There are many issues that can cause or contribute to stomach or abdominal pain. Because the gastrointestinal tract is interconnected, an issue that affects one portion of the GI tract can cause symptoms to occur elsewhere as well, which can make diagnosis problematic in some cases. Having an evaluation by a skilled and experienced gastroenterologist is the best way to determine the underlying cause so the most appropriate treatment can be provided to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Some of the most common causes of abdominal pain include:
Chronic or recurrent pain, as well as acute and severe pain, should be evaluated right away to prevent serious problems from developing.
That depends on the type of pain, its frequency, and other symptoms that may be present, such as fever, blood in the stool, vomiting or diarrhea, as well as the patient’s personal and family medical history. At GI Health, the diagnostic process always begins with thorough history taking and a physical exam. Diagnostic techniques used to evaluate stomach pain include diagnostic imaging X-Rays, CT scan, MRI, and ultrasound), upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, blood tests and stool samples. In some cases, tissue samples (biopsies) may also be taken during an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy to help identify the cause of pain and other symptoms. Breath tests can also be used to help diagnose issues like ulcers and food allergies or sensitivities.
Treatment for stomach pain will depend on the underlying cause of symptoms and other factors. Some causes of pain like mild acid reflux or infections may be treated with medication, while other causes may require minimally invasive or other surgical procedures to correct. Some diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) require long-term management using medications and lifestyle changes to keep symptoms under control. Each treatment plan will be carefully designed based on the specific needs of the individual patient, and for chronic conditions, ongoing monitoring may be used to ensure treatment stays on track and optimized for the patient’s evolving needs.