There may be a time when you suddenly experience cramping or pain in your stomach; after eating, or after lying down, etc. The pain may also be accompanied with other symptoms. If this condition is experienced frequently, it is essential to find the underlying cause of it. It can be disease or disorder related to the stomach, liver, kidneys, or other organs located in the body.
When talking about underlying causes, it has been observed that constipation, indigestion and diarrhea are the three most commonly experienced conditions that cause stomach pain. Apart from these, the following are the other significant and possible causes to look out for.
Gastroenteritis or stomach flu is a disorder of the stomach and intestines caused due to bacteria (Salmonella enteritidis) and parasites. The bacteria enter the human body through contaminated food and water. Children, teenagers and older people are more prone to this disease. Abdominal pain, nausea, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, etc. are the symptoms of gastroenteritis.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Pain or discomfort in the stomach after eating can be caused due to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux disease. Improper diet and eating habits is the most prominent cause for it. Having large and spicy meals, specially at night; not eating at proper and regular time, having extremely hot food, etc. leads to acid reflux. On the other hand, smoking, alcoholism, obesity also make a person prone to this condition.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome can be another possible cause. Symptoms of this condition include recurring pain and cramping in lower abdomen, bloating, diarrhea or constipation. This is a chronic, but not a life-threatening condition. It is believed to be triggered due to stress or improper eating habits. Its exact cause is unknown. Unfortunately, it is found that irritable bowel syndrome is often misdiagnosed as some other disease of the stomach.
Mild abdominal discomfort during early pregnancy is quite a normal and common condition experienced by women. Increased size of the uterus, bloating, constipation, etc., that are commonly experienced in pregnancy, are the contributing factors for abdominal uneasiness. However, constant and severe pain observed along with other symptoms like vaginal discharge, bleeding, nausea, vomiting, unconsciousness, etc. are signs of other complications in pregnancy.
Apart from these, food allergy or intolerance, flatulence, celiac disease, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, kidney stone, gallstones, ectopic pregnancy, menstrual cramps, etc., are some of the other potential causes that cannot be ignored. Identifying the underlying cause is essential; and hence, the first thing you need to do is to consult the doctor immediately.
What to Look For
➡ What is the exact nature & duration of the pain?
➡ Does it come and go? Or is it dull pain that lasts for a long time?
➡ Is there anything that helps / worsens it?
➡ What are the other accompanying symptoms?
➡ Is it caused due to side effect of any medication / drug?
➡ Was this type of pain experienced before?
The doctor will advise a physical examination, X-ray or MRI to diagnose the cause. In case of gastroenteritis, it is essential to treat dehydration as a priority. Plain drinking water, electrolyte or intravenous (IV) fluids help in treating dehydration. Secondly, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat the disease completely. Other medication may also be prescribed to treat nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Taking rest in proper posture, having a healthy diet, etc. helps in overcoming pain during pregnancy. It is recommended to consult the doctor before using any medication or home remedies during pregnancy.
Acid reflux disease can be treated with the help of medication. However, it is essential to make changes in your lifestyle if you wish to get rid of it permanently. In order to treat irritable bowel syndrome, it is essential to treat its symptoms individually. There are medications available to treat constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. However, you should note that irritable bowel syndrome cannot be cured permanently. But, making changes in lifestyle and food habits can help reduce severity and frequency of the disease.
Following proper diet and dietary habits is the most effective way of preventing most of the diseases related to the stomach. It is essential to keep a food diary and identify food allergies or intolerance. You should eliminate all foodstuff causing flatulence, allergic reaction, stomach pain, indigestion, etc. Secondly, drinking adequate amount of water is essential for proper digestion of food. At the same time, regular exercise is also a must. In case you observe side effects related to any medication, make sure to bring it to your doctor's notice. It is wise to adhere to a proper diet in case you are suffering from any chronic health condition. Although the underlying causes are not always life-threatening; it is advisable to get the condition diagnosed so as to avoid complications in future.
Disclaimer: This write up is intended only to provide information, and is not to be substituted for doctor's consultation and advice.