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10 Reasons Why Your Stomach May Ache

Practically everyone experiences stomach pain at some point. When this happens, most people have moderate symptoms that disappear after a few days, or get temporary relief from an over-the-counter drug.... Read More

10 Reasons Why Your Stomach May Ache

Practically everyone experiences stomach pain at some point. When this happens, most people have moderate symptoms that disappear after a few days, or get temporary relief from an over-the-counter drug.

Yet, that burning or sharp sensation or recurring pain could mean something more. In fact, “stomach” issues originate in the abdominal region – the area extending from your liver through your kidneys and intestines. As such, a stomach ache could encompass multiple health concerns, and may require medical attention.

Review the list below, and be sure to contact your doctor if you experience severe pain that is recurring or accompanied by a fever, vomiting, frequent urination, a tender sensation or another injury.

Constipation – Sharp gas pains and a bloated or full sensation are indicators of this condition. In more serious instances, the abdomen may become visibly distended.

Urinary Tract Infections – As the second most common infection in humans, UTIs are responsible for up to 8 million doctors’ visits per year. They’re caused by bacteria or fungi that have spread into the urinary tract, and create a burning sensation that may spread toward the abdominal area.

Gastroenteritis – Commonly known as the “stomach flu,” a viral or bacterial infection irritates the stomach and intestines. Symptoms may include watery diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, cramping, fever, headaches and nausea.

Bowel Problems – Ranging from the inconvenience of Irritable Bowel Syndrome to the chronic problems associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, these conditions can result in mild to severe abdominal pain. The latter also presents with symptoms of recurring diarrhea and rectal bleeding, and warrants prompt medical attention.

Food Poisoning – Abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea and vomiting lasting one to two days indicate a bout of food poisoning. Salmonella and other foodborne bacteria, as well as parasites such as giardia, may be responsible. Symptoms related to bacteria may emerge quickly, but if the problem relates to parasites, symptoms can take up to three weeks to develop.

Ulcers – Heartburn-like symptoms accompany these sores that form in the stomach and duodenum. Unlike with other stomach concerns, pain subsides with eating. Bacteria and NSAIDs may cause the condition to develop, while anxiety and stress can cause the symptoms to worsen.

Food Intolerance – Those who suffer from food intolerance or allergies, such as gluten or lactose intolerance, may experience abdominal pain, bloating, gas, indigestion and fatigue. In more serious cases like Celiac Disease, intestinal damage, chronic diarrhea and weight loss may also occur.

Medication Side Effects – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and oral bisphosphonates, which are used to treat osteoporosis and other bone-related issues, may have such side effects as ulcers and swelling or irritation of the stomach lining. Symptoms can include nausea, loss of appetite, indigestion, a burning sensation in the stomach area, and vomiting.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – When the stomach’s sphincter muscle no longer closes completely, acid splashes upward, resulting in pain or a burning sensation in the stomach and lower chest. Consuming acidic or fatty foods may exacerbate the feeling. This is commonly known as heartburn.

Gallstones – While associated with liver issues, these stones may cause swelling and could potentially block the duct leading to intestines. Pain is typically concentrated on your right side. Although over-the-counter products provide relief, getting medical attention may be necessary, particularly if the pain is severe, recurring or accompanied by a fever, vomiting, frequent urination, a tender sensation or another injury.

Talk with your doctor if you are concerned about any of these health issues. He or she can ensure a proper diagnosis and offer treatment options to relieve your symptoms.