencing severe pain, a high fever, blood in your diarrhoea and your symptoms are getting worse with time, you’ll need to see a doctor.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Because these stomach issues are so different, it’s only natural to feel unsure of what would warrant a visit to the doctor. In general, if your abdominal pain comes on suddenly and is severe, you’ll want to get checked out immediately. While it may be nothing and it may not be anything that should signal alarm, it’s still best to get checked by a doctor.
Depending on the cause of the pain, you may even need surgery. General surgery can address such things as abdominal hernia, gallbladder issues, endometriosis and more. The Circle Health Group, which offers general surgery services, is well-versed in various abdominal issues and is sure to use a variety of diagnostic tests to give you a timely and accurate diagnosis. Should you require surgery, a specialist general surgeon will be able to address a wide array of issues.
These are just a few of the most common reasons you may be experiencing abdominal pain. This kind of pain can be acute or chronic, and range in severity. Visiting the doctor is the best way to get answers.