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Abdominal pains, discomfort, gas, bloating, distention and diarrhea may be indicative of many conditions, some of which may prove to be fatal if not treated promptly. Symptoms such as these could be caused by certain diseases, infections, trauma, and even abdominal obstructions. Some of the conditions that should be considered if such symptoms prevail are as follows:

Hernia

If the symptoms mentioned above are accompanied by testicular pain, the probability of a hernia must be considered.

A hernia is a condition in which an organ or fatty tissue protrudes through a weakened portion of the surrounding connective tissue or muscle.

Abdominal hernias are the most common. There are different types of hernia, categorized according to where they occur; incisional (resulting from an incision), inguinal (in the inner groin), femoral (in the outer groin), hiatal (in the upper stomach) and umbilical (of the belly button).

The most obvious symptom associated with a hernia is a bulge or prominent protrusion in the affected area. Other symptoms include weakness or pressure in the abdomen, gurgling, acid reflux, gas, bloating, and colicky abdominal pain. Some patients may also experience chest pain.

Diagnosis involves a physical examination to begin with. The doctor will feel the bulge and see whether it changes in size on standing or straining. A barium X-ray or endoscopy may be performed for further confirming the diagnosis and precisely locating the hernia.

Some other that may present with the same symptoms include:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a chronic disease of the intestines.

There is still no definitive cause for IBS, though genetic and immune-related causes have been suggested as underlying factors. Stress and anxiety, certain types of foods and hormonal changes have also been seen to cause symptoms common in IBS.

Symptoms include alternating episodes of diarrhea and constipation, abdominal distention and discomfort along with a feeling of fullness and bloating even after emptying your bowels.

IBS is difficult to diagnose by simply looking at your symptoms, since the symptoms are vague and may appear with other diseases as well. A complete medical history (past symptoms and similar ailments) and physical examination will help narrow down the diagnosis. Blood tests and stool analysis may also be performed to rule out any other conditions that have symptoms similar to IBS. Normal blood tests and a normal stool analysis confirm the diagnosis.

Parasitic Infection

Parasites are microbes may reside in the digestive tract. In some cases, they may not harm their host. However, in certain cases they may release toxins that affect the host adversely, causing an infection. Parasitic infections may spread through contaminated food, water, feces, bodily fluids, and even via sexual intercourse.

The symptoms of such infections vary according to the type of parasite in question. Generally, these infections cause symptoms related to the gastrointestinal tract. They may include diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal bloating, and distention. Other symptoms such as itching and redness of the genital areas (in case of a sexually transmitted infection) and swollen lymph nodes may also be present.

A number of diagnostic methods may be used to confirm a parasitic infection. Fecal cultures and blood tests are performed to check for parasitic eggs and toxins. An endoscopy or colonoscopy may be performed to get a better view inside the intestines. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI and CAT may also be performed for in-depth investigations.

Impaired Liver Function

A compromised or injured liver might cause unusual abdominal symptoms as well. Different tests may be performed to confirm this theory. Liver blood tests that check for levels of certain liver enzymes may be performed. A full liver scan or ultrasound may also be done to check how well the liver is functioning.

It should be kept in mind that these symptoms can also be the result of disturbed eating routine i.e. having meals just before bedtime, sedentary lifestyle, no exercise, etc. You should change your eating habits and routine before seeing your doctor.

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