With tummy discomfort or pain being one of the most common medical complaints, making sure you handle it properly makes all the difference in obtaining relief. This site has been written by people who have not only studied gastroenterology within the life sciences, but also have experienced tummy troubles – probably just as you have.
While some tummy problems can be eased with simple remedies, others are more serious, threatening your long-term health or your life. We hope this site arms you with the important knowledge and tools you need to put into play when you or a loved one experiences tummy pain.
1. How bad is the pain?
A first step is to consider how bad the pain really is that you are experiencing. Most of us will occasionally have episodes of gas, bloating or diarrhoea, often from a poorly chosen rich meal or similar. Such tummy pain is usually not a cause for concern. Severe tummy cramps, however, especially when accompanied with other symptoms such as bloody stool, signal something more serious such as food poisoning.
Consider if the pain is acute, with short, stabbing bouts of pain. Or, it may be more of a dull ache. Is the pain a cramping pain low down in your abdomen? For a pregnant woman it could indicate a serious condition known as ectopic pregnancy. Assessing the level and type of pain is important when deciding what to do next in terms of seeing a doctor and/or obtaining treatment for the pain.
2. Look for other symptoms and signs
It’s important to consider what else is accompanying your tummy pain. Is it just a tummy ache? Or, do you also have a fever and pain in other parts of your body. Any other symptoms you experience along with tummy pain should not be ignored. You could be suffering from any number of ailments, whether it’s an infection or otherwise.
Look at whether you have tenderness if you touch your tummy. Also, consider how your bowels are functioning. Do you have diarrhoea? Is there blood in your stool? Are you vomiting as well? You could have something causing a blockage in your bowels. Alternately, you may have something requiring serious attention such as appendicitis or pancreatitis. These conditions require that you go to the hospital.
3. How long does it last?
Even minor tummy aches that aren’t causing too much pain should be looked into if they are persistent. Digestive discomfort that lasts for a day or two will often resolve on its own and can be treated at home. But if it continues, it could be a sign of something that requires medical treatment, thus warranting a trip to the doctor’s office.
When looking at how long the pain has lasted, you should also think about what has happened to you recently that may play a part. When was the last time you had a bowel movement? Constipation can bring with it pain and cramping, which may come on quite quickly. Other kinds of pain that come on very fast may signal a kidney stone. Consider as well where the pain is located. With a kidney stone, for example, the pain is usually around your back up by your ribs and then travels down to your groin.
Women need to pay extra attention to signs and symptoms, especially concerning the length of time they have suffered from the pain. Pelvic inflammatory disease can trigger persistent pain in the lower abdominal area. It may be accompanied by vaginal discharge as well. Bladder infections afflict women far more frequently than men and should be considered. The pain can come on quickly and you will experience a feeling of pressure in your lower abdomen. Quite often, a bladder infection has other telltale signs such as burning when urinating or visible blood in the urine.
4. Are you taking any other medications?
Gastrointestinal side effects are very common with a number of medications. Although these can resolve as you continue taking medication, your tummy troubles could be directly medication and/or dose-related. Sometimes, switching to a similar medication can relieve tummy problems. Alternately, having your doctor adjust the dosage to the minimum needed to achieve therapeutic effects may also do the trick.
5. Is anyone else in your household having tummy problems?
Consider as well whether others in your household are experiencing problems with their tummy. You may all have eaten a dish that has caused food poisoning, for example. Where pain comes on suddenly and is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhoea, it could signal food poisoning.
6. Learn about common tummy ailments
While the site includes many different kinds of tummy conditions, to best help you it focuses in-depth on the most common symptoms or conditions such as diarrhoea and constipation, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, menstrual cramps, food allergies, food poisoning and infections. When pain strikes, you can respond much faster if you know what to look for and what treatments to use for common conditions.
7. The right medications for your pain
With so many pharmaceutical treatments available, your doctor can help you find the best one. If you are armed with knowledge when you discuss your treatment, however, you can better give input into the formulation of your treatment plan. You can also understand how a medication that cures one tummy problem may trigger another as a side effect.
8. Coping with pain
Even with so many effective treatments for various types of gastrointestinal conditions, some illnesses unfortunately require long-term or lifelong management. Those who suffer in this way can become overwhelmed and depressed. Learn how you can cope with the pain, such as through meditation or other alternative approaches.
Many people don’t realise how interconnected their mental health is to their tummy. The more you stress about tummy pain, the harder it is to overcome it. For this reason, we made sure the site included information about alternative ways to relieve anxiety and promote tummy well-being.
10. Natural tummy treatments
Consider natural remedies, especially for minor tummy troubles. Even for a course of antibiotics, for instance, natural remedies such as acidophilus-infused yogurt taken at the appropriate time can help. Although natural remedies should still be used with care and can bring side effects, these are usually less severe or problematic than those experienced with pharmaceuticals.
11. Preventing Tummy Troubles
Once you have dealt with a tummy problem, you should not assume that it will not recur or that you won’t experience many other kinds of gastrointestinal discomfort. For this reason, the site includes information on healthy living habits to promote good digestion and a healthy tummy. When specific diseases are discussed, prevention where relevant is also described. For example, did you know there are ways to help reduce chances of infection in a hospital? We also include a section on tummy tips for weight loss. This way, you can avoid the tummy complications associated with extreme dieting and instead, achieve safe, effective weight loss that you can maintain for life.
12. A healthy tummy for the whole family
When you go step-by-step through an assessment and treatment of a tummy problem, keep in mind that different people have different needs. Your children, for instance, may communicate pain in a unique way compared to adults. Their medication needs and treatment protocol will vary as well. Make sure you carefully read through the section on how to keep your child's tummy healthy.
13. News for your tummy
To continue helping you find new ways to prevent and treat tummy troubles, news of scientific research and studies are included to keep you abreast of the latest developments.
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