Stomach pain, also known as abdominal pain, is a general term that refers to discomfort or pain in the area between the chest and the pelvis. The pain can be sharp, dull, intermittent, or constant, and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or gas.
What causes stomach pain?
- Gastrointestinal infections: Viral or bacterial infections can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- Indigestion: Eating too quickly, overeating, or consuming certain foods or drinks (such as caffeine, alcohol, or spicy foods) can cause stomach pain, bloating, and heartburn.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): A chronic condition that affects the large intestine, IBS can cause stomach pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Conditions like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can cause chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other symptoms.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): A chronic condition in which stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and stomach pain.
- Peptic ulcers: Sores that form in the lining of the stomach or small intestine, peptic ulcers can cause a dull, burning pain in the stomach.
- Gallstones: Hardened deposits that form in the gallbladder, gallstones can cause severe pain in the upper right abdomen.
- Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas can cause severe pain in the upper abdomen, along with nausea, vomiting, and fever.
- Appendicitis: Inflammation of the appendix can cause sharp pain in the lower right abdomen.
These are just some of the many possible causes of stomach pain. If you are experiencing persistent or severe stomach pain, it is important to see a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
What are treatments for stomach pain?
The treatment for stomach pain depends on the underlying cause of the pain. Some treatments for stomach pain include:
- Over-the-counter medications: Antacids, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and H2 blockers can be used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion.
- Antibiotics: If the pain is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
- Dietary changes: Avoiding certain foods or drinks, or following a specific diet, such as a low FODMAP diet or gluten-free diet, may help reduce stomach pain caused by food intolerances or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Lifestyle changes: Quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and reducing stress may also help reduce stomach pain.
How can a dietitian help with stomach pain?
A registered dietitian can play an important role in helping to manage stomach pain through dietary changes. They can help identify potential food triggers, create an individualized diet plan, and offer guidance on meal planning and portion control. They can also help ensure that the diet is balanced and provides adequate nutrients.
In addition to dietary changes, a dietitian can provide education on healthy eating habits, such as eating slowly, chewing thoroughly, and avoiding large meals or eating late at night. They may also recommend supplements, such as probiotics, to help improve gut health.
Overall, a dietitian can work closely with a healthcare team to help manage stomach pain and improve overall digestive health.
Discover a healthier, happier you.
- Covered by insurance
- Registered dietitians
- Virtual sessions