Wondering why you're dealing with abdominal pain?
Everyone deals with a stomachache from time to time. Typically, it will go away on its own, and it’s nothing to worry about; however, certain symptoms may warrant having a gastroenterologist take a closer look. Here’s what you should know about abdominal pain.
What causes abdominal pain?
There is a laundry list of conditions, infections, and diseases that can cause sharp, aching, stabbing, or cramping pain in the abdomen. Some causes are minor and will go away on their own, while others will require urgent medical attention. Common causes include,
- Food poisoning
- Food allergies (different than a food intolerance)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Gastroenteritis (referred to as a “stomach bug”)
For women, abdominal pain might not have anything to do with the digestive tract and may be due to menstruation, ovarian polyps or cysts, or other reproductive issues.
If your abdominal pain is minor and goes away in a couple of hours, it’s probably not something to worry about; however, severe abdominal pain is nothing to ignore. Severe abdominal pain, as well as worsening or persistent abdominal pain could be due to,
- Irritable bowel diseases (e.g., Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis)
- Stomach ulcers
- Gallstones or kidney stones
When should I see a gastroenterologist?
It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist if you are experiencing,
- Constant abdominal pain that lasts days
- Pain that keeps coming back
- Other symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation that also doesn’t go away after a few days
- Changes in bowel movements or urinary/bladder function
- Unexpected and sudden weight loss
If you are dealing with severe abdominal pain or abdominal pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting, trouble breathing, pain in the chest, or bloody stools, you must seek immediate medical attention.
What is your gut trying to tell you? If you are dealing with persistent abdominal pain or stomach pains that concern you, then these are reasons to turn to a gastroenterologist.