Stomach pain ranges from mild to debilitating depending on the type. The majority of humans must have experienced some level of stomach discomfort at least a few times in their lifetime. This may be from overindulgence especially junk food or eating contaminated food.
You may also get a stomach ache from a viral infection. Understanding the type and location of your stomach ache helps you to identify the causes. Your doctor will want to know where the ache is located.
Also, what does it feel like?
- A severe burning sensation in the upper region
- Cramps in the lower abdomen
- Dull throbbing pain in the middle
The location and type of pain will guide your health provider in providing the appropriate remedies. Here are five types of stomach ache that range from the common to the rare:
General Stomach Pain Accompanied by Diarrhea
This may be gastroenteritis: inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It is also known as infectious diarrhea and is mainly a viral infection. One common cause of this type of stomach ache is the norovirus.
The infection leads to the inflammation which causes pain in the abdomen and diarrhea. You may also experience bouts of vomiting.
Treatment includes the management of diarrhea and other symptoms. Your doctor may advise you to up your fluid intake to stay hydrated.
A bloated stomach is one of the most uncomfortable feelings. It is mainly as a result of excess gas and happens when the digestive process is overwhelmed with gas. The digestive process involves the breakdown of foods.
Some foods such as beans can be a source of excess gas leading to bloating. Carbonated drinks may also lead to an excess buildup of gas. Also, do not eat too fast. You will take in too much air in the process and end up feeling bloated.
Excess gas can resolve itself with time but a change in your dietary habits may help to regulate it. Leave out foods that will lead to gas such as beans, some artificial sweeteners, carbonated drinks and leafy green vegetables.
If the bloating is accompanied by a stomach ache, you may be suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). You may have experienced changes such as diarrhea and constipation in your bowel movement. This may be due to sensitivity to food, stress, infection, or even genetics.
IBS has no cure as of now. However, the symptoms can be managed. Changes to your diet can offer long-term relief. Experts recommend a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are found in food groups such as:
- Oligosaccharides: Legumes, garlic, rye, onions, wheat, some fruits
- Disaccharides: Soft cheese, milk, yogurt (lactose-rich foods)
- Monosaccharides: Fruits such as mangoes and figs; sweeteners such as honey (fructose-rich foods)
- Polyols: fruits such as blackberries, low calorie sweeteners, vegetables such as lychee
Burning Sensation or Pain in the Upper Abdomen
Discomfort in the upper abdomen may also be as a result of indigestions (dyspepsia). Other possible causes of this include the following:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Peptic ulcer
- Gallbladder disease
It is rarely a condition on its own and should not be taken as such. An ulcer can cause agonizing pain in the upper abdomen.
Ulcers occur when the mucus that serves as a barrier between the stomach lining and corrosive digestive juices is compromised. This happens due to:
- Heavy drinking
- Digestive ailments
It is probably a good idea to go slow on the drinks and smokes. Also, if you have the occasional heartburn, maybe avoid aspirin altogether.
The underlying cause of the discomfort will dictate the treatment option. However, most options seek to reduce stomach acid to enable the sores to heal. This may include dietary options that will not activate the acid.
Acute Pain in the Lower Right Side of the Abdomen
A possible cause for this may be appendicitis. The appendix can become inflamed as a result of:
- Blockage in the hollow chamber
A blockage in the hollow chamber may result in the buildup of bacteria. Should it burst the bacteria gains access to the abdominal cavity and creates various complications. Acute pain in the lower side of the abdomen plus additional symptoms such as nausea and fever may indicate appendicitis.
Treatment for appendicitis may require medical intervention as there is the risk of bursting. They may recommend antibiotics or an appendectomy if necessary.
Cramps in the Lower Abdomen
Pain in the lower abdomen may be as a result of menstruation. Severe pain may be an indication of endometriosis. The pain may come along with bloating, gas, constipation, vomiting, and in some cases, diarrhea.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that is supposed to grow in the uterus grows in other parts of the body. Mainly, the tissue develops in the pelvic area but it may be found in other parts.
Menstrual cramps can be treated with home remedies such as:
- Hot water bottles
- Regular exercise
- Dietary supplements (vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-6, magnesium supplements, thiamin)
- Stress management
With endometriosis, the best option is to seek medical care from a qualified provider such as a gynecologist.
Many stomach ailments can be managed with natural remedies. If the discomfort is mild or does not require medication, you can treat it naturally at home. However, severe pain should be reviewed by your doctor.