Stomach Pain Relief
Pain in the abdomen can be sharp or dull and induce cramps or aching. Abdomen pain is more commonly called stomach pain or stomachaches. Several gastrointestinal conditions can cause stomach pain, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis. Abdomen pain usually affects the muscle tissues surrounding the stomach and sides of the upper body instead of the intestines.
Anatomy of the Stomach
The abdomen encases several major organs which are susceptible to inflammation and disease; they include the:
- intestines (small and large)
- appendix (a part of the large intestine)
If any of these organs become infected with either a virus, bacteria, fungus, or parasite, then it’s likely that severe stomach pain will ensue.
Pain In Lower Left Abdomen
Various conditions can cause stomachaches and pain. However, the most common causes of pain in the lower left abdomen are:
- Kidney infections
- Inflammation of the appendix or intestines
- Crohn’s disease
- Ovarian cysts
Infections typically start by a virus, bacteria, fungus, or parasite entering the digestive system through the mouth. From there, infections can spread throughout the body into the intestines or appendix and cause severe pain. If you’re experiencing diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, then your stomach and intestines contracted an infection.
Mensuration cramps may cause pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen. Stress and constipation also contribute to lower left abdomen pain. Ensure that you’re exercising regularly and managing stress effectively to reduce the impact of psychological stress on the rest of your body.
Pain In Lower Right Abdomen
When abdomen pain is only affecting one part of the stomach, it’s likely due to an issue affecting a specific organ. If the pain is limited to one spot on the lower right abdomen, then stomach ulcers may be responsible. Stomach ulcers are open sores on the inside of the stomach, so if the pain isn’t moving, then it may be a sign that you have an ulcer. However, some various diseases and conditions may be responsible for causing pain in the lower right abdomen. Inflammation is one of the most common causes of this localized pain. Your kidneys, appendix, or intestines could be inflamed, which would cause pain and discomfort in the lower right abdomen.
In women, pain that’s crampy or achy may be due to menstruation, miscarriage, or other complications with the female reproductive system. Cramps from menstruation are intermittent but typically go away without medical intervention.
Stomach Pain Diagnosis
Diagnosing stomach pain usually beings by a primary care physician asking you about your symptoms, gathering a brief medical history, and then performing a physical examination. Your doctor will press around various regions of the stomach to identify tender areas and any swelling. Once completed, if your doctor suspects there’s a more severe condition present, then you may be subject to various imaging tests to help get a better view of your abdomen and make an accurate diagnosis.
X-rays, ultrasounds, and MRI scans will likely be completed to view the major organs, smaller tissues, and other structures in the stomach in greater detail. These tests may reveal tumors, bone fractures, organ ruptures, and inflammation. Your doctor could also order additional tests such as:
- Colonoscopy— to evaluate the inside of the colon and intestines
- Endoscopy— conducted to identify inflammation and issues with the esophagus and stomach.
- Upper GI X-ray — uses dye to identify abnormal cell growth, ulcers, inflammation, blockages, and other issues inside the stomach.
You may be asked to give blood, urine, and stool samples to rule out possible bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infections.
When To Visit A Doctor For Stomach Pain
Abdomen pain ranges from mild to severe, so it’s important to learn when you should go to the doctor or even call 911 for immediate medical attention. Mild stomach pain often solves itself after a few days of rest and careful eating of plain and easily digested food, such as crackers and chicken.
If you’ve experienced an injury either from a car accident or blunt force trauma, you should immediately call 911 if the stomach pain is severe, and you’re experiencing difficulty breathing and other chest-related pain.
Call 911 or have someone take you to a hospital if your stomach is pain is severe enough that you can’t remain still or forced into the fetal position. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, then immediately seek medical attention:
- Blood in stool
- Fever greater than 101°F
- Vomiting blood (hematemesis)
- Constant nausea or vomiting
- Jaundice(yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Severe tenderness or visible swelling of the stomach
- Breathing complications
The following symptoms are associated with moderate to severe stomach pain but don’t necessarily require hospitalization:
- Pain in the abdomen lasting more than 24 hours
- Frequent vomiting
- Days of constipation
- Burning when urinating
- High fever
- Appetite suppression
- Rapid weight loss
Also, talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing stomach pain while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Stomach Pain Treatment
If your stomach pain isn’t severe and doesn’t require hospitalization, then you could try using some at-home treatments to help speed up recovery, they include:
- Drink small sips of water after you’ve gone at least 20 minutes without puking.
- Eat the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) for a few days until you recover completely.
- Avoid alcohol or smoking
- Introduce food once puking has stopped for at least an hour.
- Take TUMS or small amounts of baking soda to lower the acidity of the stomach
There is some evidence suggesting that the following remedies can help with stomach pain:
- Eating ginger
- Chamomile tea
- OTC stomach relievers like Pepto-Bismol or Zantac.
These treatments can help alleviate symptoms, but if they continue, call your doctor. Remember, there are no cures, so don’t fall for false advertisements of a panacea.
Avoid aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because the pain may be due to peptic ulcers or stomach bleeding, which can be exacerbated by NSAIDs.
CBD For Stomach Pain Relief?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of over 100 identified phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the most famous cannabinoid known for producing a distinct high associated with marijuana. However, CBD differs from THC because CBD doesn’t intoxicate an individual after consumption. CBD possesses almost no psychoactivity compared to THC, making it a suitable alternative for those who can’t or don’t want to be high.
The compound is primarily consumed via oil derived from industrial hemp. It’s also frequently infused into various topical products such as creams, balms, and salves. Don’t be surprised to see it show up in even some foods and sports drinks.
Currently, the FDA only recognizes CBD in treating seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy under the brand name Epidiolex. However, CBD has been the subject of numerous government-funded studies investigating its medicinal potential, particularly in the treatment of symptoms associated with pain and inflammation.
CBD is showing potential in treating pain and inflammation and may be able to provide relief from those suffering from stomach pain or pain in the sides of the abdomen.
How Does CBD Work?
Thanks to the relatively recent discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), we now have a greater understanding of how CBD works on the body and how it can help treat pain.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
The ECS is a vital biological system responsible for maintaining homeostasis and regulating several biological functions such as sleep, mood, appetite, pain sensation, and immunity. The ECS does this by communicating with different parts of the body using its vast network of cannabinoid receptors. These cannabinoid receptors are known as CB1 and CB2 and are found throughout the entire body. CB1 receptors are scattered throughout the central nervous system, including the brain, whereas CB2 receptors can be found in the peripheral nervous system. Think of these receptors as locks or landing pads and endocannabinoids as the keys or helicopters.
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids naturally produced by the body while the cannabinoids from cannabis are called phytocannabinoids since phyto- is the prefix for “plant.” These neurotransmitters contain various information which is processed once they bind to the receptor. Think like a key entering a lock or a helicopter landing on that circle on top of some buildings. The information essentially contains instructions for the receptors to read and implement.
These receptors also have another landing site for enzymes to bind to. These enzymes come in and bind to the cannabinoid receptor forcing the “lock” to let go of the “key” once the task is completed. This helps regulate the processes and prevent overcompensation.
Can CBD Help Relieve Stomach Pain?
While there still needs to be more research conducted, we found several studies demonstrating the effectiveness of CBD in the treatment of symptoms relating to stomach pain. It appears that yes, CBD can help alleviate stomach pain.
Current research suggests that CBD’s analgesic (pain-relieving) effects come from increasing the concentration of neurotransmitters naturally produced by the body, particularly anandamide. Anandamide is a natural endocannabinoid that binds to the CB1 receptors when the body experiences pain, blocking the signals from traveling to the brain. However, the effect lasts for a mere two minutes before being broken down by enzymes, and the pain relief is relatively weak.
CBD may help solve this dilemma because CBD stops the body from breaking down several neurotransmitters. These include dopamine, serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), noradrenaline, and anandamide. This may explain CBD’s analgesic effects because anandamide can persist and provide pain relief without being immediately broken down by the body.
Remember how we talked about where cannabinoid receptors are located? Well, CB2 receptors are prolific in immune cells, and CBD may have a powerful modulatory effect on the immune system, which can alleviate inflammation and, subsequently, pain. If you have a gastrointestinal disorder involving inflammation like IBS or colitis, CBD can help lower intestinal inflammation by reducing gut motility and increasing the amount of CB1 receptors found in the gut. More CB1 receptors allow more endocannabinoids to bind and provide regulatory effects on the cells, such as reducing inflammation or preventing pain signaling.
Another study also found that the ECS is heavily involved in regulating inflammation in the colon. Mice treated with 2,4-dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS) experienced significantly more inflammation if they possessed fewer CB1 receptors. Since CBD stimulates the production of more CB1 receptors, CBD can help alleviate inflammation in the gut via indirect interaction with the ECS involved in the intestines.
How To Take CBD For Stomach Pain Relief
There are various products and methods available to consume CBD. We’ll talk about the most common ways to take CBD for stomach pain.
CBD can be taken orally by eating CBD-infused edibles such as gummies, cookies, candies, brownies, etc. The downside of orally ingesting CBD is that this method takes the longest for the effects of CBD to kick in. Typically, it takes about 2 hours for CBD to digest, and this can be frustrating because you don’t know if its working or not since it’s psychoactivity is already extremely subtle. The benefits are that edibles are usually tasty and convenient.
To bypass the long digestion process, you could use a CBD tincture’s dropper to place the oil under the tongue (sublingual), where it quickly dissolves into the bloodstream. This is a great way to take CBD because the effects kick in very quickly, and finding the right dose is easier because you can go by drops of CBD oil. For example, if you took three drops of CBD oil and didn’t experience any pain relief, next time, you could try 4 or 5 drops and then see if you notice any relief.
CBD can also be applied directly to the skin using CBD-infused topicals such as creams, salves, or balms. This may help treat localized pain like the sides of the abdomen. We don’t know if these products actually go through the skin to deliver CBD. However, the idea is to allow CBD to exert its effects on the receptors found underneath the skin. These products are frequently combined with various ingredients meant to synergize with CBD, such as aloe vera or coconut oil, and can include things like fragrances or dyes. Always check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain anything you could be allergic to.
Smoking or Vaping
CBD-only strains are readily available in most states that have legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis use. Dispensaries will almost always carry at least one strain of cannabis that has little or no THC. You can take the flower buds and add them to a pipe or a vaping device that’s compatible with dried flowers. Also, vaping pens are readily available that use cartridges filled with CBD oil that can be inhaled.