A stomach ache generally refers to cramps or a dismal ache in the stomach (abdomen). It is usually short lived and caused by a slight upset or bug. Serious abdominal pain is a bigger cause for concern. If it starts unexpectedly and suddenly, it should be considered a medical emergency, particularly if the pain is concentrated in a specific area, such as the lower right side of your stomach (this might be your appendix). Phone your doctor as soon as possible or go to your nearby hospital if this is the case.
This subject covers the most frequent causes for:
- Unexpected stomach cramps.
- Sudden, serious stomach pain in a specific area of your belly.
- Stomach pain that is long-term or that keeps recurring.
Stomach Cramps – Trapped Wind
Abdominal cramps are usually a result of confined bloating and wind. This is a particularly frequent problem that can be humiliating but is easily dealt with – your pharmacist will be able to endorse a product which can be purchased over the counter to alleviate the wind.
Stomach Cramps and Diarrhoea
If your abdominal cramps have started in recent times and you also have diarrhoea, the cause is possibly a stomach bug (known as gastroenteritis). This could indicate you have a virus-related or microbial infection of the belly and bowel, which your body will generally battle off after a few days. A common reason for gastroenteritis is a norovirus.
Serious diarrhoea and abdominal cramps that make you feel very sick (for instance, causing anxieties or a fever) could be because of a more severe infection, such as food poisoning. This also generally gets better on its own and doesn’t need to be treated. If your abdominal diarrhoea and cramps carry on, you might have a long-standing disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Unexpected, Severe Stomach Pain
If you have unexpected, unbearable pain in a specific area of your stomach, call your GP instantly or go to your nearby hospital or clinic. It might be a sign of a severe disorder that will quickly get worse without treatment.
Five Tips for a Healthy Stomach
- Eat healthy food and frequently. We spend our working lives guzzling down food between get-togethers and then sitting in front of the television with a take-out in the evenings, but eating this way can lead to issues with your stomach.
- Quit smoking. This can deteriorate the muscle that manages the lower end of the oesophagus (gullet), leading to acid reflux and heartburn.
- Lose extra weight and workout frequently. If you are large, your stomach fat places pressure on your abdominal area and can cause heartburn.