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Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Stomach Pain
Symptoms of Stomach Pain
Stomach pain is usually referred to as “abdominal pain.” Not all stomach pain symptoms actually originate in your belly.
Stomach pain isn’t a disorder by itself. That’s because hundreds of different medical conditions could be causing your pain.
Whatever your underlying cause of stomach pain, it’s common to experience these additional symptoms:
Causes of Stomach Pain
Three of the most common conditions causing stomach pain include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). gastroenteritis, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There’s no singular reason that people start suffering from IBS. It could be caused by genetics, or it could be due to changes in lifestyle or environment. Other possible causes of IBS include the use of antibiotics and stress in your day-to-day life.
Known by its more common name of “stomach flu,” gastroenteritis is a viral or bacterial infection affecting your intestines. While bacterial and foodborne illnesses such as salmonella can cause gastroenteritis, the most likely culprit is one of several viruses.
Causes of gastroenteritis include:
- Inhaling droplets of infected body fluids
- Norovirus exposure in adults
- Rotavirus exposure in children
- Transmission of a virus via unwashed hands
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
If you have a UTI, you can experience stomach pain symptoms. Women are at higher risk for UTIs. By not wiping from front to back, you can introduce colon-based bacteria like E. coli into the urinary tract. These bacteria then sneak up the tract and set off a nasty chain of events. Sex may also spread bacteria to the urethra and cause a UTI.
Other health factors that increase your risk of severe or frequent infections:
- Immune system suppression
- Kidney stones
Additional medical causes of stomach pain include:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Kidney stones
Should I Be Worried?
Stomach pain itself isn’t necessarily worrisome, and you shouldn’t be concerned about the occasional episode of abdominal discomfort or other symptoms like gas and nausea.
If you have IBS, gastroenteritis, or a UTI, you might need to see a doctor to manage or resolve your illness. For example, UTIs will only clear up with medication.
However, there are certain serious, and less common, symptoms accompanying stomach pain that require immediate medical attention:
- Abdominal swelling
- Blood in your stool or vomit
- Constant, severe abdominal pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach hurts when touched
- Unexplained, rapid weight loss
- Yellowing skin
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Stomach Pain Prevention Tips
It’s difficult to prevent stomach issues entirely. So many illnesses and conditions could be causing your pain; however, these general tips could help you avoid the more common causes of stomach pain:
- Prevent UTIs by staying hydrated. Frequent urination flushes bacteria that may be hanging out in your urinary tract.
- Thoroughly wash and dry your hands. Drying is important -- the viruses that cause gastroenteritis love wet surfaces.
- Manage your IBS. Unfortunately, IBS isn’t preventable. But getting exercise, reducing your intake of bothersome foods, and quitting smoking may lengthen the time between IBS episodes.