Stomach Cramps: In general, the stomach’s primary function is not the absorption of nutrients from digested food; this task is usually performed by the intestine. Whether you’ve got a mild ache, sharp pain, or cramps, abdominal pain or even stomach cramps, it can have many causes. For instance, you might have indigestion, constipation, a stomach virus, or, if you’re a woman, menstrual cramps.
In most animals, the main job of the stomach is to break down large food molecules into smaller ones, so that they can be absorbed into the blood more easily. Latin names for the stomach include Ventriculus and Gaster; many medical terms related to the stomach start in “gastro-” or “gastric”.
And the main reason you might be ignoring the stomach ache is due to:
One of the most common causes of gallbladder pain is gallstones (also called gallstone disease, or cholelithiasis). Gallstones occur when cholesterol and other substances found in bile form stones. When the stone passes from the gallbladder into the small intestine or become stuck in the Biliary duct it can cause pain.
What does gallstone pain feel like?
Symptoms of a gallbladder attack include pain in the upper right side or middle of the abdomen. The pain may be dull, sharp, or cramping. Symptoms that can accompany acute cholecystitis are fever, nausea, vomiting, clay-colored stools, and jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes and the skin).
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It happens when digestive enzymes start digesting the pancreas itself. Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic. Either form is serious and can lead to complications. Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly and usually goes away in a few days with treatment.
What are the warning signs of pancreatitis?
Acute pancreatitis signs and symptoms include:
- Upper abdominal pain.
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back.
- Abdominal pain that feels worse after eating.
- Rapid pulse.
- Tenderness when touching the abdomen.
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Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. Many people, including pregnant women, suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion caused by GERD.
In very serious cases, untreated GERD (and subsequent Barrett’s esophagus) can lead to cancer of the esophagus. … The main risk factors are smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet, and chronic reflux disease. Symptoms include weight loss, trouble swallowing, or gastrointestinal bleeding, says Dr. Sheth.
Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder caused by the inability to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in dairy products. It can cause various symptoms, including bloating, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. People with lactose intolerance don’t make enough of the enzyme lactose, which is needed to digest lactose.
This type of food intolerance causes mild to severe abdominal pain depending where you place on the tolerance scale, says Patricia L. Raymond, an assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, burping, gas, and indigestion and vary based on your level of sensitivity.
The solution? Skip the dairy products, like milk and cheese, and be wary of packaged foods. Raymond says packaged foods often contain hidden milk products or whey, a milk-based byproduct found in many protein powder mixes and other nutritional foods. If you’re lactose intolerant you can also drink Lactaid milk or take Lactaid pills to prevent stomach aches and pains.
Medication Side Effects:
Oral bisphosphonates, a popular class of drugs that helps preserve bone density and prevent, can cause swelling—and therefore pain—in the lower esophagus, says Dr. Kaul. Also look out for antibiotics, specifically those containing azithromycin, and take them after a meal to give the stomach a proper lining for the drug.
Narcotic and blood pressure medications relax the stomach’s walls and allow food to sit and ferment in your stomach, contributing to a queasy feeling.
Can blood pressure medication cause stomach problems?
Most people who take high blood pressure medicines do not get any side effects. Like all medicines, high blood pressure medicines can sometimes cause side effects. Some people have common problems like headaches, dizziness or an upset stomach
Drinking enough water also helps produce more urine, which helps to flush out infection-causing bacteria. Beware of pills and procedures. Drinking extra water with certain medications or before and after procedures with contrast dye may help prevent kidney damage.
Diverticulitis is inflammation or infection of small pouches called diverticula that develop along the walls of the intestines. The formation of the pouches themselves is a relatively benign condition known as diverticulosis.
Symptoms can include cramping in the lower abdomen, which may respond to antibiotics. A high-fiber diet can help. In more severe cases, it can cause abscesses, bleeding, and even perforations, resulting in severe pain, or even the need for surgery or a hospitalization.
Gluten intolerance is a fairly common problem. It is characterized by adverse reactions to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.
“The gluten causes damage in the small intestine,” explains Dr. Alaradi. “The small intestine doesn’t work normally; it doesn’t absorb nutrients.” Experts and patients are becoming more aware of gluten intolerance and celiac disease, which causes gas, bloating, mild-to-severe pain, and fatigue.
The small intestine’s inability to absorb nutrients may lead to chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and even malnutrition.
Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often-painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis.
Pain, irregular bleeding, and infertility can result. Endometriosis is difficult to diagnose, says Dr. Kaul, and often requires a referral to a gynecologist and a pelvic ultrasound.
If the endometriosis is confined to one small area, surgery may help. Otherwise it is treated with pain medication and hormone therapy, as the menstrual cycle tends to drive painful symptoms.
Hashimoto disease, the most common cause of hypothyroidism, may be associated with an esophageal motility disorder presenting as dysphagia or heartburn. Dyspepsia, nausea, or vomiting may be due to delayed gastric emptying.
If the thyroid produces too much hormone (), it speeds up the digestive tract, resulting in diarrhea and abdominal cramps, he says. On the other hand, an underactive thyroid () slows down the digestive tract, potentially leading to pain from constipation and gas.
Intestinal parasites produce a variety of symptoms in those affected, most of which manifest themselves in gastrointestinal complications and general weakness. Gastrointestinal conditions include inflammation of the small and/or large intestine, diarrhea/dysentery, abdominal pains, and nausea/vomiting.
There are many types, but the most common in the U.S. are Giardia and Cryptosporidium, which you can get by swimming in or drinking contaminated water. (Or in some outbreaks, unpasteurized cider). The tiny protozoa cause cramps, diarrhea, and nausea about 2 to 10 days after exposure (for Crypto) or 1 to 3 weeks later (for Giardia). Other types of parasites can be picked up in undercooked or contaminated food. Dr. Raymond says sushi, when obtained from a less than reputable source, could contain parasites.
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch that projects from your colon on the lower right side of your abdomen. Appendicitis causes pain in your lower right abdomen. However, in most people, pain begins around the navel and then moves.
Appendicitis is more common in children and young adults (though it can happen to older adults) and usually starts with pain in the mid-abdomen, progressing into the lower right part of the abdomen. “A telltale sign is pain when you bend your leg because it’s pulling a muscle near your appendix as you make that motion,” says Dr. Raymond. If you think you could have the condition, learn more about.
If the appendix isn’t removed, it can burst, leading to long-term hospitalization and potentially life-threatening peritonitis. Head to the emergency room right away if you think appendicitis is causing your tummy pain. Raymond says it’s extremely normal to have your appendix removed and is a routine procedure.
Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is stomach pain. Peptic ulcers include Gastric ulcers that occur on the inside of the stomach.
How are ulcers caused?
Stomach ulcers are almost always caused by one of the following: an infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
What are the best foods to eat when you have an ulcer?
Cooking for the Ulcer Patient: Foods to Choose
- Lean meats, fish, beans, eggs, or tofu as good protein sources.
- High-fiber foods, especially fruits and vegetables, as long as they don’t irritate the stomach.
- Caffeine-free drinks.
- Nuts and nut butters.
- Heart-healthy oils, such as olive or canola oils, for cooking.
Sugarless GUM :
Why Sugar-Free Gum Can Cause Stomach Pain
The first is that you naturally swallow a lot of air while chewing gum. … First, because they are slowly and incompletely absorbed in the body, they contain fewer calories and won’t cause as much of a blood sugar rise and subsequent insulin response as regular sugar.
A 46-year-old man had similar symptoms after chewing about 20 sticks of sugarless gum and eating sorbitol-containing sweets daily. “Sorbitol goes into your GI tract and since your body can’t absorb it, it gets to the bacteria in your colon, which eat it and produce gas and fluids that contribute to diarrhea,” explains Dr. Raymond.
To fix the problem, cut back on the amount of sugarless gum you chew.
YOUR STOMACH IS ONE OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM’S FIRST LINES OF DEFENSE.