What To Take For Stomach Pain

This ancient brew has been used for countless homeopathic remedies for centuries, and it is especially effective in soothing an upset stomach. Its anti-inflammatory properties help your stomach muscles relax, which can reduce cramp and spasm pains.

What’s Causing Your Abdominal Pain and How to Treat It

Stomach pain can be caused by a wide variety of issues, from gas to more serious conditions like appendicitis or Crohn’s disease. Noting the severity and area of the abdomen affected can help with a diagnosis.

Abdominal pain is pain that occurs between the chest and pelvic regions. Abdominal pain can be crampy, achy, dull, intermittent, or sharp. It’s also called a stomachache.

Localized pain is limited to one area of the abdomen. This type of pain is often caused by problems in a particular organ. The most common cause of localized pain is stomach ulcers (open sores on the stomach’s inner lining).

Cramp-like pain may be associated with diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or flatulence. In people assigned female at birth, it can be associated with menstruation, miscarriage, or reproductive complications. This pain comes and goes, and may go away on its own without treatment.

Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections that affect the stomach and intestines may also cause significant abdominal pain.

Types of abdominal pain

Not all abdominal pain is the same. For example, if you’re experiencing acute abdominal pain, you’ve most likely only been dealing with the discomfort for about a week, maybe less.

Chronic abdominal pain, on the other hand, is pain that’s constant or recurring. It lasts for a period of 3 months or longer.

Since there are a number of gastrointestinal and systemic disorders that lead to abdominal pain, doctors and healthcare professionals sometimes have a hard time understanding the root cause of the pain.

Progressive abdominal pain is pain that gets worse over time. Typically other symptoms occur as the abdominal pain progresses. Progressive abdominal pain is often a sign of something more serious. Read on to learn more about the different types of abdominal pain, including what and where the pain occurs and potential causes.

Abdominal pain may be felt anywhere between the chest and groin region of your body. The pain may be generalized, localized, or it may feel like cramps in your belly. If you have cramping or discomfort in your stomach, it may be due to gas, bloating, or constipation. Or it might be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Colicky pain in the abdomen region comes and goes. One moment, you may feel fine, but the next, you may experience sharp, sudden pain in your abdomen. Kidney stones and gallstones are often the cause of this type of pain.

Many conditions can cause abdominal pain. But the main causes are:

  • infection
  • abnormal growths
  • inflammation
  • obstruction (blockage)
  • intestinal disorders
  • inflammation
  • diseases that affect the organs in the abdomen

Infections in the throat, intestines, and blood can cause bacteria to enter your digestive tract, resulting in abdominal pain. These infections may also cause changes in digestion, like diarrhea or constipation.

Cramps associated with menstruation are also a potential source of lower abdominal pain, but these are more commonly known to cause pelvic pain.

Other common causes of abdominal pain include:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • acid reflux (when stomach contents leak backward into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms)
  • vomiting
  • stress
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Diseases that affect the digestive system can also cause chronic abdominal pain. The most common are:

  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon (a disorder that causes abdominal pain, cramping, and changes in bowel movements)
  • Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease)
  • lactose intolerance (the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and milk products)

Causes of severe abdominal pain include:

  • organ rupture or near-rupture (like a burst appendix, or appendicitis)
  • gallbladder stones (known as gallstones)
  • kidney stones
  • kidney infection

The location of the pain within the abdomen may be a clue as to its cause.

Pain that’s generalized throughout the abdomen (not in one specific area) may indicate:

  • appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • traumatic injury
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • urinary tract infection
  • the flu

Pain that’s focused in the lower abdomen may indicate:

  • appendicitis
  • intestinal obstruction
  • ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb)

In people assigned female at birth, pain in the reproductive organs of the lower abdomen can be caused by:

  • severe menstrual pain (called dysmenorrhea)
  • ovarian cysts
  • miscarriage
  • fibroids
  • endometriosis
  • pelvic inflammatory disease
  • ectopic pregnancy

Upper abdominal pain may be caused by:

  • gallstones
  • heart attack
  • hepatitis (liver inflammation)
  • pneumonia

Pain in the center of the abdomen might be from:

  • appendicitis
  • gastroenteritis
  • injury
  • uremia (buildup of waste products in your blood)

Lower left abdominal pain may be caused by:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • cancer
  • kidney infection
  • ovarian cysts
  • appendicitis

Upper left abdominal pain is sometimes caused by:

  • enlarged spleen
  • fecal impaction (hardened stool that can’t be eliminated)
  • injury
  • kidney infection
  • heart attack
  • cancer

Causes of lower right abdominal pain include:

  • appendicitis
  • hernia (when an organ protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles)
  • kidney infection
  • cancer
  • flu

Upper right abdominal pain may result from:

  • hepatitis
  • injury
  • pneumonia
  • appendicitis

Remedies for Stomach Pain

One of the most common and frequent pains people experience occurs in the stomach. The causes of stomach pain are many, given that it is one of your body’s most active and important organs. Thankfully, most stomach pains aren’t serious, and there are quick and easy remedies for most cases.

There are, however, stomach pains that should be taken seriously and require immediate action. Understanding the difference between serious and mild pains, and how to deal with them, can be critical to staying safe and healthy.

Remedies and Treatments for Stomach Pain

Stomach pains — also known as stomachaches, tummy aches, and bellyaches — can range from mildly annoying to painfully incapacitating. It can be caused by a food allergy, indigestion, or eating something that has gone bad. Or it can be something more serious like an ulcer, Crohn’s disease, or stomach cancer.

At home, there are things you can do, and things you can take, to potentially alleviate your stomach pain.

Use a Heating Pad

A simple remedy is to place a heating pad where it hurts on your stomach. The heat relaxes your outer stomach muscles and promotes movement in the digestive tract. Lying down usually works best. Keep it on your stomach for 15 minutes.

Draw a Hot Bath

Similar to a heating pad, the warm, soothing effect of a hot bath not only relaxes the stomach area, but it also relaxes the rest of your body. Once the water temperature is to your liking, soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Get Some Sleep

A recent study found that digestive disruptions can be directly tied to lack of sleep. Getting a full night’s rest improves the overall health of your body and can help ease any stomach pains you may be experiencing.

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Don’t Overeat

Overeating causes your stomach to expand and push against other internal organs, causing discomfort. It also forces your intestines to produce extra hydrochloric acid, which can squeeze up into your stomach, causing pain. Controlling the amount you eat not only helps with limiting weight gain, but it can also help the overall health and operational efficiency of your stomach.

Chamomile Tea

This ancient brew has been used for countless homeopathic remedies for centuries, and it is especially effective in soothing an upset stomach. Its anti-inflammatory properties help your stomach muscles relax, which can reduce cramp and spasm pains.

Ginger

This versatile herb can be consumed in many forms, from teas to pills to food. Ginger has been found to significantly improve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting, as well as being a soothing relaxant for the stomach.

Peppermint

Nausea is a persistent cause of stomach pain. Ingesting peppermint, either in a tea or a supplement, can help alleviate nausea and make your stomach feel better.

Soda Water

Sometimes stomach pain can be caused by indigestion or a buildup of gas that sits in your stomach. Drinking soda water can encourage you to burp, releasing the stuck gas.

It is not recommended, however, to take pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen like Advil or Motrin because these can cause stomach irritation that may worsen abdominal pain.

When to See a Doctor

Persistent stomach pain could be a sign that there is something more seriously wrong, and you should consider seeking medical attention. Continual vomiting, for example, could lead to other ailments like dehydration.

If you experience severe symptoms like consistent intense cramps, diarrhea, or vomiting blood, you should call your doctor. You should also consult the doctor if you consistently have issues with your stomach after eating certain foods or engaging in specific activities.

Remedies for Children

For one reason or another, children are almost guaranteed to experience some form of stomach pain at some point in their lives. It is important to ask your child specifically what they are feeling so you can get an idea of how to help them.

Some effective remedies include teas like peppermint tea, which has been proven to be very effective in helping children cope and recover from stomach pain.

As with adults, if your child’s symptoms persist or get worse, seek medical help.

Emergency Care

Almost 10% of all visits to the emergency room are stomach-related. You should call your doctor immediately if the pains in your stomach are so severe that you can’t move, or you can’t sit still or find a comfortable position that doesn’t cause additional pain.

Seek immediate medical help if the pain is accompanied by other symptoms like:

  • Bloody stools
  • Fever
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Skin that appears yellow
  • Severe tenderness when you touch your abdomen
  • Swelling of the abdomen

Show Sources

BMC Gastroenterology: “Association between digestive symptoms and sleep disturbance: a cross-sectional community-based study.”

British Journal of Anaesthesia: “Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.”

Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America: “Evidence-Based Medicine Approach to Abdominal Pain.”

Journal of Holistic Nursing: “Examination of the Effectiveness of Peppermint Aromatherapy on Nausea in Women Post C-Section.”

Mayo Clinic: “Abdominal pain.”

Molecular Medicine Reports: “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future (Review).”

Nutrition Journal: “A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effect and Safety of Ginger in the Treatment of Pregnancy-Associated Nausea and Vomiting.”

Pediatrics: “Herbal Medicines for Gastrointestinal Disorders in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review.”

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: “What happens when you overeat?”

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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