Abdominal pain can vary between feeling constant pain or it can fluctuate from time to time. This depends if the patient has acute or chronic abdominal pain. Most people are oblivious to any of the processes the organs go through in the abdomen. As well as, any discomfort from activities such as eating, digestion through the intestines, or bowel movements. Nerves are continuously probing occurrences in the body. When those messages are transmitted to the brain and come into consciousness as uncomfortable sensations; we may sense pain or discomfort. Finding the appropriate abdominal pain treatment can take time due to the many causes of abdominal pain.
Acute Abdominal Pain
Various conditions can cause abdominal pain to develop over hours into several days. Causes can range from minor conditions that resolve without any treatment to serious medical emergencies.
Chronic Abdominal Pain
Discovering the cause of chronic abdominal pain is often very difficult. Symptoms may range from mild to severe, fluctuating but not worsening over time. Here are some conditions that may cause a patient’s chronic abdominal pain.
- Angina(reduced blood flow to the heart)
- Celiac disease
- Gastritis(inflammation of the stomach lining)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)(gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Hiatal hernia
- Inguinal hernia
- Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
- Mittelschmerz(pain associated with ovulation)
- Nonulcer stomach pain
- Ovarian cysts
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)— infection of the female reproductive organs
- Peptic ulcer
- Sickle cell anemia
- Strained or pulled abdominal muscle
- Ulcerative colitis
Progressive Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain that continues to worsen with time, often accompanied by the development of other symptoms, is usually serious. Causes of progressive pain are listed below.
- Crohn’s disease
- Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
- Gallbladder cancer
- Hepatitis (liver inflammation)
- Kidney cancer
- Lead poisoning
- Liver cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Pancreatic cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Tubo-ovarian abscess (pus-filled pocket involving a fallopian tube and an ovary)
- Uremia (buildup of waste products in your blood)
Abdominal Pain Treatments
Abdominal pain treatment depends on how the pain has been triggered. Treatments can range from medications for inflammation, GERD, or ulcers, to antibiotics for infections. Or treatments can be changes in personal behavior for abdominal pain caused by certain foods or beverages. In some cases, such as appendicitis and hernia, may need more advanced abdominal pain treatments. These would include diagnostic tests, such as analyses of blood, urine, and stool samples, CT scans, and endoscopy, may be required to rule out or confirm specific diagnosis, and surgery may be needed.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Prescription medications for inflammation, GERD, ulcers, or general pain
- Low-dose antidepressants
- Changes in behavior, including elimination of certain foods or beverages that may be contributing to abdominal pain
- Surgery to remove intestinal blockages, hernia, or infected organs.
When should you confront a doctor about your abdominal pain?
Call 911 or emergency medical assistance
Seek help if your abdominal pain is severe and is associated with trauma (accident/injury) or pressure/pain in your chest.
Don’t hesitate and seek immediate medical attention!
Have someone drive you to urgent care or the emergency room if you have:
- Severe pain
- Bloody stools
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Skin that appears yellow
- Severe tenderness when you touch your abdomen
- Swelling of the abdomen
Schedule a doctor’s visit
If your abdominal pain lasts more than a few days, schedule an appointment. In the meantime, find ways to ease your pain. Avoid taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen because these can irritate the stomach that may worsen abdominal pain. Here at Alabama Pain Physicians, providers will discover an abdominal pain treatment plan that will ensure a better quality of life for the patient. Although finding the right abdominal pain treatment will take time, it will be worth the relief.
You can learn more about abdominal pain by visiting the Mayo Clinic article here.