Abdominal pain – Types, Symptoms, Treatments and Risk factors

ABDOMINAL-PAIN

What is abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is a pain that occurs anywhere between the region of the chest and the groin.

In other words, the pain that causes discomfort or other unpleasant sensations in the abdomen is referred to as abdominal pain. Most of us would have experienced abdominal pain at some point in our lives.

Most stomach discomfort cases like abdominal pain or belly pain problems can be diagnosed and treated early. However, in some cases, it may be a sign of a serious condition that requires immediate medical treatment.

Types of abdominal pain

Right upper quadrant

The pancreas, liver, gallbladder, right kidney and intestines are all located in the right upper quadrant. Pain under the ribs could be caused by a health problem affecting one of these organs or the surrounding tissues.

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Left upper quadrant

The left upper quadrant (LUQ) is an abdominal area located on the left side of the abdomen where the pain occurs. Your left upper quadrant is the quarter situated on the left side closest to your ribcage.

Right lower quadrant

The Right Lower Quadrant (RLQ) is an abdominal area divided into four quarters from the bottom of your ribs to your pubic hair. Your Right Lower Quadrant is the quarter on your right side below your belly button.

Left lower quadrant

The left lower quadrant is one of the quadrants of the abdomen that is found between your ribs and pubic hair in four halves. Your left lower quadrant is the quarter on your left side below your belly button.

Causes of abdominal pain

The following are some of the frequent causes of abdominal pain:

Causes of Abdominal Pain?

Constipation

Constipation with stomach pain is very prevalent. Gas buildup in the belly or the urge for a bowel movement is the most common cause of constipation. Constipation is one of the essential factors for the cause of abdominal pain.

If constipation is the cause of your abdominal discomfort, you may have intense gas pains all over your abdomen. Constipated people often feel bloated and full and their abdomen may become noticeably swollen.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects the large intestine and is a prevalent condition for abdominal pain. Cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea or constipation are some of its common signs and symptoms. IBS is a long-term condition characterised by abdominal pain and a change in bowel patterns.

Food allergies or intolerance

Food-related allergies develop when the immune system reacts to certain proteins in food. Food allergies range in intensity from minor to severe. It also causes life-threatening symptoms known as anaphylaxis, which can include lethal breathing issues and shock.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning is an immunological reaction that happens shortly after intaking certain foods that may not be appropriate for your body. A food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis for certain people.

Stomach flu

Viral gastroenteritis is an intestine infection that produces a watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain or cramping, nausea or vomiting, and, in some cases, fever. Stomach flu is widely used to describe viral gastroenteritis. Abdominal pain can be caused by both stomach flu and food poisoning.

Symptoms of abdominal pain

Severe pain

Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, lactose intolerance, food poisoning and a stomach virus are some of the noticeable symptoms of severe pain in the abdomen.

Fever

Fever due to abdominal pain can be a symptom of non-infectious disorders like inflammatory bowel disease, ischemic colitis, pancreatitis, polyarteritis nodosa (PAN), Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), porphyria and sickle cell crisis.

Bloody stools

Conditions like Hemorrhoids, anal fissures, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcers and colon cancer can all cause rectal bleeding. Rectal bleeding is usually visible on toilet paper, in the water in the toilet bowl, or on your stool.

Persistent nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of chronic or long-term stomach problems. Other symptoms are diarrhoea, constipation and stomach pain.

Overeating, intestinal infections, stress and anxiety and persistent gastrointestinal diseases are all possible causes of nausea and vomiting.

Nausea and stomach pain are normally transient and go away on their own. People with persistent symptoms, on the other hand, should see a doctor for treatment.

Weight loss

Long-term stomach pain caused by weight reduction is a perilous disease that should be recognised and treated by your doctor promptly.

Weight loss can also be caused by short-term diseases like influenza or the common cold, which induce gastrointestinal discomfort.

Depression, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, and viral infections are all typical reasons for accidental weight loss.

Skin that appears yellow

Jaundice typically occurs when there is a high quantity of bilirubin in the blood, which is the most prevalent cause of yellow skin. When old or damaged red blood cells break down, a yellowish substance is formed through the generation of bilirubin.

The most common symptom of jaundice induced by pancreatic or biliary tract malignancies is abdominal pain. You may also get jaundice as a result of your liver disease:

Severe tenderness when you touch your abdomen

Inflammation or other acute processes in one or more organs are the most common causes of abdominal tenderness. Around the sensitive area, the organs are packed together.

Swelling of the abdomen

When your stomach area is larger than normal, you have a swollen abdomen. This is also known as a large belly or a protruding abdomen. An uncomfortable or even painful bloated abdomen is one of the common reasons for swelling. A bloated abdomen can be caused by a variety of factors and is quite common.

Bloating from IBS, heartburn, constipation and menstruation cramps are common causes of a bloated abdomen.

Treatments for abdominal pain

Bowel rest

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, bowel rest entails giving your digestive system a rest from consuming anything by mouth. Stop eating or eat only items that are easy to digest, such as crackers or bananas.

Hydration

Severe stomach pain could be caused by dehydration. The entire people have to be educated on the benefits of adequate hydration intake.

Because there isn’t enough water to produce stool, constipation might develop as a result of dehydration. This might cause stomach cramps, bloating and pain in the abdomen. Dehydration isn’t just about not drinking enough water. Your body lacks the proper electrolyte balance when you are dehydrated.

Heat therapy

Placing a heating pad on your stomach where it hurts is a simple solution. The heat relaxes your outer stomach muscles and encourages digestive flow. It’s usually preferable to lie down. For 15 minutes, keep it on your stomach.

A heat compress can also be used to relieve a stomachache. Use a hot water bag or an electric heat pad to relax your abdominal muscles and relieve pain. Drinking a cup of rice water relieves stomach problems.

Home remedies

Heat your stomach with a heating pad or a warm cloth. Heat can aid in muscular relaxation and cramp relief. A hot shower or bath with Epsom salts may also be beneficial to relieve your stomach pain. If your stomach ache isn’t going away, try the “BRAT” diet, which consists of bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. In addition, you can try other foods like peppermint, apple cider vinegar and ginger.

Risk factors of abdominal pain

Older age

Diverticulitis is a common cause of abdominal pain for elderly people. It can be treated on an outpatient basis with oral antibiotics in carefully selected patients. Obstructions of the small and large bowels, which are mainly caused by adhesion disease or cancer are more common in the elderly and often necessitate surgery.

Prior abdominal surgery

Prior abdominal surgery (PAS) was defined as any previous abdominal surgery performed via laparoscopy or laparotomy, and it was divided into two categories namely Major and Minor prior abdominal surgery.

After midnight, do not eat or drink anything, including water and chewing gum. Continue taking your medication as directed, but only with a drink of water. For one week before your surgery, avoid taking ibuprofen, aspirin, or any other aspirin-containing drug.

History of bowel disorders

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, and hiatal hernia are some of the common bowel disorders. Other than that, you may also face other problems like bleeding, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn, discomfort, nausea and vomiting.

Exposure to a stomach virus 

A person will normally get stomach flu within 12 to 48 hours of their initial (first) exposure. The stomach flu is diagnosed mostly on the basis of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, abdominal cramps and a low-grade temperature. Vomiting and diarrhoea can happen on their own or in tandem.

Prevention of stomach pain

Eating a healthy diet

Make sure the rice is pure white. Black or brown rice is difficult to digest especially if you have an upset stomach. White rice is a starchy, low-fibre diet that can help firm up your stool and stop the diarrhoea that sometimes accompanies stomach problems.

Eating smaller meals

Mini-meals can help with hunger suppression, blood sugar stabilisation, and vitamin delivery throughout the day. Eating meals with low quantity aids in digestion and abstain you from being attacked by abdominal pain.

When to see a doctor?

In general, stomach discomfort should be treated as an emergency issue. If your pain is sudden and severe, or if it is accompanied by nausea and vomiting, you should get medical help right away.

If you experience abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhoea for more than a week or if it doesn’t improve in 24 to 48 hours, call your doctor.

Summing up

Do not underestimate your abdominal pain. Make sure to immediately consult a doctor if you incur any signs and symptoms related to abdominal pain.

Always remember to eat healthy meals. Refrain from eating junk food and exercise regularly.

FAQs

1.How do I know if my abdominal pain is serious?

If you have symptoms like repeated bowel movements or persistent pain in the stomach, then it means your abdominal pain is serious.

2.What’s the most prevalent cause of stomach aches and pains?

There are numerous causes of abdominal pain. Some of the prominent causes are gas pains, indigestion, or muscle aches.

3.Is there any way to know what’s causing the pain in your abdomen?

Food poisoning, constipation, food allergies, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome and stomach viruses are some of the significant causes of abdominal pain.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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