Stomach Pain: What You Need to Know
Stomach pain is a common complaint and can be caused by a variety of issues. According to a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, 2/3 of adults experience stomach pain at least once a month. In addition, a 2018 study found that nearly 60% of the participants surveyed reported having stomach pain at least once a week. While the causes of stomach pain can vary, it is important to be aware of the potential causes and treatments to help manage the pain.
Symptons of Stomach Pain
Stomach pain can range from mild to severe and it is often accompanied by other symptoms including indigestion, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and gas. It can be sharp and stabbing or dull and aching. It is estimated that up to 20% of people experience abdominal pain severe enough to seek medical attention at least once a year.
Common symptoms of stomach pain include burning in the upper abdomen, abdominal cramps, bloating, excessive gas, and belching. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or diarrhea. Additionally, some people may experience back pain, chest pain, or difficulty swallowing.
One study found that when assessing abdominal pain, the most common causes included gastroenteritis, appendicitis, peptic ulcer disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Other potential causes of abdominal pain may include pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, gallstones, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections.
In some cases, the cause of abdominal pain may be difficult to diagnose. If the pain is severe or persists for more than a few days, it is important to seek medical advice. A doctor may perform a physical exam, order laboratory tests, or request imaging studies to determine the cause of the abdominal pain.
Common Causes of Stomach Pain
Stomach pain is a common occurrence in many individuals, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. The causes of stomach pain can vary widely, from a simple infection or indigestion to more serious medical conditions.
Gastroenteritis, commonly referred to as the “stomach flu,” is one of the most common causes of stomach pain. It is a digestive disorder caused by the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 21 million people in the US visit the doctor due to gastroenteritis every year.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the digestive system that can cause stomach pain and other symptoms, such as cramps, bloating, gas, and changes in bowel habits. According to a study published in the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology, the prevalence of IBS in the US is estimated to be between 6.1 and 14.6 percent.
Peptic Ulcer Disease
Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a condition in which there is inflammation or erosion of the lining of the stomach or small intestine. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection or the use of certain medications, such as NSAIDs. According to a study published in the journal Gastroenterology Research and Practice, the global prevalence of PUD is estimated to be between 4 and 10 percent.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder in which stomach acid or bile flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and pain. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, GERD affects up to 20 percent of the US population.
Common Treatments for Stomach Pain
Stomach pain is a common complaint and may be caused by a variety of conditions. Treatment for stomach pain depends on the cause, but some common treatments include over-the-counter medications, dietary and lifestyle changes, and natural remedies.
Over-the-counter medications are commonly used to treat stomach pain. These medications can include antacids for heartburn, acid reducers, and anti-diarrheal medications. According to a survey conducted by the American Gastroenterological Association, antacids are the most commonly used over-the-counter remedy for stomach pain, with 81% of respondents taking antacids to relieve their symptoms.
Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
Making changes to your diet and lifestyle can also help to relieve stomach pain. Eating smaller meals more frequently, limiting spicy and fried foods, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and quitting smoking can all help to reduce symptoms. Additionally, managing stress, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly can help to reduce stomach pain.
Natural remedies are popular treatments for stomach pain. Popular natural remedies include ginger, peppermint, probiotics, and chamomile tea. A study conducted in 2011 found that ginger was effective in reducing abdominal pain caused by irritable bowel syndrome. Another study conducted in 2017 found that probiotics were effective in reducing symptoms of abdominal pain associated with functional dyspepsia. Chamomile tea is also widely used to soothe upset stomachs.
Preventing Stomach Pain
Stomach pain can be prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes and habits. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding processed and sugary foods can help prevent stomach pain. Additionally, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help to reduce the risk for stomach pain.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day has been shown to reduce the occurrence of stomach pain. A study conducted in 2019 found that those who ate smaller meals throughout the day reported a significant reduction in incidences of abdominal pain. Additionally, the study found that eating small, frequent meals had a positive effect on overall digestion health.
Regular exercise can also help to prevent stomach pain. Exercise increases the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, which helps to reduce the risk of digestive issues. Additionally, exercise can help to reduce stress levels, which can be a trigger for stomach pain. According to a 2020 study, those who exercised regularly reported a significant reduction in stomach pain compared to those who did not exercise.
Getting enough sleep can also help to prevent stomach pain. Sleep helps to reduce stress, which can be a trigger for stomach pain. A 2020 study found that those who got an adequate amount of sleep reported a decreased risk of stomach pain compared to those who did not get enough sleep.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis plants. It is one of the many compounds known as cannabinoids that occur naturally in the plant. Unlike THC, the other main component of cannabis, CBD does not produce a ‘high’ when used. CBD has become increasingly popular in recent years for its potential health benefits, including its ability to help treat various conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and even certain types of cancer.
CBD for Stomach Pain
CBD has been studied for its potential to help with a variety of digestive issues, including stomach pain. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology found that CBD can help reduce symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, such as abdominal pain and bloating. Another study conducted in 2020 found that CBD can help balance the immune system, which can help reduce inflammation and improve digestive issues. Additionally, a 2017 study found that CBD can help reduce nausea and vomiting, which can be caused by stomach pain.
Potential Side Effects of CBD
Although CBD is generally considered to be safe, it is important to note that it can cause some side effects. These include fatigue, changes in appetite, and dry mouth. In addition, CBD can interact with certain medications, so it is important to speak to a doctor before taking it. As with any supplement, it is important to start with a small dose and gradually increase it to see how it affects the body.
CBD has been studied for its potential to help with a variety of digestive issues, including stomach pain. While there is still much research to be done, studies have found that CBD may be effective in reducing symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease and other digestive issues. It is important to speak to a doctor before taking CBD, as it can cause side effects and interact with medications.
What Could be Causing My Stomach Pain?
There are many potential causes of stomach pain including indigestion, gas, food poisoning, a stomach virus, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance, ulcers, gallstones, and appendicitis. It is important to contact your doctor to discuss the cause of your stomach pain and possible treatments.
What are the Symptoms of Stomach Pain?
The symptoms of stomach pain can vary depending on the cause. Common symptoms include cramping, sharp or dull pain in the abdomen, nausea, bloating, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea. More severe symptoms may include fever, difficulty breathing, and loss of appetite.
When Should I See a Doctor for Stomach Pain?
You should contact your doctor if you experience any symptoms of stomach pain that last more than a few days, if the pain is severe, or if the pain is accompanied by fever or vomiting. Additionally, you should seek medical attention if the pain is located in the lower right abdomen, as this could be a sign of appendicitis.
What Tests Can Be Done to Diagnose Stomach Pain?
Your doctor may order a variety of tests to diagnose the cause of your stomach pain. These may include a physical exam, blood tests, urine tests, stool tests, imaging tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound, or an endoscopy. Your doctor will use the results of these tests to determine the cause of your stomach pain.
How Can I Treat Stomach Pain?
The treatment for stomach pain will depend on the cause. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications such as antacids or anti-diarrheal medications. For more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, probiotics, or other medications. Additionally, lifestyle modifications such as avoiding certain foods, exercising regularly, and reducing stress may help to reduce the symptoms of stomach pain.