Everyone has experienced abdominal pain at one time or another. Organs that have to do with your digestion often cause problems. For example, your intestines or your stomach. It usually goes away on its own, but sometimes more research is needed to determine the cause of abdominal pain.
If you eat products that cause a lot of gas, such as beans, onions, cabbage and spicy dishes, you can experience flatulence, cramps and rumbling in your stomach. Stress also makes your gut go crazy. Stress hormones affect the production of stomach acid and intestinal peristalsis, causing your intestines to work too quickly. If your stool passes through the large intestine too quickly, you get diarrhea.
Due to incorrect nutrition, too little exercise, medicines, and stress, the intestinal contents sometimes pass through your intestine too slowly, making the stool hard. Such a blockage manifests itself in abdominal pain and bloating. Eating a lot of fiber, drinking water and exercising can help prevent constipation.
If you are allergic to certain foods, you will suffer from skin, breathing or stomach complaints if you eat them anyway. Your immune system mistakes certain proteins in the food in question for invaders and therefore makes antibodies. These antibodies in turn cause the production of other substances, such as histamine, that cause the allergic symptoms.
If you experience bloating, flatulence or diarrhea after consuming dairy products, you may have lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar found in milk. Not everyone can digest it well, resulting in abdominal pain.
In the lower right corner of your abdomen is the cecum, a small, finger-shaped tissue pouch. If this appendage becomes inflamed, you often get a sudden, severe pain around the navel that later spreads to the lower right. Touching or letting go of the abdomen is painful and laughing and coughing also hurt. With appendicitis you can also suffer from fever and nausea. An inflamed appendix must be surgically removed.
Gastrointestinal infection is also popularly referred to as stomach flu. A bacteria, virus or parasite attacks the intestinal wall, causing diarrhea and abdominal cramps. If the infection is caused by eating spoiled food, we speak of food poisoning. Often you are also nauseous and you have to vomit. Drink enough small amounts so that you don’t become dehydrated. If you get hungry again, you can eat normally. The symptoms disappear on their own.
Chronic intestinal inflammation
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis both cause abdominal pain that is often accompanied by diarrhea and blood and mucus in the stool. In both conditions you have inflammation in the digestive tract. They are also called Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). In Crohn’s disease, inflammation occurs throughout the gastrointestinal tract: from mouth to anus. In ulcerative colitis, only the lining of the colon or rectum becomes inflamed.
The course differs greatly per patient, some people have occasional complaints, others have severe attacks. If you suffer from chronic intestinal inflammation, you run a slightly higher risk of developing colon cancer . Colon cancer also causes abdominal pain.
An ulcer is a type of wound in the protective layer of the stomach or duodenum, which causes you to feel severe pain in the top of your abdomen. Usually a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, is the cause of an ulcer , but you can also get one if you take certain pain relievers, such as NSAIDs and aspirin. It used to be thought that stress gives you an ulcer, but that is not the case. A stomach ulcer is treated with antacids and possibly antibiotics if the Helicobacter pylori is present in your stomach.
Irritable bowel syndrome
If you have abdominal complaints, but nothing abnormal is discovered, your doctor can diagnose irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is common, about twice as common in women as in men. It is not medically serious, but it is very difficult. With IBS you have diarrhea or constipation or it varies. Stress worsens the symptoms.
The liver produces bile, a fluid you need to burn fats. It enters the small intestine via the common bile duct and bile duct. It consists of water, cholesterol, fats, bile salts and bilirubin. If the bile becomes too thick or the mixture becomes out of balance, for example because your cholesterol is too high, hard crystals form: gallstones . Larger specimens can become trapped in the passageway between the gallbladder and small intestine. Gallstones give a severe pain in the upper abdomen, where you can not sit still.
Not only your digestive system can cause abdominal pain, but also the liver, bladder, kidneys and in women the uterus and fallopian tubes. Inflammation can occur in various organs, such as liver inflammation or fallopian tube inflammation. In addition, your abdominal pain can be a sign of kidney stones, endometriosis or an (ectopic) pregnancy.
To the doctor
Abdominal pain usually goes away on its own, but if that does not happen, it is wise to contact your doctor. Do the same if the stomach pain gets worse, if the pain worsens when you move, or if you can’t sit still because of the pain. If the abdominal pain is accompanied by fever, weight loss, blood and mucus in the stool , blood in the urine or black stools, go to the doctor.
Sources: Stomach Liver Bowel Foundation, WebMD