Whether it’s a dull ache or sharp cramps, we all suffer with stomach pain occasionally. Whilst they are mostly unserious, stomach pains can cause discomfort and be a nuisance. There is a large variety of causes that can be behind stomach pains, so it is important that we listen to our bodies and try to understand why we are experiencing these symptoms. Here, Rennie explains some of these causes and some actions you may want to take.
Indigestion, or dyspepsia, refers to the pain or discomfort people often experience after eating. Everyone is different and symptoms can vary in type and severity from person to person, but common symptoms include stomach pain, a gurgling and bloated stomach, excessive burping or flatulence, a burning sensation in your abdomen.
During normal digestion the stomach produces acid to break down the food we eat, however, sometimes the stomach lining can become over-sensitive to this acid, causing the painful symptoms of indigestion. Some food and drink, such as fatty foods, alcohol and coffee can exacerbate the issue, as can overindulgence and a stressful lifestyle.
If you think you may suffer from indigestion, try and keep an eye on the foods or situations that may be triggering your symptoms.
Keeping a food diary or noting down if you’ve been feeling stressed could help you to identify the root cause and manage future occurrences. There are also fast, on-the-go remedies, such as Rennie, that you can purchase over the counter in most shops or pharmacies.
Gastroenteritis refers to bacterial and viral infections of the bowels. The resulting stomach pain is sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or a combination of these symptoms. Not normally a serious condition, gastroenteritis often does not require treatment and resolves itself in a few days.
If you are suffering with symptoms from gastroenteritis though, it is vital that you get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids (water or squash), eat when you feel able, and you can use paracetamol if required for pain. Avoid any fizzy drinks or fruit juices. You should also take precautions to avoid passing it on to others, such as washing your hands regularly and staying off work until you have been clear of symptoms for two days.
You should seek medical advice if the condition continues for an unusually long period or if you are suffering from repeated bouts of it – this could indicate that you have an underlying disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Trapped wind is the result of bacteria in the small intestine breaking down food and releasing gas. This increases the pressure in the stomach and bloating, which can be painful. This is almost always not serious, but there are changes you can make if you suffer with trapped wind frequently. Smaller meals, a balanced diet, chewing food more slowly, and drinking peppermint tea can all aid digestion and reduce gas. Alternatively, there are over-the-counter medicines that contain simeticone, such as Rennie Deflatine, that can effectively disperse gas bubbles and relieve trapped wind and bloating.
Constipation is when bowel movements are tough or happen less frequently than. If you haven’t had a poo at least 3 times in a week then you are probably constipated. This is often the result of taking in too little fibre or fluids in your diet, although can also come from use of certain medications and low levels of physical activity. Changing these behaviours can help to prevent constipation, however you should always consult a doctor before stopping any medication.
If the stomach pain you are experiencing is sudden and severe, this can be an indicator of something more serious and you should seek advice from a doctor. Conditions that may cause this pain include:
- Appendicitis: swelling of the appendix, causing extreme pain in the right-hand side of the abdomen. This requires urgent medical attention.
- Stomach ulcers: sores in the lining of your stomach, they are mostly caused by bacteria and overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Kidney stones: stones that form in your kidneys are usually passed in urine, however larger ones can block kidney tubes. This may require treatment in hospital to have them broken up.
- Acute cholecystitis: inflammation of the gallbladder, often the result of gallstones. Will often require removal of the gallbladder.
- Diverticulitis: when small pouches in the intestine become inflamed.
If your stomach pain is frequently recurring, you also may want to seek advice from a doctor. Causes of long-term pain include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): the cause of IBS remains unknown, but it results in some people having difficulty digesting certain foods. This manifests in bouts of stomach ache, typically relieved following a bowel movement.
- Gastritis: inflammation of the stomach lining.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: conditions that cause your gut to become inflamed, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Rennie Deflatine. Always read the label.