Everyone has experienced pain in the abdomen at least one time in their life. It may appear as a slight discomfort in the area between the ribs and pelvis. Alternatively, feelings can intensify to severe pain. Nowadays, a massive amount of reasons are known to cause stomachache. Luckily, there are many different remedies available to deal with this problem. Therefore, proper diagnosis and treatment of abdominal pain are essential.
Abdominal pain diagnosis
To determine what causes abdominal pain, the doctor explores the patient’s symptom history and performs a physical examination. In addition, the specialist can ask questions about the particulars of the stomachache and whether the patient has any physical or mental conditions that can result in the pain. The doctor may also be interested if the person had any recent injuries or, in females, whether the pregnancy might be the case.
Additionally, the healthcare provider can recommend tests if there is a need for them. They may involve:
- blood, urine or stool tests
- ultrasound of the abdominal area
- X-rays of the abdominal area
- colon X-ray (barium enema)
- computerized tomography (CT) of the abdominal area
- electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- endoscopic procedures
Abdominal pain treatment
The doctor assigns a particular treatment of abdominal pain according to the patient’s diagnosis. The options may include self-care measures, prescription or over-the-counter medications, drug injections and surgery.
This abdominal pain treatment method helps deal with mild bellyache caused by an upset stomach. Short-term self-care medications are:
- drinking water or other clear fluids
- keeping from ingestion of solid foods for a few hours
- resting until the person feels better
- restricting dairy products, fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits and carbonated beverages
- choosing mild food (for example, bananas, rice, crackers)
It is worth mentioning that using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for abdominal pain is highly unrecommended. Such medications include ibuprofen and aspirin. It is because these drugs can irritate the stomach and, therefore, increase the pain intensity.
It is essential to consult with the healthcare provider before taking any medications to treat abdominal pain. In case the patient has an underlying health problem, the doctor may prescribe some of the following drugs:
- antibiotics to treat infections
- medications to reduce inflammation
- medications dealing with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- medications to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Surgery and other procedures
Rarely, abdominal pain treatment requires the use of surgery or office procedures. Available options may include:
- injection of corticosteroids
- injection of numbing agents
- surgery to repair the hernia
How to prevent abdominal pain?
The person can significantly decrease the risk of abdominal pain by making some adjustments in lifestyle and diet. You may consider the following steps to prevent stomachache:
- stay hydrated by drinking enough water
- keep a balanced, fiber-rich diet
- eat slowly
- eat regularly
- get enough physical activity
- form regular bowel practice (to prevent constipation)
- wear a seatbelt correctly (to avoid car accident injuries of the abdomen)