Abdominal pain is one of the most common reasons that people visit the ER. A variety of factors can cause or complicate a person’s condition. Luckily, these symptoms usually resolve on their own most of the time and fairly quickly. However, abdominal pain may indicate a more serious underlying condition. If you’re wondering where your abdominal pain is coming from, here are a few common causes and some uncommon causes.
#1. Digestive Problems
Digestive problems are the most common cause of abdominal pain:
- Constipation can put pressure on the colon and cause pain in the abdomen. Not eating enough fiber, eating certain foods like cheese or other dairy products can lead to constipation. Taking certain medications and a lack of movement or exercise can also cause someone to become backed up. Not sure if your baby is constipated? Read more here.
- Gas can also cause pain when pressure builds up in the intestines. Gas, formally known as flatulence, is produced by bacteria in certain foods. The body produces gas when the body has a hard time tolerating these foods.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder that can cause nausea, cramping, and gas. Typically, people with IBS find relief or partial relief after a bowel movement.
- Acid reflux is another common cause of abdominal pain. When stomach acids travel backward into the throat, it can cause a burning sensation and pain.
#2. Stomach flu
The stomach flu is caused by bacteria or viruses that wreak havoc on the digestive system. Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are some of the symptoms that accompany the stomach flu.
Abdominal pain after vomiting is quite normal. Stomach acids that travel up the digestive track can irritate tissues and cause pain. Vomiting can also strain the abdominal muscles and lead to soreness.
Inflammation of the stomach lining can also cause pain. Gastritis can be caused by stress, excessive alcohol consumption, chronic vomiting, or from taking certain medications such as aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs. Chronic inflammation can lead to many other health problems aside from gastritis.
#5. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a long-term condition that involves persistent acid reflux. It can cause abdominal pain, heartburn, and nausea. In time, it can lead to complications, such as inflammation of the esophagus. GERD is a common problem, but treatment is available.
Stomach ulcers, which are also known as gastric ulcers, are painful sores in the stomach lining. They are typically caused by a bacterial infection or long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. The sores form when stomach mucus is reduced, allowing stomach acids to eat away at the stomach lining. Thankfully, ulcers are curable but they can worsen without proper treatment.
Other common causes of abdominal pain include Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract infections. More serious but rare causes of abdominal pain include appendicitis, kidney infection, hepatitis, gallbladder stones, food poisoning, cardiac conditions, cysts, hernias, and cancer.
In some cases, abdominal pain is a sign of a medical condition that can be fatal. It’s always best to seek immediate medical care when you have unexplained abdominal pain.
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