When In Doubt About Your Abdominal Pain Physicians Say Its Best To Call Your Doctor Or Head To The Er
The egg salad didn’t taste quite right, but you were hungry. Or maybe your craving for cheesecake outweighed the punishment you knew your lactose intolerance would inflict. You expect stomach distress in situations like these, but other times, abdominal pain can come out of nowhere. Sometimes it’s severe enough or lasts for so long that you know it’s not simply a matter of eating something that didn’t agree with you.
Digestive system issues account for 45.1 million visits to doctors’ offices and emergency departments yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The severity of the pain, its location within your abdominal area, and accompanying symptoms may provide clues to the origin of the pain and if you should seek help immediately. Here are some of the most common signs your tummy troubles need more than an over-the-counter remedy.
How Is Ibs Diagnosed
If youve been having uncomfortable GI symptoms, see your healthcare provider. The first step in diagnosing IBS is a medical history and a physical exam. Your provider will ask you about your symptoms:
- Do you have pain related to bowel movements?
- Do you notice a change in how often you have a bowel movement?
- Has there been a change in how your poop looks?
- How often do you have symptoms?
- When did your symptoms start?
- What medicines do you take?
- Have you been sick or had a stressful event in your life recently?
Depending on your symptoms, you may need other tests to confirm a diagnosis. Blood tests, stool samples and X-rays can help rule out other diseases that mimic IBS.
You Experience Stomach Pain And Bloating After Eating Certain Foods
Up to 70% of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome report that certain foods trigger their symptoms.
These intolerances are not allergies, and the triggering food doesnt cause measurable differences in digestion.
Some common ones include gas-producing FODMAPs, as well as lactose and gluten, but its unclear how these specific triggers actually do so.
One thing that helps is keeping a food journal. That way you can determine which foods are best for your IBS and digestion.
Since everyones body is different, their body will react differently to certain foods.
Keeping a food journal is a great way to determine what works best for you.
Don’t Miss: Is Phillips Colon Health Good For Ibs
Physical Symptoms Of Depression
One of the most common symptoms of depression is the feeling of being constantly tired and drained.
While depression exhaustion can be mental, it often presents as a lack of physical energy.
This may occur as a result of low-quality sleep, especially for those that attempt to manage their depression with drugs or alcohol.
For some people, low quality sleep means insomnia and sleep deprivation, while for others it might mean sleeping constantly without ever feeling rested.
Alcohol adds to this effect by interrupting the REM cycle, causing the brain to miss out on the most restorative periods of sleep throughout the night.
Incessant fatigue makes working and socializing especially difficult, and can contribute to the sad and hopeless feelings that often accompany depression.
Fatigue may also cause a depressed individual to abandon their workout routine and become less active, which can exacerbate depression over time.
Aches and Pains
Depression can quite literally hurt. Just as when you have the flu and your body seems to ache all over, depression can cause mild pain and discomfort to amplify, becoming severely distracting and debilitating.
Because our brains are responsible for producing the sensation of pain, poor mental health can cause inappropriate responses to varying degrees of pain.
Research has confirmed that depression lowers pain tolerance, intensifying pain that would otherwise be manageable.
How Can I Control Ibs
It may be frustrating trying to get a handle on IBS. Treatment can often be trial and error. But the good news is that nearly everyone with IBS can find a treatment that helps them.
Usually, diet and activity changes improve symptoms over time. You may need some patience as you figure out your triggers so you can take steps to avoid them. But after a few weeks or months, you should notice significant improvement in how you feel. A nutritionist can help you plan a healthy, filling diet that meets your needs.
Don’t Miss: What To Take For Leaky Gut
Can Ibs Be Debilitating
Irritable Bowel Syndrome , an unpleasant and often debilitating condition, is characterized by frequent, recurrent abdominal pain, as well as problems with constipation and/or diarrhea. People with IBS often experience a strong urge to use the bathroom, and may avoid going to places without easy access to one.
Could Abdominal Pain Be Ibs
Irritable bowel syndrome is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and alternating diarrhea and constipation. Symptoms are often worse after consuming certain foods. Now, researchers have identified the biological mechanism that causes abdominal pain or severe discomfort in IBS patients after eating.
Don’t Miss: What Probiotics Are Good For Yeast Infections
Ibs Pain Location Ibs Pain Areas Ibs Pain On Right Side
While IBS pain can be felt in the entire abdomen , but it is most often reported in the lower portion of the abdomen.
Irritable bowel syndrome pain most often occurs in either the lower right or lower left side. Some people may also experience upper right side abdominal pain without any other symptoms.
What Is The Treatment For Ibs
There is no cure for IBS, but there are things you can do to feel better. Treatment may include:
- Changing your diet
Your doctor may give you medicine to help with symptoms:
- Fiber supplements such as psyllium to help control constipation.
- Anti-diarrheal medications, such as loperamide , to help control diarrhea.
- Antispasmodic agents such as peppermint oil or dicyclomine to slow contractions in the bowel, which may help with diarrhea and pain.
- Antidepressant medications such as a tricylcic antidepressant or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor if symptoms include pain or depression.
- IBS medication. A medication known as Lubiprostone is approved by the FDA for women with severe IBS-C .
Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you to. All drugs have side effects and may affect people differently. Tell your doctor about any over-the-counter medicines you take.
Don’t Miss: Is Coffee Bad For Ibs
What Causes Mild To Moderate Abdominal Pain
Most Australians will experience mild or moderate abdominal pain from time to time. Often these episodes last only a few hours or days. They may clear up without the need for treatment. However, you may be more comfortable managing the symptoms with medicines from your pharmacy or doctor.
Some of the causes of short-term abdominal pain are:
Can I Get Ibs From Eating Gluten
Some people with IBS sensitivity to gluten. If a person has concerns that gluten may be contributing to their bowel issues, they should ask their doctor for testing.
It is to cure IBS permanently. However, treatment options, including lifestyle and dietary changes as well as medications, can help a person manage and reduce their symptoms.
Recommended Reading: How To Make Yourself Poop When Constipated
Crampy Pain With Diarrhea Or Constipation
Lower “crampy” abdominal pain accompanied by bloating and diarrhea or constipation can be signs of irritable bowel syndrome , says Singh. “It’s exceptionally common and affects 15% of the U.S. population, particularly younger women, although it can happen at any age.” Symptoms of IBS can usually be controlled by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Medication and counseling may be needed in some cases.
What Causes Abdominal Pain
There are many underlying causes of abdominal pain. Some of these are short-term causes that arent serious the symptoms may last only hours or days, and may clear up by themselves. Others are longer lasting and may be more serious.
There are also causes of abdominal pain that require urgent medical attention and may be life-threatening.
Some causes of abdominal pain are more common or less likely in certain age groups or genders.
Children often get stomach or abdominal pain. Some of the most common causes are gastroenteritis, wind or indigestion. Some causes of abdominal pain apply mainly to children, such as colic, intussusception, and testicular torsion. For more information on these, see abdominal pain in children.
Women may experience abdominal pain associated with their periods, pregnancy or problems with their urinary or reproductive system.
Older people are more likely than younger people to have abdominal pain due to heart or lung problems, bowel obstruction, or conditions such as diverticulitis or gallstones.
Also Check: Is It Better To Take Prebiotics Or Probiotics
What Are The Symptoms Of Ibs
The most common symptoms of IBS are lower not upper abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort. Other symptoms of IBS can include:
- Frequent or infrequent bowel movements
- Alternating periods of constipation and diarrhea or loose stools
- Urgent and uncontrollable need to have a bowel movement
- Straining and cramping when trying to have a bowel movement, often able to eliminate only a small amount
- Bowel movements with mucus, difference in size or consistency
Unfortunately, there is no classic location for the abdominal pain associated with IBS. Irritable bowel can be felt as upper, middle and/or lower abdominal pain. The good news is that, while there may be bloating and upper abdominal pain especially after eating, IBS pain is rarely confused with a major heart attack. Middle abdominal pain is often experienced as bad cramping and is usually located at or around the navel. Lower abdominal pain is characterized by bowel movement disruptions, whether that means constipation, diarrhea, both, mucus in the stool, or an urgent need to have a bowel movement.
Comparison Of Abdominal Pain Severity Bothersomeness Interference With Daily Activities And Frequency Among Ibs Subtypes
There were no significant differences in abdominal pain âseverity at its worstâ based on responses from a 5-point Likert scale among IBS subtypes . However, when compared with those with IBS-D, respondents with IBS-C noted more bothersomeness , interference with daily activities , and frequency of abdominal pain symptoms. Those with IBS-C were also more likely to note that their pain was more bothersome and frequent and had a larger impact on day-to-day tasks vs those with IBS-M. No differences in these domains were seen between individuals with IBS-D and IBS-M.
Recommended Reading: What Can You Take For Ibs Over The Counter
Can Ibs Cause Severe Upper Abdominal Pain
I’ve been diagnosed with IBS, yet earlier today I was in a lot of pain that has made me wonder if there is something else wrong. Just wondering if anyone out there can give me some view, thoughts or advice.
About an hour and a half after lunch I started to get some pain located around the top of my stomach area, just below my chest, which gradually got worse. It was a sharp pain that had me writhing in agony, it was painful enough to take my breath away, and it radiated pain through to my back and up to my chest. The pain would decrease and increase in intensity during the next 45 minutes to an hour when it decided to ease off gradually and eventually go away. During this time there was an increased need to burp, however I didn’t feel bloated. This has happened to me before on a couple of occasions, but was then located in my lower abdominal area.
Just so you know in the last few years I’ve had numerous tests and investigations including endoscopy and colonoscopies, blood tests, ultrasounds, X-Rays, etc and nothing untoward has ever been discovered. The only things to note were polyps which were removed and benign, two positive faecal calprotectin results however last colonoscopy with biopsies a few months ago was fine and low vitamin D levels for which I take supplements now and again.
I’d be very grateful for any comments to know if this sounds like an IBS symptom, especially if there others that have experienced this type of pain.
0 likes, 17 replies
Other Reasons For Overlooking Ibs Symptoms
Most of us have been taught that its not polite to discuss bowel habits in society. Too often, people are willing to overlook symptoms rather than get them diagnosed. This is never a good idea. If your symptoms are IBS, modern treatments can help keep them under control. Even though there is no cure for IBS, you can reduce the discomfort. If your symptoms turn out to be something more serious, getting an early diagnosis will make treatment more effective.
Carolina Digestive Health Associates has some of the best gastroenterologists in the Charlotte region. Dont let misconceptions about IBS symptoms or embarrassment prevent you from getting tested and having your condition diagnosed. Contact Carolina Digestive Health Associates and schedule an appointment today!
Also Check: Turmeric Overdose Symptoms
Also Check: Can Bread Give You Heartburn
Ibs Headaches And Migraines
You may complain of headache with your IBS. as headaches are more common in IBS patients than the general population.
Some reports suggest headache is more common with patients with IBS-constipations.
Also, Migraine is related to irritable bowel syndrome. Actually, one of the manifestations of the aura of migraine is abdominal pain.
This means that migraine may be the cause of IBS abdominal pain.
What Are The Differences And Similarities Between Colon Cancer Vs Ibs Symptoms And Signs
Colon Cancer Symptoms and Signs
Symptoms of colon cancer may not be present or be minimal and overlooked until it becomes more severe. Cancer screening tests for colon cancer thus are important in individuals 50 and older. Cancer of the colon and rectum can exhibit itself in several ways. If you have any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical help. You may notice bleeding from your rectum or blood mixed with your stool. It usually, but not always, can be detected through a fecal occult blood test, in which samples of stool are submitted to a lab for detection of blood.
- People commonly attribute all rectal bleeding to hemorrhoids, thus preventing early diagnosis owing to lack of concern over bleeding hemorrhoids. New onset of bright red blood in the stool always deserves an evaluation. Blood in the stool may be less evident, and is sometimes invisible, or causes a black or tarry stool.
- Rectal bleeding may be hidden and chronic and may only show up as an iron deficiency anemia.
- It may be associated with fatigue and pale skin due to the anemia.
- Changes in bowel movement frequency
- It usually, but not always, can be detected through a fecal occult blood test, in which samples of stool are submitted to a lab for detection of blood.
If the tumor gets large enough, it may completely or partially block your colon. You may notice the following symptoms of bowel obstruction:
Studies suggest that the average duration of symptoms is 14 weeks.
Colon Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
Don’t Miss: How Do Doctors Diagnose Ibs
Urgent Advice: See Your Gp Urgently If:
You have other symptoms, including:
- a change in your bowel habits that has lasted for more than six weeks, especially if you are over 50 years of age
- unexplained weight loss
- a swelling or lump in your stomach or back passage
- bleeding from your back passage
These can sometimes be a sign of a potentially more serious condition.
You should also tell your GP if you have these symptoms and a family history of bowel cancer or ovarian cancer.
Ibs Pain In The Lower Abdomen :
Also, it is a common IBS pain location, but it may be confused with a variety of other conditions:
- Cystitis: an infection of the urinary bladder usually associated with the change color of urine. Painful urination , and you will need to pee very frequently but only small amounts of urine. Cystitis is more common in females.
- Prostatitis: This occurs only in males, especially those who are older than the age of 50. May be associated with fever, abnormal urinary secretions and difficult passage of urine.
- Pelvic/Menstrual pain : a common form of pain that is misdiagnosed as IBS. pain from the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries may resemble IBS. the pain is exclusively at the lower abdomen and lower back. It has little relation to meals and defecation.
- Inguinal Hernia.
Recommended Reading: Why Can Ibs Be Cured
Common Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms
The main symptoms of IBS are:
- stomach pain or cramps usually worse after eating and better after doing a poo
- bloating your tummy may feel uncomfortably full and swollen
- diarrhoea you may have watery poo and sometimes need to poo suddenly
- constipation you may strain when pooing and feel like you cannot empty your bowels fully
There may be days when your symptoms are better and days when theyre worse . They may be triggered by food or drink.
IBS flare-ups can happen for no obvious reason.
Sometimes they have a trigger like:
- passing mucus from your bottom
- tiredness and a lack of energy
- problems peeing, like needing to pee often, sudden urges to pee, and feeling like you cannot fully empty your bladder
- not always being able to control when you poo
How Can Herbal Remedies Help Me
There are some herbal remedies which may help to settle a painful stomach.
- Digestisan: Give Digestisan a try if symptoms arise from the first part of the gut. This is a herbal complex continaining herbs known as stomach bitters which support the initial stages of digestion. It is traditionally used for symptoms such as bloating and indigestion
- Silicol gel: For pain lower down the digestive tract, use a supplement containing silicic acid such as Silicol gel. This acts as a protective barrier for the digestive tract, soothing and calming the walls of the intestine. Silicic acid can bind any toxins or excess gas that may be causing discomfort or pain.
You May Like: Is Nausea A Common Symptom Of Ibs