Stomach Pain Online Treatment

Stomach pain or abdominal pain is common and can have a range of causes. You may have heard it called stomach ache, belly ache, or tummy ache, and, most of the time, it’s not serious enough to warrant medical attention. But how do you know when abdominal pain is serious enough to seek help?

The different kinds of stomach pain

Many different types of pain can be classed as stomach ache. Sometimes you may find your stomach ache is relieved once you have been to the toilet, as stomach pain is a common symptom of diarrhoea and constipation. Stomach ache can be described as:

  • Dull or aching
  • Sharp
  • Burning
  • Constant or intermittent (comes and goes)
  • Comes suddenly or gradually

The most common symptoms are:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Excess wind
  • Belching
  • Acid at the back of the throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Bleeding from the backpassage
  • Fever
  • Pain when passing urine and passing urine more frequently
  • Discharge
  • Lumps and bumps

Acute vs chronic vs progressive

Acute abdominal pain usually comes on suddenly and is sharp/severe. It may improve within a few hours to a few days, depending on the cause. If sudden-onset pain lasts longer than this, you should see a doctor. You should also see a doctor or go to the emergency room if the pain worsens rapidly or you begin to experience fevers, severe or worsening nausea/vomiting, or diarrhea. Examples of acute abdominal pain can include gastrointestinal infection (may be mild or severe), appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix), cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), or an obstruction of your colon or small intestine.

Chronic abdominal pain is recurring and can come and go away without really worsening over a period of time. Chronic pain can be present for months or years at a time. You should always mention chronic stomach pain to your doctor or a healthcare provider. It can be a symptom of an underlying condition that needs treatment, or you can get help reducing pain and improving your quality of life. Examples of medical conditions that can cause chronic pain include certain types of hernias, celiac disease (gluten insensitivity), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, pain related to the menstrual cycle, or peptic ulcer disease.

With progressive abdominal pain, the pain starts bearable or even relatively mild and slowly worsens over time. If you have lasting stomach pain that only gets worse as time passes, you should seek immediate medical help. You may have progressive pain from causes like ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the colon), worsening acid reflux, gastric ulcer, liver problems, or cancer in one of the organs in your abdomen.

Stomach pain may also come in waves, called colicky pain. It can feel like spasms and may repeat over days, weeks, or years. This is frequently caused by kidney stones and gallstones (stones in the gallbladder).

Location

Your pain may be localized to one area, or it may affect your entire abdomen. There are a few ways you might describe the location of your pain to your doctor, including:

  • Left side stomach pain
  • Right side stomach pain
  • Upper stomach pain (above your bellybutton or navel)
  • Lower stomach pain (below your navel)
  • Pain in the middle of your stomach (the area around your navel)
  • Pain radiating (moving) throughout your abdomen

You can further narrow down the area of localized pain with descriptions like "upper left stomach pain" or "lower right stomach pain," or you can point out the area to your doctor. Knowing where the pain is located can help your doctor order the right tests and imaging to determine possible causes.

Type of pain

Cramping: Abdominal cramps can come from a variety of sources, including menstruation, “food poisoning” or infection, gas and bloating, or inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Often the cramping occurs just before, or with stooling. When stool is also bloody, inflammatory bowel disease is suspected. Different kinds of IBDs include Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. If the cramping doesn't show up with any other serious symptoms, wait a while. If the pain doesn't go away after 24 hours, or continues to get worse, seek medical advice.

Severe/debilitating cramping during menstruation can be a sign of an underlying problem, like endometriosis or the presence of uterine fibroids-especially if accompanied by heavy bleeding during periods. Many women also experience painful periods and heavy bleeding, even when no underlying problem exists. Regardless of the cause of painful or heavy periods, this is a common condition for women, and it is treatable. If your menstrual cramps are affecting your quality of life and ability to do daily tasks, seek advice from a medical provider.

Sharp or stabbing pain: Depending on the location, a sharp pain in the stomach can be indicative of several problems. On the upper right side, the culprit may be gallstones (hardened excess cholesterol in your gallbladder). On the lower right side, you may have appendicitis (an inflamed appendix, which needs to be removed). Often, intermittent sharp pains are caused by gas from constipation.

Sharp stomach pain that comes and goes is often a symptom of a stomach virus, such as the norovirus, which can also cause nausea, diarrhea, and intense cramping.

Burning pain: Burning stomach pain may be caused by peptic or stomach ulcers. Ulcers are sores and they can occur when the protective lining on the inside of the stomach is damaged. The lining can be damaged from an injury, excessive drinking or smoking, untreated acid reflux, infection, aspirin or ibuprofen, stress, and other causes. Peptic ulcers mostly develop in the upper abdomen, though the ulcers can also develop in your small intestine.

Soreness: There are a number of things that can make your stomach sore. Muscle soreness from a workout, a strained or pulled muscle, and injury may all cause an ache in your abdomen. If the soreness doesn't go away with rest, seek medical help. A urinary tract infection (UTI) may present with discomfort or an ache in the lower part of the pelvis.

Sensitivity to touch: If you're experiencing stomach pain when touched in the abdomen, you should seek medical advice. Sensitivity to touch can be a symptom of a serious illness such as appendicitis.

Common causes of abdominal pain

Stomach pain causes can vary widely. Isolating the cause will largely depend on what other symptoms you're experiencing alongside your abdominal pain. Some of the most common, non-serious causes of abdominal pain include:

  • constipation - fewer than three bowel movements in a week, dry/hard/lumpy stools, difficulty passing stools, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea, feeling that you haven't completely emptied your bowels after using the bathroom
  • food poisoning - symptoms include cramps, nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, fever/chills
  • viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu) -symptoms include watery diarrhea, cramps, nausea and/or vomiting, muscle aches, and a low-grade fever

bile or acid reflux - when your stomach contents rise part way back up your esophagus, causing heartburn, nausea, vomiting, upper abdomen pain, and other symptoms

Treatment options for pain in the stomach

Home remedies for stomach pain

There are plenty of ways to get some relief from the less serious causes of stomach pain. Your first step for how to stop stomach pain is to drink plenty of clear fluids, especially water. Drink slowly, sipping rather than chugging. You could also drink small amounts of sports drinks like Gatorade, but be careful not to have too much. Being hydrated helps prevent and treat constipation, a common cause of abdominal pain. If your pain is from gas, indigestion, or “food poisoning”, drinking small, frequent sips of water can help you remain hydrated and improve discomfort.

Over-the-counter stomach pain medicine like antacids and acetaminophen can help alleviate some of your symptoms. Try to avoid pain medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen if you have upper abdominal discomfort, since they can make abdominal pain worse by irritating the lining of your stomach.

If you've been vomiting, or if the discomfort is centered on your upper abdomen (the stomach and lower esophageal area), stick to bland foods like crackers or rice. Non-solid foods, like apple sauce, are even better. Avoid rich foods, especially dairy. If you're experiencing heartburn along with your stomach pain, avoid high-fat foods, citrus, tomato-based foods, caffeine, and alcohol.

Chronic pain can be helped at home too. Talk to your doctor about changes to your diet, and exercise more regularly. Your doctor may also be able to recommend exercises based on the cause of your pain. Exercise relieves bloating and constipation, which can accompany several types of chronic abdominal discomfort.

​If your pain level doesn't improve after 48 hours, you should seek medical help.

When you should seek medical advice

If your abdominal pain is associated with trauma or an injury, or if you have chest pain with your abdominal pain, seek immediate emergency medical care.

If you have an underlying medical condition that affects your gastrointestinal system, talk to your doctor about possible treatment plans. You should also see a doctor or seek immediate medical care if you have severe stomach pain accompanied by:

  • Fever
  • Pain lasting longer than one week
  • Pain that is worsening in severity
  • Blood in your stool or vomit
  • Inability to pass stool
  • Persistent nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundiced (yellowed) skin
  • Severe sensitivity or tenderness when you touch your abdomen
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Inability to move without causing further pain and/or inability to get comfortable due to severe abdominal pain
  • Severe stomach pain in pregnancy

Your doctor will likely check your medical history for underlying causes or chronic conditions that might be causing new complications. Based on your symptoms and medical history, your doctor may order tests, such as an X-Ray, CT scan, colonoscopy, or endoscopy. Once your doctor has determined the cause of your pain, they will develop a treatment plan. These can include everything from prescribed medication to surgery to physical therapy to dietary changes.

FAQ's

How do I know if my stomach pain is serious?​

Severe causes of abdominal pain often comes with other symptoms, including high fever, bloody stools, or swelling in the abdomen. However, if your stomach pain doesn't go away, or is so severe that moving causes even more pain, you should seek medical help right away.

What's good for stomach pain that isn't going away?​

Stomach pain from less urgent causes, such as indigestion, should go away within a few hours and pain shouldn't last more than a few days. If your pain lasts longer than 48 hours or your pain goes away but returns in cycles, you should see a doctor.

Can stress cause stomach pain?​

Yes. Stress and anxiety can cause stomach pain or make existing pain worse. Stress makes your body over-produce cortisol, the hormone associated with the fight-or-flight instinct. This can cause stomach cramps, as can stress-relieving behaviors like drinking caffeine or alcohol, smoking, or eating unhealthy foods.

Can you have stomach pain after drinking?​

Yes, drinking too much alcohol OR caffeine can both put stress on the stomach, causing pain or cramping. Both can also make certain stomach problems worse, such as ulcers, acid reflux disease, or any conditions that cause nausea or vomiting.

Is stomach pain a sign of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is largely a respiratory infection that affects the throat and upper chest areas more than the stomach. While it can sometimes come with nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, coronavirus stomach pain is less common. If you have stomach pain, it's likely not a result of COVID-19. However, if you also have respiratory symptoms, you should probably seek testing for covid-19.

How to get rid of gas pain in stomach?​

Stomach pain gas can feel extremely uncomfortable and painful. You can start by limiting foods that cause gas, like beans, leafy greens, certain sugars, and starches. If you have a particular reaction to dairy or wheat products, ask your doctor to test you for lactose intolerance or Celiac's disease. Eating slowly and taking over-the-counter gas medicines can also help. Try making a “food diary” to help identify food triggers for your pain, and make adjustments.

Can back pain cause stomach pain?​

Yes, you can have both stomach and back pain. If you have stomach and back pain together, they may both be symptoms of some larger problem, like an autoimmune disorder or a kidney infection. In rare cases, having both types of pain together can be a sign of certain cancers. If your pain doesn't go away in 48 hours, seek medical attention.

Can dehydration cause stomach pain?​

Not getting enough water can cause pain in your stomach from muscle cramps. It's especially common in athletes competing in warm weather. You can avoid dehydration cramps by getting plenty of water throughout the day.

What tea is good for stomach pain?

Tea is a common home remedy used for upset stomachs. Several kinds recommended for stomach pain include green, ginger, peppermint/spearmint, licorice, and holy basil teas. Be careful not to drink too much, and to avoid caffeinated teas if your stomach is sensitive. Tea is not a replacement for drinking water.

What are some other home remedies for stomach pain?

There are a number of ideas on how to help stomach pain at home. The best things you can do are drink water and other clear fluids (like gatorade or tea), avoid rich and fatty foods, and rest. You may also check your local drug store for over-the-counter medication to alleviate your symptoms. If home remedies don't help your symptoms, set up an appointment to speak with a Babylon healthcare provider.

How do I handle stomach pain in kids?

Kids can get a stomach ache just like adults, and it often feels terrible for them. Feed your child simple foods like toast, banana, rice, and applesauce. If your child seems to suffer stomach pain after eating, you may want to ask their doctor to check for lactose or gluten intolerance or a new food allergy. Kids commonly experience stomach pain from constipation, gas, and illnesses like a UTI, or the stomach flu.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.