Constant Stomach Pain: Why and What to Do

We’ve all had the occasional stomach ache, but chronic stomach pain is not normal. Having constant stomach pain is not only annoying and uncomfortable, but also a clue that something isn’t quite right. Constant stomach pain can be caused by many different reasons and may not even involve the stomach at all. Although the pain may feel as if it’s coming from the stomach, it’s possible some other abdominal organ may be the culprit. The liver, pancreas, stomach, gall bladder, small intestine, and the colon all occupy space in the abdominal cavity and any one of them could be sending out the pain signals.

Why Do I Have Constant Stomach Pain?

There are dozens of possible catalysts for constant stomach pain. Your continual abdominal pains may be caused by something minor as overeating or could be a result of something more serious such as tumors. Here are some of the most common causes.

1. Stress

Stress can create a multitude of health problems, including constant stomach pain. Acid reflux is a common result of stress and stress may also cause a reduction in the production of prostaglandins, a protective coating that helps protect the stomach from acids.

2. Intolerance

  • Lactose intolerance is a common ailment that affects millions of people. Lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products, may cause mild but constant stomach pain, bloating, burping, gas, or diarrhea. The cure for this one is simple: drink lactose-free milk or avoid dairy products altogether.
  • Gluten intolerance: Gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley. Some people cannot ingest gluten without suffering stomach pain, bloating, gas, fatigue, and diarrhea. This is because the small intestine is damaged by the gluten and is unable to absorb nutrients. Known as celiac disease in its most severe form, gluten intolerance can usually be controlled with diet.

3. Gallstones

Sometimes small stones form in the gall bladder which is located in the upper right portion of the abdomen. These stones can block the duct that opens into the intestines and pain results. You may notice the pain particularly after eating a fatty meal.

4. Diverticulitis

There are small pockets located in the colon and the intestines, known as diverticula. Sometimes these pockets become clogged with fecal matter or other foreign materials and that can cause irritation which results in pain.

Oftentimes a high fiber diet helps; medications may ease the symptoms; in more serious cases, surgery may be necessary.

5. Ulcers

Ulcers are another common cause of constant abdominal pain. These are irritations in the stomach or the front area of the small intestine. Ulcers frequently are a result of bacteria and can often be treated with medication.

6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Known as IBD, inflammatory bowel disease is caused by inflammation in the intestines. It can result in constant stomach aches, rectal bleeding, and diarrhea. Ulcerative colitis and Crone’s disease are both forms of IBD. This condition needs to be monitored closely because it can escalate to more severe problems later on, including cancer.

These are just a few of the conditions that may be causing your stomach to hurt. Other instigators of stomach pain include endometriosis, parasites, pancreatitis, side effects from medications, irritable bowel syndrome and many more. Anyone who has chronic stomach pains should seek medical advice and discover exactly what is causing the problem.

Preparing for Your Doctor’s Visit

It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly what is creating your chronic stomach pain so the doctor will have a number of questions for you. Here are some of the things he’ll ask. Think about these points ahead of time so you have your answers ready.

Where is the pain located? Is it all over or more centrally located on the right or left side, or in the upper or lower portion of your abdomen?

What type of pain is it? Does it come and go or is it nonstop? Does it feel sharp like a knife or is it a dull, continuous ache. Is it a burning sensation? Does it vary in intensity?

Does it seem to be effected by foods you eat? Does the pain get worse if you eat greasy or spicy foods?

Do certain activities or exercises make the pain worse?

Do your bowl movements affect the pain?

Are you having any other symptoms? Have you experienced diarrhea, bloody stools, fever, or other aches and pains?

Keeping a symptom diary can help you analyze your situation. Each time you experience the stomach pain, take note of what you were doing when the pain started, what you ate last, and how long the episode of pain lasts. Knowing the answers to these questions can help your doctor make the correct diagnosis and find the most effective treatment for you.

Coping With Constant Stomach Pain

Once you have been diagnosed, treatment should help. Unfortunately, treatment doesn’t always make the pain disappear completely. There are coping methods that will help you deal with the chronic pain.

  • Relaxation techniques can often help ease the severity of the pain, as can meditation exercises, and deep breathing techniques.
  • Eat small, frequent and light meals to reduce the stress of digestive track and prevent its irritation.
  • Eat your meal according to schedule and never skip meals. Besides, add fresh, various vegetables and fruits to your diet to get the needed nutrition.
  • Try heat compress by using a heating pad or a hot moist cloth on your abdomen to soothe your pain.
  • Use 2 fingers to give your abdomen a massage in circular motions.
  • Eat some yogurt and drink cinnamon tea, peppermint tea or ginger tea to fight against stomach pain.
  • Get plenty of rest so your stomach has the time to heal itself.
  • Get away from stimulants, like alcohol, coffee, drugs, spicy or raw foods.