Stomach Ache – Causes & Treatment

Stomach Ache – Causes & Treatment

It’s the middle of the night, and you can’t sleep because you have a stomach ache. You’ve tried lying on your left side, taking antacids, and drinking a glass of warm milk, but nothing seems to help. What could be causing your stomach ache?

Numerous factors can cause pain or discomfort in your stomach, some of which are relatively harmless and can be treated easily. In contrast, others may require more serious attention.

In this piece, we’ll talk about some of the most common reasons why someone might experience a stomach ache. In addition, we will discuss some tips to ease the discomfort.

Causes of a Stomach Ache

Here are a few common causes of a stomach ache:

1. Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is caused by eating food that has contact with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Among the sources of contaminants are raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, unpasteurized milk, and produce.

Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. If food poisoning is severe, it can cause dehydration and even death.

If you think you may have food poisoning, it is vital to seek medical attention right away. Usually, antibiotics are administered to kill the bacteria or virus causing the infection, along with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

2. Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis affects the digestive system and causes cramping, fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting. The illness typically lasts for 1-2 days.

There are several things people can do to help relieve their symptoms, including drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In some cases, people may need to go to the hospital if they cannot keep any food or drink down.

3. Stomach Ulcers

Another reason you may experience a stomach ache is an ulcer. Stomach ulcers, for example, can be pretty painful and uncomfortable.

While most people think of ulcers as a problem that only affects the digestive system, they can impact any area of the body that comes in contact with stomach acid.

Ulcers occur when there is a break in the protective lining of the stomach or intestine. Thus, it allows the acids and enzymes present in the stomach to eat away at the surrounding tissue, causing pain and discomfort. Other symptoms include bloating, nausea, and vomiting.

Treatment for ulcers depends on the cause but may include medication to reduce acid production or antibiotics to kill any bacteria responsible. Surgical intervention may also be required if the ulcer has caused extensive damage.

4. Menstrual Cramps

Among the most common causes of stomach aches in women is menstrual cramps. Many women experience nausea, bloating, and cramps in the days leading up to their period, and sometimes these symptoms last as long as two days.

Fortunately, many over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help relieve these symptoms, such as Advil or NSAIDs.

But if it stems from something more severe like endometriosis or fibroids, then more extensive treatment may be necessary.

5. Stress and Anxiety

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, it’s not uncommon to experience a stomachache. Anxiety and stress often lead to stomach aches.

You can do several things to help relieve the stress and anxiety that may be causing your stomach ache. Deep breathing and meditation can be beneficial.

You may have stomach aches and diarrhea or constipation which may be due to nerves. In this case, taking deep breaths and meditating can also help.

6. Pregnancy

Pains or cramps of the stomach (abdomen) are common during pregnancy. Although they are usually not a cause for concern, sometimes they may be an indication of something more serious. You need not worry about them. If the pain is mild and disappears when changing positions, resting, pooping, or passing wind, then it probably isn’t a problem.

7. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.

There is no one-size-fits-all method to manage IBS, but some tips that may help include increasing fiber intake, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep.

Taking antispasmodic medications and probiotics may also be helpful. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is essential to see a doctor for evaluation.

8. Constipation 

Everyone experiences constipation at one time or another. Symptoms of constipation include abdominal pain, bloating, and gas. You may feel bloated and have a stomachache. It’s that uncomfortable feeling of not being able to go to the bathroom like you usually do.

Constipation may result from many factors, including diet, medications, and lifestyle. Treatment for constipation includes changes in diet (i.e., increasing your fiber intake, eating veggies and fruits), lifestyle, and medications if needed.

How Do You Treat a Stomach Ache?

If you’re experiencing a stomachache, there are a few things you can do to help make yourself more comfortable.

A great way to relieve discomfort is to drink plenty of water; this will help flush out any toxins causing your discomfort. You may also find relief by taking a warm bath or using a heating pad on your stomach. 

Another thing you can do is follow the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). These foods are all easy to digest and won’t aggravate your stomach.

Additionally, you can try taking ginger supplements or drinking ginger tea; ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe an upset stomach.

Finally, avoid difficult-to-digest foods like fatty or spicy foods, dairy products, and caffeine.

When Should You See a Doctor for Stomach Ache?

In most cases, the stomach ache will go away on its own, and no treatment is necessary. At times, you may need to see a doctor for a stomach ache.

Persistent vomiting, nausea, and constipation lasting more than 24 hours can be signs of a more severe problem. Severe pain that lasts for more than 24 hours can also signify a problem.

In addition, recurring abdominal pain can also indicate a problem if it comes and goes for up to a week. Any of these symptoms may indicate a medical condition, so it is best to seek medical help.