Top 10 Common Causes of Abdominal Pain

Digestive problems are the primary cause of abdominal pain. Irregularities and discomfort in any part of the abdomen or any organ can lead to pain that spreads throughout the entire area. The pain or discomfort that occurs between the pelvic region and chest is referred to as abdominal pain. Apart from indigestion and muscle strain, there are other various, common causes of abdominal pain. 

Abdominal pain can be achy, crampy, intermittent, dull or sharp. It’s also known as a stomachache. Abdominal pain can be acute, and onset can be sudden, and the pain sometimes can be long-lasting.  The diagnosis of the pain can be done by understanding the characteristics of pain, such as duration, timing, and location.  

Infections caused by a virus, bacteria also affect the stomach and intestine that lead to significant abdominal pain. In our post we break down some of the types of pain along with the top 10 most common causes of abdominal pain.

Types of abdominal pain

Abdominal pain can be defined as localized, cramp-like, or colicky.

  • Localized pain is due to the issue of specific organ and is confined to one area of the abdomen. Stomach ulcers are the primary causes of localized pain. 
  • Cramp-like is associated with constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, and bloating. 
  • The complication of the female reproductive systems such as menstruation and miscarriage can also lead to cramp-like pain. 
  • Colicky pain is associated with some serious conditions, including kidney and gallstones. This pain can occur abruptly and feel like a severe muscle spasm. 

Top 10 Common Causes of abdominal pain

1) Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a longstanding problem that includes persistent acid reflux. It is the major cause of heartburn, nausea, and abdominal pain. There are various complications linked with GERD, including inflammation of the esophagus. Treatment is available for this common digestive problem. 

2) Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)

The pressure is exerted on the colon by constipation that causes abdominal pain. In gastroenteritis, abdominal pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and fluid-filled stools. Symptoms caused by virus and bacteria can be resolved within a few days. If symptoms persist longer than 2 days, then they may refer to severe health issues, including inflammatory bowel disease. You should seek medical attention if you are worried about your symptoms.

3) Gas

Bacteria present in the small intestine break down foods and leads to the production of gas, which is intolerant for the body. When the pressure of the gas in the intestine increases, it leads to sharp abdominal pain. The gas causes restriction and tightness in the abdomen and also causes flatulence or belching. 

Dairy products mostly cause gas, and some cereals like oats also contribute to the production of gas in the abdominal region. Stretching and walking may help to relieve the pressure. Over-the-counter products may help soothe some of the symptoms of Gas.

4) Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Various foods are not digested by people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. The reason is unknown for this problem. Abdominal pain is the major symptom for many people suffering from IBS and is often relieved after a bowel movement. Nausea, cramping, gas, and bloating are other symptoms associated with IBS. 

5) Acid reflux

The backward movement of stomach acids towards the throat is acid reflux. This acid reflux leads to abdominal pain and the burning sensation in the stomach. Major abdominal symptoms associated with acid reflux include cramps or bloating. 

6) Vomiting

When vomiting, stomach acids move backward through the digestive tract & irritate the tissues on the way up which causes pain. Muscle soreness caused by the act of vomiting also contributes to pain in the abdominal region. This will diminish over time as the symptoms ease.

7) Gastritis and Appendicitis

Swelling and inflammation of stomach lining can lead to severe abdominal pain. 

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, which is a 3.5-inch tube of tissue that is attached to the large intestine. The pain of appendicitis commences with dull pain near the belly button that becomes sharper and moves to the muscle tension in the lower abdomen.

8) Food Intolerances

Food intolerance occurs when the body is unable to digest certain food items which are then broken by bacteria of stomach and intestine that leads to the production of gas. Presence of a large amount of undigested materials causes the production of large amount of gas which increases pressure and causes pain in the abdomen. 

9) Stomach or peptic ulcers

Persistent abdominal pain is caused by the ulcers and wounds that are unable to heal. It can also cause weight loss, bloating, and indigestion. The most common cause of stomach and peptic ulcers are H. pylori bacteria. Other than this overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) and Excess stomach acid from tumors (gastrinomas) can also cause stomach ulcers. 

10) Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder and occurs when a person is allergic to gluten, a protein present in many grains, such as barley and wheat, this causes inflammation in the small intestine and resulting in abdominal pain. 

Bloating and diarrhea are frequent symptoms. Malnutrition occurs due to this problem leads to weight loss and exhaustion. It is advised to avoid gluten in people who are allergic to gluten. 

Crohn’s disease results in the inflammation of digestive tract lining and also causes gas, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea. 

Some other common causes of abdominal pain:

  • Pulled or strained muscles
  • Menstrual cramps or endometriosis
  • Urinary tract and bladder infections


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