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I feel discomfort in my stomach

Abdominal Pain: Causes, Types & Treatment


What is abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain is discomfort anywhere in your belly region — between your ribs and your pelvis. We often think of abdominal pain as “stomach pain” or a “stomachache,” but pain in your abdomen could be coming from other organs too.

Your abdomen is home to your:

  • Stomach.
  • Liver.
  • Gallbladder.
  • Pancreas.
  • Small intestine.
  • Large intestine.

These are all organs in your digestive system, but pain can also be in your abdominal wall, the outer shell (skin, muscles) of your abdomen. And sometimes, the pain that you feel in your belly may be coming from somewhere else, like your chest, pelvis or back.

Abdominal pain can take many forms and can mean many things.

It may feel:

  • Mild or severe.
  • Dull or sharp.
  • Burning or achy.
  • Crampy or colicky.
  • Constant or intermittent.
  • Localized (in one spot) or generalized (all over).

Ultimately, abdominal pain is a subjective symptom that only you can describe. Since your healthcare provider can’t measure it, it's what you say it is. Your healthcare provider will always take your abdominal pain seriously.

How common is stomach pain?

Just about everybody will experience abdominal pain at some point. Most of the time, it’s not serious and resolves by itself. However, it can be a sign of serious illness or even an emergency. Abdominal pain causes 5% of emergency room visits.

What are the four types of abdominal pain?

Since your abdomen it is home to many organs, your healthcare provider may want to narrow down the kind of pain you’re having by narrowing down the region you’re feeling it in. Healthcare providers often divide the abdomen into quadrants or four parts. They may ask if your pain is in the:

  • Right upper quadrant.
  • Left upper quadrant.
  • Right lower quadrant.
  • Left lower quadrant.

What does abdominal pain location tell you?

Location is an important clue to your abdominal pain, though it’s not the only factor. It may indicate which organs are involved. For example, pain in the upper right quadrant may indicate a problem with your liver or gallbladder.

However, your healthcare provider will also want to know more about what your pain feels like, how often you feel it, and how severe it is. This will give them additional clues about what kind of condition you may have.

Possible Causes

Abdominal pain in different regions may indicate different conditions.

Why does my stomach hurt?

There are numerous reasons for abdominal pain. It may be related to digestion, injury, infection or disease. It may come from an organ inside, or from the muscles or skin in your abdominal wall. Or it may have spread from somewhere else nearby.

Your healthcare provider will ask you detailed questions about your pain to determine the cause. How bad it feels doesn’t necessarily indicate how serious it is. Some common, transient conditions can be intense, and some life-threatening conditions may feel mild.

What are the most common causes of abdominal pain?

Most causes are temporary and not serious. They may have to do with digestion, menstruation or a passing virus. For example:

Digestive issues

Abdominal pain after eating may be due to:

  • Indigestion.
  • Gas and gas pain.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Food allergies and intolerances.
  • Food poisoning.

Irritation or infection in your organs can cause temporary inflammation, such as:

  • Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu).
  • Peptic ulcer disease.
  • Chronic acid reflux (GERD).
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI).
Female reproductive cycle

If you have a uterus, you might experience occasional pain from:

  • Menstrual cramps.
  • Ovulation pain.

What are the more serious causes of abdominal pain?

Sometimes abdominal pain indicates a serious medical condition that will require treatment. Pain in different regions may indicate different organs are involved. For example:

Right upper quadrant

Your upper right abdomen is home to your liver, gallbladder and bile ducts. Your right kidney is in the back. The first sections of your small and large intestines also pass through.

Upper right abdominal pain is most likely related to liver disease or gallbladder disease, such as:

  • Hepatitis (alcoholic, toxic, metabolic, viral or autoimmune).
  • Gallstones.
  • Cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation).
  • Bile duct cancer, stones and strictures.
  • Gallbladder cancer.
  • Liver cancer.

It could also be a localized problem in your duodenum, ascending colon or right kidney, such as a:

  • Kidney infection.
  • Kidney stone.
  • Duodenal ulcer.
  • Large bowel obstruction.
Left upper quadrant

Your upper left abdomen is home to your stomach, pancreas and spleen. Your left kidney is in the back of your abdominal cavity, and your heart and left lung are right above it.

Upper left abdominal pain could mean:

  • Pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas).
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Splenomegaly (enlarged spleen).
  • Gastritis.
  • Stomach ulcer.
  • Bile reflux.
  • Stomach cancer.
  • Kidney infection.
  • Kidney stone.

If the pain is referred from your chest, it could be from:

  • Heartburn.
  • Angina.
  • Noncardiac chest pain.
  • Heart attack.
  • Pericarditis.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Pleurisy.
  • Pulmonary embolism.
Lower abdomen

Your lower abdomen has most of your small intestine and large intestine. Pain here is most likely to be related to gastrointestinal diseases. It could also be related to your ureters, ovaries or uterus.

Abdominal causes include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Functional dyspepsia.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis).
  • Large or small bowel obstruction.
  • Small intestine cancer.
  • Colon cancer.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  • Peritonitis.
  • Mesenteric lymphadenitis.
  • Intestinal (mesenteric) ischemic syndrome.
  • Hernia.
  • Kidney stones.

Pain referred from the pelvic organs could be due to:

  • Endometriosis.
  • Ovarian cysts.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Ectopic pregnancy.
  • Ovarian cancer.
  • Uterine cancer.

Left lower quadrant

Pain that is specifically in your lower left abdomen is most often related to diverticulosis and diverticulitis of the colon. Diverticula (small outpouchings in the bowel wall) can occur throughout your colon, but they usually develop in the lower left part.

Right lower quadrant

Pain that is specifically in your lower right abdomen may be related to your appendix. It could be inflammation (appendicitis) or more rarely, appendix cancer.

General pain

Other, general causes of stomach pain include:

  • Stress (psychosomatic pain).
  • Visceral hypersensitivity.
  • Abdominal bloating.
  • Traumatic injuries.
  • Muscle strain.
  • Shingles.

Care and Treatment

How is abdominal pain diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask you detailed questions about your pain. They’ll want to know:

  • Where you feel it.
  • What it feels like.
  • How long you’ve had it.
  • If it comes and goes.
  • If it’s getting worse.
  • If it stays in one place or moves.
  • What makes it better or worse.
  • What other symptoms you have.

From your answers, your healthcare provider will try to determine if you need emergency treatment. Sometimes your healthcare provider will be able to tell right away that your pain is temporary and not serious. Sometimes they may suspect a more serious condition and may want to run some tests. And sometimes they won’t be able to solve the mystery on the first visit. Your pain may subside, or you may have to return for further investigation.

How do you relieve abdominal pain?

Stomach pain has a wide variety of causes and treatments. Some conditions, such as gallstones or appendicitis, may require surgery. Others, such as ulcers or infections, may be eased with medicine. And sometimes you may just have to get through a bout of stomach flu or a kidney stone until it passes.

If you don’t know what’s causing your abdominal pain, it’s important to find out, especially if it doesn’t go away on its own. Remember that even mild cases can be serious. However, if you have a pretty good idea that your stomachache is related to digestion, you can begin by treating yourself with:

  • Bowel rest. Stop eating, or only eat easy-to-digest foods like crackers or bananas.
  • Hydration. Drink plenty of water or a hydration formula.
  • Heat therapy. Try a warm water bottle or a soak in the bath.
  • Home remedies. Try licorice for gas, ginger for indigestion, or peppermint to help relax your intestinal muscles.

When to Call the Doctor

When should I see my healthcare provider about my abdominal pain?

Always see your doctor if your pain is unexplained, persistent or severe, or if you have been injured or are pregnant.

Also, see your doctor if your pain is accompanied by any of these symptoms:

  • Persistent fever.
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting.
  • Blood in your stools, urine or vomit.
  • Swelling and tenderness to the touch.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin).
  • Pain in any other part of your body.
  • Shortness of breath or symptoms that get worse with exertion.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

So many things can cause abdominal pain that it’s inevitable we’ll all experience it from time to time. Common causes, such as gas and indigestion, menstrual cramps, or even food poisoning and the flu may be instantly recognizable. Other causes may be more mysterious. And sometimes stomach pain is a sign of an unsuspected or serious condition.

Your healthcare provider will always be interested in your abdominal pain, especially if it’s unexplained. Common causes are often easy to treat, and having your condition diagnosed can help you find relief. Even if your stomach pain is mild, make sure you see your healthcare provider if it doesn’t go away, keeps coming back or gets worse.

Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis) : Symptoms, Causes & Diagnosis


What is stomach flu (gastroenteritis)?

Gastroenteritis is inflammation (irritation) of your intestines. People usually call it a “stomach bug” or “stomach flu,” even though it’s not limited to just influenza. Although most people report stomach pain, gastroenteritis can also involve your small intestines and colon.

How common is stomach flu (gastroenteritis)?

Stomach flu is common. More than 20 million people get sick each year in the U.S. with an intestinal upset. Viruses are the most common cause of stomach flu.

Who gets stomach flu (gastroenteritis)?

Anyone can come down with stomach flu. But you’re more likely to get it if you’re in a place where lots of people share living or dining spaces, such as:

  • Children in daycare or at camp.
  • Nursing homes.
  • Students living in dormitories.
  • Military personnel.
  • Prisons.
  • Psychiatric wards.
  • Cruise-ship passengers.
  • Travelers to less-developed countries.
  • Anyone with immune compromised state.

Symptoms and Causes

What causes stomach flu (gastroenteritis)?

You can get sick from bacteria, parasites, toxins and viruses. Viruses are the most common cause of so-called stomach flu. Norovirus is often the culprit for adults, while rotavirus is frequently to blame for stomach flu in children. These viruses mostly infect the lining of the small intestine.

What are the symptoms of stomach flu (gastroenteritis)?

The main symptom of gastroenteritis is diarrhea. When the GI tract becomes infected during gastroenteritis, multiple activities from the virus brings on diarrhea. Malabsorption occurs because of the destruction of the gut cells called enterocytes. The virus can also disrupt the reasbsorption of water and induce secretory diarrhea, which is responsible for the loose liquidy stools.

  • Abdominal (belly) pain or cramping.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fever.
  • Headache and body aches.

Can stomach flu cause a fever?

You might get a fever when you have stomach flu. A fever can be a sign that your body is fighting an infection. You may feel sweaty, clammy or have the chills. You may also get a headache or ache all over your body.

Is the stomach flu worse in some people?

In general, most people recover quickly from the stomach flu. Symptoms can be worse in babies, young children, older adults or anyone of any age that is immune-compromised. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration (not enough water in the body) within just a short period of time, depending on the circumstances. Signs of dehydration include:

  • Extreme thirst.
  • Less urine output than usual (no wet diapers for three hours or more in infants).
  • Urine that is darker in color.
  • Sunken cheeks or eyes.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness upon standing.
  • General weakness.

Why does stomach flu hit at night?

In some people, the stomach flu symptoms may be more pronounced at night due to their circadian rhythm. At night an increase in immune system activity releases infection-fighting chemicals. These can cause inflammation that make you feel worse as you battle your flu.

Is stomach flu (gastroenteritis) contagious?

Viral stomach flu spreads easily to others. You can catch a stomach flu virus any time of the year, but the common norovirus is more widespread from November to April when people tend to be more indoors. Because a variety of viruses can cause stomach flu, you might get different versions of gastroenteritis many times throughout life.

It’s spread from person to person by coming into contact with tiny, invisible particles from a sick person’s stool or vomit if you:

  • Touch a surface and come in contact with the germs and you touch food or your mouth.
  • Eat or drink food or beverages that have a sick person’s germs.
  • Have close contact with someone who has stomach flu (even if they have no symptoms).

Diagnosis and Tests

When should you see a doctor for stomach flu (gastroenteritis)?

You’ll likely be able to fight off stomach flu virus without seeing a healthcare provider. If you have signs of dehydration (dark, infrequent/low urine output, dry mucous membranes, lightheadedness, dizziness, etc.), you should seek medical care right away. Also call your healthcare provider if you have:

  • High fever.
  • Bloody diarrhea.
  • Severe pain.
  • Symptoms that fail to improve/resolve over time.

How is stomach flu diagnosed?

Healthcare providers often can diagnose stomach flu from your symptoms. But your provider may want to rule out other illnesses with some tests:

  • Stool samples: Tests look for bacteria, viruses or parasites in your stool
  • Sigmoidoscopy: A doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera from the anus into the lower large intestine to look for signs of inflammatory bowel disease. The sigmoidoscopy is a 15-minute procedure that doesn’t usually require sedation.

Management and Treatment

How can I get rid of stomach flu (gastroenteritis)?

The most important things you can do to feel better faster are rest and staying well hydrated. Between diarrhea and vomiting, your body loses a lot of water and electrolytes. If your belly is still upset, you can take small, frequent sips of water, sports drinks, juice or broth, or chew on ice chips. It is important to know that water alone may not be enough to keep you hydrated in severe cases of diarrhea so make sure to take in electrolyte balance hydration (sports drinks, Gatorade®, Pedialyte®, etc). Eat a normal diet when you feel hungry again.


How can stomach flu (gastroenteritis) be prevented?

Since stomach flu can be caused by multiple factors, getting the flu vaccination alone isn’t enough to protect you from gastroenteritis. Children should follow the standard vaccination schedule and get the rotavirus vaccination when indicated. This vaccination can protect your child from getting sick from the rotovirus but not all children can receive this oral vaccination, so please check with your pediatrician before doing so.

You can take other steps to reduce your risk of getting stomach flu:

Practice good handwashing

When you’re sick, the virus spreads from anything that comes in contact with virus-infected feces. Good handwashing is vital in stopping the spread. Viruses left on hands can easily spread to surfaces, food and people you touch. It’s important to wash your hands well after you go to the bathroom, change a diaper, touch any bathroom surfaces and before you handle food.

Be careful with food

You can catch stomach flu from contaminated food or water, or pass it on to someone else. To keep viruses out of your food:

  • Clean kitchen surfaces with a disinfectant (cleaner that kills germs), especially when working with raw meat or eggs.
  • Keep raw meat, eggs and poultry away from foods that are eaten raw.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat, eggs and shellfish.
  • Consume only pasteurized dairy products and apple juice. Pasteurization is a heating process that kills germs.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes when traveling, especially in developing countries. Unfamiliar germs that live in the water can make you sick.
  • · Stop making food for others when you’re sick and for two days after symptoms are gone.

Clean sick areas

Clean anything that you may have touched while you were sick with stomach flu. Wash laundry with hot water and dry with high heat. Be sure to use a disinfectant to clean areas where a sick person vomited or had diarrhea.

Outlook / Prognosis

How long does stomach flu last?

The stomach flu usually lasts less than a week. Be sure to stay home if you have symptoms, and continue to practice good handwashing afterward. The virus can still be in your stool for up to two weeks after you’ve stopped having symptoms, so be extra careful with your bathroom habits. Always wash your hands after having a bowel movement, and wash any soiled fabrics in hot soapy water.

Living With

What can I do at home to feel better?

Get plenty of rest and keep drinking lots of liquids until your symptoms pass. Drinks that have both sugar and salt (like sports drinks) help your intestine absorb fluids better and replace the lost electrolytes. Nibbling salty crackers along with ginger ale or a similar sweet drink could also help. Avoid dairy products like cow’s milk for one or two days — milk can make diarrhea worse due to temporary lactose intolerance that often come with gastroenteritis.

To control severe diarrhea, your healthcare provider may recommend an over-the-counter medication such bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol® or Kaopectate®). You shouldn’t use these medicines if you have a high fever or bloody diarrhea, which can be signs of deeper infection from bacteria or a parasite. Antidiarrheal medications aren’t safe for children to use. Instead, see your healthcare provider for treatment.

Nearly everyone gets a bout of stomach flu at some point. It’s not pleasant, but it usually passes in less than a week. Give yourself time to rest and recover before you go back to your daily activities. Fortunately you can take steps to avoid the likelihood of passing it on to others or picking it up again in the future.

Constant discomfort in the abdomen, causes and treatment

Between the words "permanent discomfort in the abdomen" (take at least the same accumulation of gases!) And "permanent deterioration in the quality of human life" an equal sign can be safely put. Another thing is that it is not always possible, as they say, to “get to the bottom” of the true causes.

If you ask a hundred people the question “How do you think your stomach hurts and for what reason?”, then hardly anyone will find it difficult to answer. In fact, a person who at least once in his life did not complain about the state of his digestive tract - perhaps, there simply will not be such people in Nature.

Surely, in this case, each of the respondents would give his own unique answer. One would complain of diarrhoea, another would complain of an irregular bowel movement, a third would mention increased gas production or even use the medical term flatulence, a fourth would mention a feeling of heaviness, and a fifth...

In general, there are a lot of various symptoms of the state “a person has a stomach ache”.

There are many reasons for these symptoms to occur. Non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene, stale food, "unsuccessful" combination of products - may well cause a feeling of heaviness or excessive formation of gases in the intestines. And even the most correct food, but, as they say, intercepted on the run, can lead to the same bouts of flatulence.

When such problems of varying severity occur only from time to time, as a rule, the cause is clarified quickly, and henceforth the person will try to avoid this cause. For example, wash your hands before eating, reduce portions of vegetables and legumes that are fraught with "excess gases". But if constant discomfort in the abdomen becomes a “common thing” - this is worth paying the most serious attention to. For the simple reason that sometimes a very serious illness can be hidden behind every symptom or unpleasant condition.


Between the words “constant discomfort in the abdomen” (take at least the same accumulation of gases!) And “constant deterioration in the quality of human life”, an equal sign can be boldly put. Another thing is that it is not always possible, as they say, to “get to the bottom” of the true causes.

Quite often it happens that even the most reliable research tools do not reveal the presence of any infections and pathologies in a person. A somewhat paradoxical state arises: a person feels symptoms, but there seems to be no reason for them.

There is actually a reason. A very likely diagnosis in this case is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). At its core, this is his chronic functional disorder. And the symptoms of it just can be increased gas formation, and pain and cramps in the abdomen, a feeling of heaviness, problems with the stool.

Why does this syndrome occur?

According to doctors, it occurs as a result of a combination of several reasons. Here and a certain violation of the nervous connections between the intestines and the areas of the brain that “lead” its work. Here and hereditary predisposition, and hypodynamia, and, of course, malnutrition.

Another reason to focus on is the unstable emotional state of a person. Reason with positive feedback: emotional "heaviness" in the form of overwork and stress leads, among other things, to constant discomfort in the abdomen, to excessive gas formation, heaviness in the abdomen. Well, “heaviness in the stomach” in its various variations leads to further “heaviness” in the form of stress. The circle closes. Is there a way to break it?

In the treatment of IBS, doctors recommend removing the symptoms of the disease, and to treat the cause of the syndrome - the drug Kolofort. According to the instructions for the use of Colofort, the drug restores the nervous regulation of the intestine and normalizes its motility. With a course intake, Colofort reduces the intensity and frequency of abdominal pain, reduces the manifestations of flatulence, and also normalizes the frequency and shape of the stool both with constipation and diarrhea.


Successful treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, of course, is impossible without proper organization of your menu.

Foods that cause increased gas formation (flatulence) should be removed from the diet. First of all, these are legumes, radishes, onions and garlic. Of course, drinks that already initially contain carbon dioxide, that is, carbonated drinks and beer, should also be included here.

However, flatulence can also occur as a result of improper use of ordinary liquids, if you drink them through a straw: after all, in this case, a person simply swallows "excessive" gas. And another “great” reason for increased gas formation is chewing gum.

Your doctor will provide you with specific nutritional advice.

However, it's not just about food. If one of the reasons why the intestines go into an “irritable state” is a lack of physical activity, then this activity should be increased. At least with daily walks. After all, this is not only oxygen for tissues, but also a great way to make your emotional state much more stable. And then the chances of “disturbing” both flatulence and other unpleasant symptoms will become noticeably less!

Abdominal discomfort possible causes

According to experts, almost one in five adults on the planet can suffer from abdominal discomfort due to IBS.

The gastrointestinal tract is the longest system in our body. The oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, various sections of the intestines and several more full-fledged "participants" of the process - all of them are entrusted with the burden of the most important mission of providing the body with energy and "building materials". And it is not surprising, therefore, that he can “give” a lot of different sensations. Not all of these sensations are pleasant: sometimes you have to feel discomfort in the stomach.

Actually, there are many options for describing the symptoms of discomfort in the abdomen: it’s just pain, and a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, and bloating, and an urgent need to empty the intestines, and sometimes exactly the opposite: the feeling that for some reason " to be released "this same intestine stubbornly" does not want "...

It is worth recognizing that we create many of the prerequisites for feeling discomfort in the abdomen ourselves. Carbonated drinks “perfectly” contribute to the feeling of bloating, the stomach can “signal” pain with excessive consumption of spicy, salty and fried foods, heaviness in the intestines - that you should not eat so much at night. In general, there are a lot of “man-made” causes, and even more symptoms following them.

When pain in the abdomen, its bloating, a feeling of heaviness appear in a “one-time order” - the reason for this is also, quite possibly, a single one: stale food that is not suitable for you or simply its excessive “heaviness”. But if the feeling of discomfort in the abdomen in one form or another becomes a constant companion, this is a serious reason for consulting a specialist. Frequent constipation and diarrhea, pain, cramps, swelling and other symptoms - all this can be the result of diseases of the digestive tract, sometimes very serious, and it makes no sense to delay the establishment of reasons.


But sometimes it also happens that even the most thorough examination does not reveal any infections or pathologies in the stomach and its "vicinities", and, thus, as if there were no reasons for pain or heaviness. However, with all that, pain, heaviness, bloating or other symptoms and discomfort . .. remain! As if for no reason, but this does not make it any easier for the patient.

In fact, a very likely diagnosis in this case is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In fact, this is his chronic functional disorder. Which just can serve as a cause for pain, and for bloating, and for constipation with diarrhea, depending on which “scenario” the disease develops.

Thus, IBS is, in a sense, diagnosed by exclusion.

In fact, the disease is more than common. According to experts, almost one in five adults on the planet can suffer from abdominal discomfort due to IBS.

What is the cause of IBS? Again, according to doctors, the basis is a combination of a number of factors. This and some disturbances in the work of the nerve connections between the intestines and the parts of the brain that control its work. And genetic predisposition. And a sedentary lifestyle.

A separate and very important factor is the instability of the emotional background. Yes, the "heaviness of life", constant stress and overwork are quite capable of leading to a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, and bloating, and other characteristic symptoms of "abdominal discomfort".

In the treatment of IBS, doctors recommend removing the symptoms of the disease, and to treat the cause of the syndrome - the drug Kolofort. According to the instructions of Colofort, the drug restores the nervous regulation of the intestine and normalizes its motility. With a course intake, Colofort reduces the intensity and frequency of abdominal pain, bloating, and also normalizes the frequency and shape of the stool both with constipation and diarrhea.


Of course, hardly any symptom of abdominal discomfort can be eliminated if you do not change your diet in the right direction.

At the same time, it is important not only what exactly enters our stomach - but also with what frequency and in what form.

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