If your stomach is aching, it could mean a minor ailment or that you are in mortal danger. Problems with many of your organs, as well as your digestive system, can manifest as stomach pain. There are normally further symptoms that give clues to what's really wrong with you. Let's examine what these are and if it is time to see a doctor.
Do you have a sharp pain in your lower right abdomen? If so, it may be cause for real alarm. Appendicitis strikes when the appendix becomes inflamed due to blockage. It needs to be promptly removed by surgery before it ruptures.
Appendicitis affects around 5% of people, with it most commonly occurring in people between the ages of 10 and 30. Other than abdominal pain, you should also look out for abdominal swelling, cramps, painful urination, and a fever. These are all key indicators of appendicitis. If you so much as suspect that you have this condition, see a doctor immediately. Do not hesitate as doing so could prove fatal.
A Case Of Food Poisoning
A stomach ache, combined with nausea or diarrhea, can often mean food poisoning. This is caused by bacteria in the digestive tract, usually acquired from food that you have recently eaten. Generally, the effects will only last 24 hours before you are right again. During this time eat small meals and drink lots of water.
Not all cases are mild inconveniences. Severe food poisoning can cause dehydration and even death. If you have not regained control of your body functions after 24 hours, or simply cannot keep any fluids down, it's time to make a trip to the hospital.
Blood In Your Stool
Do you have a stomach ache and are also seeing blood, from your rectum, when you go to the bathroom? Most likely your digestive tract is bleeding in some area. In many instances, the bleeding will stop after a short time, however, if it continues it can signal a major health problem. If you're only seeing a few drops of blood, then don't worry, you should be fine, however, if large amounts are being released with each bowel movement, then it is time to see a doctor.
Stomach pain around the belly button, combined with a dull shoulder pain, may mean you have gallstones. Generally, the pain only lasts a few hours before disappearing and returning at another time. You may find that eating certain foods, especially fatty ones, can bring on symptoms.
Gallstones are small objects that form in the gallbladder, usually made from cholesterol. Generally, they cause no pain, in fact, about 80% of people with gallstones experience no symptoms. It's only when they start to block the movement of bile from the gallbladder that pain starts.
These are sores found in the lining of your stomach, which often cause stomach pain, bloating and loss of appetite. They are usually caused by a bacterial infection or the overuse of painkillers. If you have one you will most likely experience pain between meals, as food digests in your stomach, irritating the ulcer. If you take antacids, and they cause the pain to subside, then this is further evidence that you have an ulcer.
Many ulcers heal by themselves, however, others can get worse over time and even cause bleeding and form holes in your stomach. Consult a doctor as they will be able to determine the severity of the problem and the next steps to take.
Haven't had a proper bowel movement in at least a few days? You may be constipated. The result is often sharp stomach pains. The best way to relieve this is to eat food high in fiber. Think fruits and oatmeal. Also, drink a large amount of water. If these don't relieve the problem within 24 hours, then you may need laxatives. It's best to see a doctor so they can recommend the right one for you. Some laxatives can have little effect and even make the consumption worst.
As you can see, a simple stomach ache can be a sign of something far more dangerous. Don't be afraid to seek medical attention from a fort pierce GI specialist straight away if you think something is seriously amiss. It's your body and your life after all.
About the Author: Dr. Vikram Tarugu is a board-certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist with vast experience in fort pierce GI endoscopic procedures. He has authored various articles and publications relating to gastrointestinal disorders and addiction related issues.