Abdominal pain is one of the most commonly reported symptoms, among people of all ages and both genders. It can have various localizations, duration, and quality. Although no diagnosis can be made with absolute certainty based only on a description of the pain, it can sometimes indicate certain disorders. Here are some of the most common diseases that can lead to abdominal pain.
Indigestion (dyspepsia) is a common complaint that can cause upper abdominal pain or cramping of a burning character, during or after a meal. More often that not, it's caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits such as excessive alcohol consumption, stress eating, eating too fast, smoking, or drinking too much coffee.
A balanced diet is often enough to relieve symptoms. Medications which lower secretions of gastric acid, such as ranitidine, can be used in more severe and chronic cases. Persons with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often have indigestion joined with heartburn.
Gastritis And Peptic Ulcers
Gastritis is an inflammatory process occurring in the mucosa of the stomach. It can be acute and chronic and it is caused by various factors, such as alcohol abuse, bacterial infection (Helicobacter pylori), eating spicy food, ingestion of corrosive chemicals, and stress. The pain is often located in the middle and upper abdomen and it has a dull and burning quality. For bacterial infections, antibiotic treatment is prescribed. H+ channel blockers (omeprazole) and H2 antihistamines (ranitidine) are given to eliminate gastric acid and manage symptoms.
Eating infected foods can cause viral, bacterial, and fungal infection of the intestines. Salmonella causes typhus, which is a serious infectious disease of the intestines that causes abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and an increased body temperature. The symptoms can last for several weeks, and the condition requires treatment with antibiotics and probiotics. Shigella causes another type of intestinal inflammation called dysentery, with similar symptoms. However, the most common cause of abdominal pain, especially in children, is viral infection with one of the enteroviruses. In infants and young children, gastroenteritis is usually caused by rotavirus.
Gallstones are solid masses formed in the gallbladder. They develop due to specific conditions including viscosity and pH of the bile. Risk factors, such as high cholesterol levels, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle are also important contributors. Gallstones may cause mild pain or discomfort in the upper right quadrant of abdomen while still in the gallbladder. Acute intense pain called billiary colic occurs when the gallstones enter smaller billiary ducts and get stuck. Painkillers, spasmolytics, and anti-inflammatory drugs are used to calm down the attack, which should be followed by scheduling surgical intervention of gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy).
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections cause pain in the lower portion of abdomen along with other symptoms, such as urgency to urinate and painful and frequent urination. They can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Urinary tract infections can be acute or chronic. They are treated differently depending on the causative factor.
Constipation is a common problem today, because of sedentary lifestyles and bad eating habits. Accumulation of feces can distend the walls of the colon, thus causing pain in different regions of the abdomen. Some drugs, such as opioid analgesics, can cause constipation. People with this problem should eat more fiber-rich vegetables, as they soften the stool and improve passage of the intestinal content. Different types of laxatives are also available.
Other Causes Of Abdominal Pain
Being one of the most common symptoms, abdominal pain can indicate many possible diseases. Sharp pain in the lower right abdomen joined with nausea, vomiting, and increased temperature may indicate appendicitis. In some cases, the cause even cannot be discovered.
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