Stomach aches are a very common ailment with a vast myriad of causes. While some belly issues cause temporary and minor discomfort, some more acute or chronic stomach aches can be indicative of an underlying issue and require treatment by a qualified medical professional.
Abdominal pain can be challenging to diagnose since there are so many potential causes. Answering certain questions to verbalize the pain can be a powerful tool to help your provider determine root causes, and this can lead the way to creating an effective treatment plan.
Abdominal pain can be described as taking many forms from a dull ache to a severe stabbing sensation. It can be localized to a certain region of the abdomen or it can radiate to other parts of the body. Sometimes abdominal pain will be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or vomiting. These other symptoms need to be monitored by a physician to ensure they don’t cause dehydration, which could lead to more life threatening situations. The pain can be either alleviated or aggravated by certain activities or body positions and could be related to diet or injury. Being able to rate your pain on a pain scale is also helpful in medical assessment.
While abdominal pain can be symptomatic of a wide range of illnesses, we’ve compiled a list of 3 common causes of sharp stomach pain.
1: Digestive Issues
Digestive issues are among the most common causes of abdominal pain and can take the form of dull aches to sharp, stabbing pain. While many digestive issues are linked to diet, they can be symptomatic of something more serious, so getting an accurate diagnosis by a certified medical professional is crucial. The three most common forms of digestive symptoms are constipation, gas, and indigestion.
Constipation occurs when stool consistency becomes hard, leading to bowel movements that are less frequent and accompanied by pain and discomfort. A physician might recommend increasing fiber and water consumption, and taking over-the-counter medications like stool softeners to help maintain regularity.
Intestinal gas can cause sharp stomach pain. Abdominal gas is defined as a mix of odorless vapors, including oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen and methane. It forms in the digestive system and is released by the body orally (belching) and rectally (flatulence). When there is a build up of intestinal gas that isn’t properly released, it can lead to bloating.
Indigestion, also called dyspepsia, can cause sharp stomach pains or burning sensations in the belly. It can often be remedied by portion control and avoiding greasy or spicy foods. While indigestion can be a minor issue, if it happens often, it can also be associated with more serious underlying abdominal conditions like GERD or ulcers.
2: Abdominal Issues
Sharp pain in the stomach can be symptomatic of more serious abdominal issues. Diseases like
appendicitis, diverticulitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel disease (IBD), and kidney stones are among some of the most common abdominal conditions and diseases that can be the cause of stomach pain.
Appendicitis is among the most serious potential issue. It is defined as inflammation of the appendix usually caused by a blockage. As bacteria multiply at the source of the blockage, inflammation increases. If left untreated, appendicitis pain can become severe, leading to a ruptured appendix.
Diverticulitis is a condition characterized by inflamed pouches in the lining of the digestive system. GERD is chronic acid reflux. IBS is a chronic condition that involves the large intestine. Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and acid salts that stick together in concentrated urine. While these conditions don’t typically require hospitalization to diagnose or monitor, they do require medical treatment and can be controlled by medication long term.
3: Pelvic Issues
Sharp abdominal pain can be symptomatic of pelvic health issues such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and urinary tract infections (UTI).
Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can cause severe abdominal pain, infertility, and heavy menstrual periods.
PID is caused by sexual transmitted bacteria entering the reproductive tract and causing infection of the female reproductive organs. Symptoms include pain in the lower abdomen, odorous vaginal discharge, and fever.
UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary system. They can cause sharp abdominal pain, cramping, and foul smelling urine. If left untreated, they can lead to more serious infections of the bladder.
BASS Medical Group
At Bass Medical Group, we are dedicated to partnering with our patients in taking control of their health and wellness. At our urgent care facilities, we are committed to providing the highest level of care and making accurate diagnosis to get you on your way to healing and recovery. We offer resources to diagnose and treat a wide variety of abdominal pain.