Many conditions can be responsible for pain the abdomen, and it is likely that the doctor will have to use a combination of clinical assessment, blood work, and possible diagnostic scans to come to the final diagnosis. Let's take a look at some of the more common conditions that can cause abdominal pain.
This is the first condition that doctors look for when they are confronted by pain in the abdomen. It is extremely common in occurrence and often quite straightforward to treat as well. As the word gastritis suggests, it refers to an inflammation of the stomach lining.
It can be caused by an excess intake of alcohol, stress, vomiting, as a side effect of medication or through infection by certain bacteria or viruses.
Symptoms of gastritis include nausea, pain in the abdomen, bloating, a burning or gnawing feeling, vomiting, diarrhea, hiccups and loss of appetite. Some people though may have none of these symptoms and could still be suffering from gastritis.
The treatment for gastritis includes the use of H1 and H2 blockers (commonly called antacids). They relieve the symptoms be reducing the amount of acidic contents in the stomach.
Patients are also asked to avoid spicy food and potential allergens, and encouraged to take probiotics to help the stomach microflora return to normal.
Gallstones are found in the gallbladder, which is a small sac laying underneath the liver. The gallbladder plays an important role in digestion since it stores the bile produced by the liver. These gallstones are formed from the various constituents in bile like cholesterol and bile salts.
Gallstones can be of varying sizes and pose absolutely no problems in most cases. The large ones, though, can block the ducts responsible for transferring bile from the gallbladder to the small intestine and cause trouble.
The most common symptom is that of pain in the center or upper right side of the stomach. The pain may be mild or extremely severe and should not be treated as diagnosis of the presence of gallstones.
Doctors will usually order ultrasounds or x-rays to help determine the presence of gallstones. The treatment of this condition is dependent on the patient’s symptoms. For mild to moderate pain, pain medication along with a wait and watch approach might be preferred while for recurrent/severe pain a gall bladder removal might have to be done. This is considered a minor surgery and is conducted successfully routinely around the world.
Inflammation of the pancreas is referred to as pancreatitis. The position of the pancreas is just behind the stomach in the abdomen and it releases a number of important enzymes to aid in the process of digestion.
Pancreatitis can be of two kinds: acute or chronic.
Acute pancreatitis is associated with severe pain that may be sudden in onset and can even be life-threatening. Chronic pancreatitis may exist for several years with mild or no symptoms whatsoever and has been linked to a history of chronic heavy alcohol intake.
Pain, fever, nausea, increased heart rate and a swollen, tender abdomen are some of the symptoms that are seen. The treatment includes the use of antibiotics given orally or via I.V in a hospital set up. In advanced cases, surgery may need to be carried out to remove a part of the disease pancreatic gland.
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