Abdominal pain is pain felt anywhere from below your ribs to your pelvis, and it is also known as tummy pain or stomach pain. Abdominal pain usually goes away on itself and most people only need relief from their symptoms.
The abdomen houses many organs (stomach, liver, pancreas, small and large bowel, and reproductive organs), and there are also major blood vessels in the abdomen.
Most cases of abdominal pain aren’t worrying, but, sometimes, though, it can be a sign of a serious illness.
Common Causes of Abdominal Pain
Whether you’ve got a mild stomachache, sharp pain, or cramps, abdominal pain can have many causes, and such causes include:
- a stomach virus, or,
- menstrual cramps, if you’re a woman
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Food poisoning
- Food allergies
- A hernia
- Kidney stones
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- You may also experience abdominal pain if you’re lactose intolerant or have ulcers or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Go straight to your doctor if you have any of the following:
- severe pain lasting for several hours
- pain and vomiting or shortness of breath
- pain and vomiting blood
- pain that spreads to your chest, neck or shoulder
- fever and sweats
- pain and/or vaginal bleeding if you are pregnant
- pain in your scrotum if you are a male
- unable to pass urine
- unable to move your bowels or pass gas
- blood in your bowel motions or urine
- become pale and clammy
- Any other similar concerns.
Symptoms Of Abdominal Pain In Adults
The abdominal pain can vary greatly, and when abdominal pain occurs, it can:
- be sharp,
- be brief,
- come and go in waves,
- it can be constant
- make you throw up (vomit)
- make you want to stay still
- make you so restless that you pace around trying to find ‘just the right position
- vary from a minor problem to one needing urgent surgery
- or fit many other descriptions
Treatment For Abdominal Pain In Adults
Treatment depends on what is causing the pain, and may include:
- Pain relief –to ease the pain.
- Fluids –to correct fluid loss and rest your bowel.
- Medicines – to stop you from vomiting.
- Fasting – to determine the cause of your pain
Natural Remedies For Abdominal Pain In Adults
The most abdominal pain goes away without exceptional treatment, but there are some things you can do to help ease the pain.
- Heating pad: You might find a heating pad or hot water bottle soothing when you’re feeling sick. The warmth on your stomach will distract you from any cramping or pain, and the heat can help to relax your muscles and reduce your nausea.
- Soak in a warm bath, and take care not to scald yourself.
- Drink plenty of clear fluids such as water, and reduce your intake of coffee, tea, and alcohol as these can make the pain worse.
- Start with clear liquids, then progress to bland foods such as crackers, rice, bananas or toast. You may be advised to avoid certain foods by your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest, and try over-the-counter antacids, to help reduce some types of pain.
- Take mild painkillers such as paracetamol, and ensure right dose. Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, as these drugs can make some types of abdominal pain worse.
- Ginger: Studies have shown that ginger can be a very effective treatment for some kinds of stomach upset, as it is a natural anti-inflammatory. Ginger chews and supplements are easy to take.
Abdominal pain is pain felt anywhere from below your ribs to your pelvis, and usually goes away without surgery. Most people only need relief from their symptoms. However, if pain persists or if you have any other concerns, see your doctor immediately.
If your abdominal pain is severe or keeps coming back, talk to your doctor. If your belly hurts because you had a recent injury there or if you have any chest pain, call 911 right away.
Your doctor may recommend you get tests to help find the cause of your pain. Such tests may include stool or urine tests, blood tests, barium swallows or enemas, an endoscopy, X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan.