What Causes Stomach Aches | Best Cures For a Stomach Ache
What Causes Stomach Aches?
Unfortunately, what causes stomach aches is quite diversely varied. There are as many different varieties of stomach upsets as there are fish in the sea. Fortunately there are just as many effective ways to banish them.
When I would get stomach aches as a child my mother attributed them to “growing pains” but then back then almost every ailment suffered by my brothers, sister, and I were attributed to those pesky growing pains, now that I think about it. And who am I to dispute it? Well, sorry Mom, but things have progressed a lot since then.
Abdominal pain occurs between the chest and pelvis and takes many different forms such as crampy, achy, sharp, burny, or dull. It can last a few minutes or a few days. This pain can be caused by infection, growths or tumors, inflammation, blockages, and intestinal disorders. Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections can often be the culprits as well.
Other Causes of Stomach Pain / Can Stress Cause a Stomach Ache?
Throat, intestinal, and blood infections can cause bacteria to enter your digestive tract resulting in abdominal pain as well as changes in digestion such as
constipation, diarrhea, or heartburn. Other causes of stomach pain can include the stomach flu, and acid reflux. Also, it is very common for stress to cause a stomach ache. If you let stress cause a stomach ache, that stress can end up causing worse problems than normal abdominal pain.
Let’s start with conditions of the digestive track. As previously mentioned heartburn is a common occurrence when your digestive system is stressed. It presents as a burning sensation in your chest or esophagus. Grossly, often bile or stomach acid forces its way into the back of your throat. Bloating and nausea often accompany the other symptoms.
Other gastrointestinal disorders include GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel
syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and lactose intolerance.
More Things That Cause Stomach Aches / Extreme Abdominal Pain Causes
Unrelenting and extreme abdominal pain causes include appendicitis, gallstones, kidney stones, and kidney
infection. Intermittent but severe pain could be ulcers which are open sores on the inner lining of the stomach or urinary tract infection.
Then we lucky women have other maladies to worry about like ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Let me not forget to caution that sometimes the onset of a heart attack can cause pain in the upper left abdomen. This pain often feels like heartburn or a radiating pain which continues to the neck or down one arm.
When to Seek Help for Stomach Pain
Short lived or mild abdominal pain will probably go away on its own, but if it persists, it is time to seek help for your stomach pain. Immediate medical attention is warranted if your pain is so severe that you cannot sit comfortably or need to curl into a ball to alleviate it even slightly. Whatever is causing your stomach aches could be something very serious.
Abdominal Pain Danger Signs
Abdominal danger signs include bloody stools, high temperature, vomiting blood, skin and eye yellowing, swelling or tenderness of the abdomen. Further signs that indicate there is something serious that causes stomach aches for you include difficulty breathing, pain that lasts longer than twenty-four hours, prolonged constipation, a burning sensation when you urinate, total loss of appetite, or unexplained weight loss.
With regards to heartburn, call a doctor if your episodes occur several times per week or are accompanied by chest pain, or if you feel full very quickly and have pain or vomiting. This could indicate a blockage.
The Best Cures for a Stomach Ache
There are the things that cause stomach aches. Now to the preventative side of this equation.
First and foremost are the usual. The best cures for a stomach ache are to eat a healthy diet, drink water frequently, exercise regularly, and eat smaller meals more often. Some of these abdominal occurrences, such as heartburn, are caused by obesity. Excess belly fat puts extra pressure on your abdomen so stomach acid follows the path of least resistance, in this case-up. Monitor your diet. Spicy foods, tomato or citrus products, caffeine, peppermint, and alcohol are often the culprits.
Foods to Help Stomach Aches
On the other hand, a variety of foods can gallop to your rescue. What foods help stomach aches (or help prevent them, rather)?
Ginger is often used to tame nausea and vomiting. It can be taken raw, cooked, steeped in hot water, or as a supplement. For people undergoing chemotherapy ginger is a godsend as it can reduce the severity of the nausea and vomiting.
Chamomile is a well known remedy for upset stomachs. It can be dried and brewed into a tea or taken as a supplement. It has been proven to relieve indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, and colic in babies.
Peppermint has been known to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Taking peppermint oil capsules daily for at least two weeks can relieve IBS symptoms such as stomach pain, gas, and diarrhea. This oil works by relaxing muscles in the digestive tract. One caution here. Those plagued with hiatal hernias, kidney stones, or liver and/or gallbladder disorders should err on the side of caution as peppermint may worsen their symptoms.
Licorice (not Twizzlers!) can reduce indigestion and may even help prevent stomach ulcers. The supplement, technically called deglycyrrhizinated licorice, is preferred over regular licorice because it does not contain a naturally occurring chemical found in whole licorice which often causes high blood pressure, and low potassium levels. The supplement decreases the inflammation in the stomach lining and increases mucus production which protects the tissues from stomach acid. (Think acid reflux).
More Foods That Help a Stomach Ache
Flaxseed helps regulate bowel movements, relieving constipation and thus abdominal pain. Take it as either ground flaxseed meal or as a supplement.
Papaya, that wonder food, can improve digestion and can even be effective for ulcers and parasites. It contains a powerful enzyme called papain (aptly named) which breaks down proteins in your food, making it easier to digest and absorb. Papaya seeds eliminate intestinal parasites which grossly can live in the gut and cause severe abdominal pain as well as malnutrition.
OK here is a weird one. Green bananas, after being cooked, can be given to children to reduce the amount, severity, and duration of diarrhea episodes.
Foods Containing Probiotics and Carbohydrates
Foods that contain probiotics naturally can reduce gas, bloating, or irregular bowel movements. Some of these foods include yogurt containing active bacterial cultures, buttermilk, kefir, miso, kimchi, and kombucha.
Foods such as rice, oatmeal, crackers, and toast or other bland carbohydrates are recommended for upset stomachs.
Can Dehydration Cause Stomach Pain?
Dehydration can cause stomach pain, and is often a problem with those with severe nausea and vomiting. As well, dehydration can cause diarrhea. This causes your body to lose electrolytes which maintain the body’s fluid balance and keep your nervous system on an even keel. The remedy for this is drinking clear liquids which contain sodium and potassium. Water is of course number one, but coconut water, broths, and saltine crackers restore fluid loss and electrolyte imbalances. Sports drinks also work but remember the added sugar and use sparingly.
To Wrap It Up
There you have what causes stomach aches and some cures for a stomach ache, or at least some good suggestions to prevent or help a stomach ache feel better. The everyday causes of stomach pain are usually avoidable by eating well and reducing stress.
I hope that these remedies will help you the next time the old tummy ache decides to swoop down on you. They can be very unpleasant but usually fly away in short order when accosted with one or more of these rescuers. I just caution you to remember that if the symptoms are very severe and/or long lasting it is time to get to the root of the problem.