What are the potential causes of stomach pain?
Stomach pain can have a wide range of causes, including:
- Gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach lining
- Peptic Ulcer Disease: Sores or ulcers in the stomach or duodenum
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Acid reflux from the stomach to the esophagus
- Gallstones: Hard deposits formed in the gallbladder or bile duct
- Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas
- Appendicitis: Inflammation of the appendix
- Intestinal obstruction: Blockage in the intestines
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Inflammation of the digestive tract, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): A chronic condition that affects the large intestine
- Gastrointestinal infections: Caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, such as gastroenteritis
- Celiac disease: An autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested
- Diverticulitis: Inflammation or infection of the small pouches in the intestinal wall
- Food intolerances or allergies: Such as lactose intolerance or a reaction to certain foods or food additives
- Hernia: Bulging of an organ or tissue through a weak spot or hole in the abdominal muscles
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Infection of the female reproductive organs, which can cause pain in the lower abdomen
- Kidney stones: Hard deposits formed in the kidneys that can cause pain in the lower abdomen and back
- Endometriosis: A condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of it, causing pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis.
- Ovarian cysts: Fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries that can cause pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis.
- Stress and anxiety: Emotional stress can cause abdominal discomfort or pain.
- Medications: Some medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can cause stomach pain or ulcers.
It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other causes of stomach pain that are not listed here. If you are experiencing persistent or severe stomach pain, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.
What are the characteristics of stomach pain?
The characteristics of stomach pain can vary depending on the underlying cause. However, some common characteristics of stomach pain include:
- Location: Stomach pain can be felt in different areas of the abdomen, depending on the underlying cause. It may be localized to a specific area or spread throughout the abdomen.
- Type of pain: Stomach pain can be dull, sharp, crampy, burning, or throbbing. The type of pain may also vary depending on the underlying cause.
- Severity: The severity of stomach pain can range from mild to severe, and it may come and go or be constant.
- Timing: Stomach pain may occur immediately after eating or drinking, or it may be more prominent several hours after a meal. It may also be worse at night or in the early morning.
- Associated symptoms: Depending on the underlying cause, stomach pain may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, fever, or weight loss.
- Triggers: Stomach pain may be triggered by certain foods, stress, or physical activity, depending on the underlying cause.
- Duration: The duration of stomach pain can vary depending on the underlying cause. It may last for a few minutes, hours, days, or even weeks.
How do patients frequently describe stomach pain?
Patients may describe stomach pain in various ways, depending on the underlying cause of the pain. Some common descriptions of stomach pain include:
- Cramping: Stomach pain may be described as a cramping sensation, similar to menstrual cramps.
- Burning: Stomach pain may be described as a burning or gnawing sensation, particularly if it is caused by acid reflux or gastritis.
- Sharp: Stomach pain may be described as a sharp or stabbing sensation, particularly if it is caused by a perforated ulcer or intestinal blockage.
- Dull: Stomach pain may be described as a dull, achy sensation, particularly if it is caused by constipation or inflammation of the digestive tract.
- Pressure: Stomach pain may be described as a pressure or fullness sensation, particularly if it is caused by bloating or gas.
- Localized: Stomach pain may be described as a localized sensation, particularly if it is caused by an ulcer, tumor, or other structural abnormality.
It is important to note that the location, severity, and timing of stomach pain can also provide important clues about the underlying cause of the pain.
What other symptoms can coexist with stomach pain?
Stomach pain can be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms, depending on the underlying cause. Some common symptoms that may coexist with stomach pain include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Bloating or gas
- Loss of appetite or feeling full after eating a small amount
- Fever or chills
- Fatigue or weakness
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Indigestion or upset stomach
- Abdominal cramping or spasms
- Blood in the stool or vomit
- Jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Difficulty swallowing or painful swallowing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Change in bowel habits, such as frequency or consistency of stools
- Skin rash or other allergic reactions
- Joint pain or inflammation
- Chest pain or pressure
When should I seek help from a doctor if I feel stomach pain?
You should seek medical attention if you experience stomach pain that is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms. Some signs that you should seek help from a doctor for stomach pain include:
- Severe pain that does not improve with over-the-counter pain medication
- Pain that is getting worse over time
- Stomach pain that is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms of dehydration
- Blood in the stool or vomit
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain along with stomach pain
- High fever, especially if accompanied by chills or sweating
- Persistent bloating or constipation
- Unexplained weight loss
- Stomach pain that interferes with daily activities or quality of life
- History of stomach ulcers or other digestive problems
What over-the-counter medications can I use for stomach pain?
There are several over-the-counter medications that can help relieve stomach pain, depending on the underlying cause. Some common over-the-counter medications for stomach pain include:
- Antacids: Antacids can help neutralize stomach acid and relieve heartburn and indigestion.
- Acid reducers: Acid reducers like H2-receptor antagonists can help reduce the production of stomach acid and relieve heartburn and acid reflux.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): PPIs can help reduce the production of stomach acid and relieve acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion.
- Simethicone: Simethicone can help relieve bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort.
- Laxatives: Laxatives can help relieve constipation and associated stomach pain.
- Chios mastic gum: Mastiha var. Chia caps. has been approved by the EMA as a traditional medication for mild dyspeptic symptoms.
It is important to use these medications only as directed and to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking them, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications. Additionally, if your stomach pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, you should seek medical attention promptly.
What diet should I follow if I feel stomach pain?
The diet you should follow if you have stomach pain depends on the underlying cause of your pain. However, there are some general dietary guidelines that can help relieve stomach pain:
- Eat small, frequent meals: Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce the strain on your digestive system and prevent stomach pain.
- Avoid trigger foods: Certain foods can trigger stomach pain, such as spicy or fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes. Avoiding these foods can help relieve stomach pain.
- Choose easy-to-digest foods: Foods that are easy to digest can help reduce the workload on your digestive system and relieve stomach pain. Some examples include bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (the BRAT diet).
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, can help prevent dehydration and ease stomach pain. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as they can make stomach pain worse.
- Avoid overeating: Overeating can put strain on your digestive system and cause stomach pain. Eat until you feel satisfied, not full.
- Chew your food thoroughly: Chewing your food thoroughly can help reduce the workload on your digestive system and prevent stomach pain.
It is important to note that if your stomach pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, you should seek medical attention promptly. Your doctor can help determine the underlying cause of your stomach pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
How can I contact gastroenterologist Dr. Zavos for an appointment?
Dr. Chris Zavos is a board-certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist, located in Thessaloniki Greece, and specifically in Kalamaria suburb, about 7 kilometres (4 miles) southeast of downtown Thessaloniki. His private office is at: Fanariou 8 street (near Aigaiou and Adrianoupoleos avenues), Kalamaria (Thessaloniki), Greece.
Thessaloniki International Airport is only 10 km away from his private office in Kalamaria and can be reached by taxi within 13 minutes from the airport.
Dr. Chris Zavos performs endoscopies at Bioclinic private hospital in downtown Thessaloniki (Mitropoleos 86 street).
You can contact Dr. Zavos at phone numbers: (+30)-6976596988 and (+30)-2311283833, or you can email him at email@example.com. Dr. Zavos responds to Greek and English languages.