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Common Causes of Abdominal Pain and When to See a Doctor?

Common Causes of Abdominal Pain and When to See a Doctor?

Everyone regardless of age and gender has digestive problems from time to time. Occasional abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion or abdominal bloating is normal.

For some people, however, these troubles are chronic and more serious.

Qualified gastroenterologist, Dr. Schneider of GIDOCJHB, treats conditions and diseases of the digestive system that cause mild or difficult symptoms such as stomach pain, gallstones, ulcers, and acid reflux.

With early detection and specialized care, your digestive disorder can be successfully managed the right way.

Our goal is to help you gain access to quality care and create a personalized pain management plan, so you can start feeling better and get back to your day to day lifestyle without feeling uncomfortable or suffering from chronic pain.

 

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What Causes Abdominal and Stomach Pain?

Some reasons for abdominal pain are obvious, like when someone has an upset stomach. Other times, it’s not so obvious.

Below are some of the things that cause stomach pain. This article also serves as a valuable resource to find out more about natural remedies for abdominal pain.

Gas Pain

Sometimes pain in your lower abdominal area is just a buildup of gas in your gut.

A lot of gas can make your stomach hard and look like its bloated, which leaves you with an uncomfortable feeling.

This can happen after you eat a large meal or if you ate a lot of gassy or greasy foods.

Indigestion

You might feel pain in your upper abdomen or feel like burping or have an acid taste in your mouth.

This usually happens after eating certain types of food or eating just before bed and then laying down.

Most cases of indigestion last for a short time, from a few minutes to hours and usually heals on its own.

 

Constipation

Constipation is very common among adults. It means either going to the toilet less often than usual to empty the bowels or finding it difficult to pass stools (faeces).

Constipation commonly causes lower stomach pain, because it’s basically a build-up of digested food in your large intestine.

Constipation can be a sign that you’re not eating enough fiber, not getting regular exercise, or failing to drink enough water

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard mineral and salt deposits that form inside the kidneys; the only way to get them out is to wait until they pass through your urinary tract.

Kidney stones can cause severe lower back and stomach pain, both on the left and right side of the stomach.

Kidney stones are thought to be one of the worst culprits of stomach pain – some women have even compared it to childbirth. 

abdominal stomach pain - Common Causes of Abdominal Pain and When to See a Doctor?

Menstrual Cramps

If you’re female, it’s very common to experience pain in the lower part of your stomach when you’re on your period.

The pain is often mild but for some women, the pain is severe enough to affect day-to-day activities. An anti-inflammatory painkiller often eases the pain.

Appendicitis

Appendicitis means inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is a small pouch that comes off the gut wall.

It can become blocked, inflamed, and swollen, irritating the surrounding tissues and triggering lower abdominal pain.

Typical symptoms include abdominal pain and being sick (vomiting) that gradually become worse over a few hours.

Gallstones

Many people do not know they have gallstones and usually just pass it off as heavy stomach cramps and pain.

Symptoms can include pain in the right upper or middle stomach area, back pain in between your shoulder blades and nausea and vomiting.

The pain eases and goes if the gallstone is pushed out into the bile duct (and then usually out into the gut) or if it falls back into the gallbladder.

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a common gut disorder among men and women. The cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not yet known.

Symptoms can be quite different among people but include abdominal pain, wind, bloating, and regular rounds of diarrhea and/or constipation.

Symptoms tend to come and go. Symptoms can often be temporarily eased and managed with treatment.

 

Viral or Bacterial Infections

One of the most common causes of lower abdominal pain are infections caused by various viruses or bacteria known as gastroenteritis.

When bacteria or viruses get into a person’s digestive system, the body reacts by trying to rid itself of the infection, often through vomiting or diarrhea.

I recommend patients seek medical care if symptoms last for longer than 48 hours or if you have a fever.

 

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Abdominal Pain Home Care

If your abdominal pain is not severe, you may be able to manage the pain at home with a heating pad or over-the-counter medications, such as antacids or pain relievers.

However, if you believe your pain is caused by stomach irritation, do not take ibuprofen or aspirin, as these can irritate your stomach further.

You can try the following home care steps and advice to ease mild abdominal pain:

  • Chew your food slowly and well
  • Stay away from foods that bother you (spicy or fried foods, for example)
  • Ease stress with exercise
  • Soak in a warm bath. Take care not to scald yourself.
  • Reduce your intake of coffee, tea, and alcohol as these can make the pain worse.
  • Try over-the-counter antacids, to help reduce some types of pain.
  • If you have been vomiting, wait 6 hours, and then eat small amounts of mild foods such as rice, applesauce, or crackers. Avoid dairy products.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Make sure that your meals are well-balanced and high in fiber. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Get plenty of rest.

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When to See a Gastroenterologist

If your abdominal pain is severe, doesn’t go away, or keeps coming back, talk to your gastroenterologist. It’s time to get medical help if:

  • You have severe stomach pain or the pain lasts several days
  • Are currently being treated for cancer
  • You have nausea and fever and can’t keep food down for several days
  • Can’t touch your abdomen because it’s too tender
  • You have bloody stools
  • Are pregnant or could be pregnant
  • Had a recent injury to your abdomen and its paining
  • You have blood in your urine
  • You cannot pass stools, especially if you’re also vomiting
  • Have sudden, sharp abdominal pain
  • You had an injury to your belly in the days before the pain started
  • You have heartburn that doesn’t get better with over-the-counter drugs or lasts longer than 2 weeks
  • Signs you’re getting dehydrated, including not urinating frequently, dark-colored urine, and being very thirsty

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Foods that Promote Digestive Health

Foods that Promote Digestive Health

At GIDOCJHB,  we care about providing digestive health care to help our patients find the appropriate treatment for them.

Selecting the right gastroenterologist that provides the best care for your unique needs is extremely important.

The team at GIDOCJHB provides diagnostic procedures and treatment options for patients with disorders of the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, digestive tract problems, and related digestive issues.

We also have experience in inflammatory bowel disease, therapeutic endoscopy, and nutritional evaluation.

 

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What is the Digestive System and Why is it Important?

The digestive system is the group of organs (mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, and large intestine) that break down food to absorb its nutrients.

The beneficial parts of your food are absorbed, giving you energy and nutrients for day to day tasks. The leftover parts of food which cannot be broken down, digested, or absorbed are excreted as bowel movements (stool) research has shown that your digestive system can affect mood and overall mental health due to the strong connection between the digestive system and the brain.

A healthy gut microbiome is important not only to properly digest and break down the foods you’re eating but also for nutrient absorption and toxin elimination, meaning that when your gut health is negatively impacted, serious health problems can occur.

Among those problems are bloating, stress, inflammation, skin issues like acne, poor sleep, and obesity are tied to the health state of your gut.

To learn more about the best foods for your digestive system and maintaining gut health, I recommend this article

So what’s the key to helping ensure you have a healthy gut? Focus on a diet rich in probiotics and plant-based foods that promote good bacteria. All the foods that promote a healthy gut are also waist-friendly.

Here are some superfoods that we believe can be be good for your digestive health:

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Ginger

Ginger is a plant that can reduce bloating and gastrointestinal upset and nausea. Ginger contains compounds called gingerols, which block pro-inflammatory compounds and can lessen pain.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are best eaten with their skins if you want to benefit your digestive system.

They contain a wealth of Vitamin A, a nutrient that is key for maintaining and healing the intestinal barrier, as well as supporting a healthy immune system.

Yoghurt

Yoghurt is packed with probiotics, as long as you choose a variety that contains live and active cultures (such as lactobacillus bulgaricus).

It’s important to read nutrition labels carefully as many brands add a large amount of sugar to their yogurts.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an excellent substitute for butter or oil. Unlike oil or butter, it contains antimicrobial properties and fatty acids that can improve digestion, boost immunity, boost energy, and metabolism.

Banana

Bananas are very effective in treating gastric problems as they help restore bowel function and can help treat diarrhoea.

They are rich in electrolytes and potassium which help in restoring good digestive health.

Salmon

Wild salmon contains protein for gut healing and repair, omega-3 fats to reduce inflammation, and Vitamin D which is essential for good immune function and autoimmune disease prevention.

Berries

Berries are packed with fiber and antioxidants and have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Chicken Breasts

If you suffer or struggle from irritable bowel syndrome or bowel sensitivity, then chicken breast is a ‘must’ in your diet as it is rich in lean protein and essential amino acids. Lean protein is easily digestible and not fermented by gut bacteria.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are excellent sources of fiber, as well as nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin A. Leafy green vegetables are helpful for digestion.

Apple

Like yoghurt, apples are also rich in bacteria that helps maintain good gut health. Apples are very good sources of vitamins A and C and nutrients and minerals such as folate, potassium, and phosphorus.

These all help in restoring good digestive health and ensuring the proper functioning of your intestines.

Oats

Whole oats are great fiber-rich food and resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that doesn’t break down in the small intestine, but instead, ferments in the large intestine and feeds the good gut bacteria.

Digestive Health Tips

tip digestive health tips - Foods that Promote Digestive Health

Eat a High Fiber Diet

Fiber has a wide range of health benefits, from lowering cholesterol to reducing the risk of heart disease. It can also help improve digestion by regulating bowel movements.

Stop Eating When you Feel Full

It can take up to 15 – 30 minutes for your brain to receive signals from your stomach telling it that you are full, so eat slowly and chew your food. Poor chewing habits can compromise the first stage of the digestive system.

Get Your Body Moving

Regular exercise triggers muscle contractions in the large intestine which speeds up the movement of food. Try taking short walks during the day and use the stairs instead of the elevator to stay active. Adults need at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

Do Stay Hydrated

Keeping yourself hydrated is essential to your digestive health. That’s because fiber draws water into your colon to create bulkier yet softer stools, which allows them to pass through more easily.

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.