Abdominal pain is extremely common and everyone at one point of their lives will experience this discomfort. While most causes are trivial and don’t seek medical attention, abdominal pain can also indicate a serious illness, too. Therefore, knowing how to recognize the signs and when to visit a doctor is of utmost importance.
Whether it`s stomach cramps, sharp pain, or stomach ache, the abdominal pain may stem from different causes. Some of them include:
- Stomach virus
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Kidney stones
- Menstrual cramps
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Food poisoning
- Food allergies
- Crohn’s disease
- Urinary tract infection
What Symptoms of Abdominal Pain Are Cause for Concern?
You need to contact your health care provider if your pain is severe or accompanied with any of the symptoms below:
- Inability to pass stool
- Painful or unusually frequent urination
- The abdomen is tender to the touch
- The pain is the result of an injury to the abdomen
When you start feeling abdominal pain and cramps, try to find the potential root cause. Sometimes, something as simple as an upset stomach could be the trigger, which is manifested by inflammation of the stomach lining and the intestine and can be a result of eating or drinking in excess.
As already mentioned above, a virus or allergy reaction to certain foods may also be the cause of the simple stomach ache. Excessive alcohol intake as well as excessive consumption of fatty foods are also likely to irritate the stomach.
When it comes to pain in the lower abdomen, or the pelvis, the pain usually occurs during periods in women. However, a bowel problem or a problem with the reproductive system – the uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovaries, could also be the cause.
Signs suggesting that the pain may have something to do with the bowel include:
- Pain associated with pooing
- Loss of blood when you poo
- A change in the bowel pattern
As for pain caused by a problem with the reproductive system, the most common conditions which are known to cause abdominal pain include fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and problems associated with the early stage or pregnancy like ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.
To determine the cause, you doctor will perform a physical exam, discuss the symptoms you are experiencing, and ask you questions like the following:
- What type of pain are you experiencing? Is the pain throughout your abdomen or is it confined to a particular area?
- Where in your abdomen does the pain seem to be located?
- What type of pain are you experiencing? Is it stabbing and severe? Is it a dull ache?
- How long have you had this pain?
- Does the pain also radiate into your lower back, shoulder, groin, or buttocks?
- Are you currently taking any medications or herbal supplements?
- Are you pregnant?
But, there is a thing called “belly map” which also helps determine the potential cause and helps you know whether it`s time to visit a doctor or try to solve the issue on your own. Take look at it at the top of this post.