Bloated Stomach Causes And Treatment

By Patricia | October 27, 2009

Gastric problems are a common problem faced by everyone at some time or the other. Some problems may be of a minor nature while others may involve a lot of pain and require treatment. The term gastric pain is usually used to describe any kind of discomfort in the stomach or other organs in the upper abdomen. This is the area that starts below the rib cage and extends up to the navel. The organs situated in the upper abdomen include the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas and gall bladder. Any disorders associated with any of these organs can cause gastric pain.

In both adults and children, gastric pain may be accompanied by stomach bloating heartburn and even headaches. Gastric pain is also a common occurrence during pregnancy. This usually occurs due to the pressure exerted by the growing uterus exerts against the digestive organs. It causes the stomach and other organs to be pushed up against the diaphragm resulting in gastric reflux and pain.

At times, gastric pain may also be caused by conditions elsewhere in the body such as the lungs or the ovaries. At other times, conditions affecting organs within the abdomen may be felt in other areas of the body such as the back pain caused by pancreatitis. To understand gastric pain better one needs to examine the different causes of gastric pain.

Causes:

Gastric pain can be felt anywhere in the upper abdominal region. While in most cases it may be nothing more than a simple matter of indigestion, acidity or heartburn, in many cases it could signify something more serious that would require immediate medical attention. The severity of the pain by no means indicates the seriousness of the condition. Even minor causes such as stomach bloating or distension can result in severe pain. However, even mild pain may be an indication of a serious condition such as appendicitis or even cancer. For this reason it is important to consult your doctor especially in cases where the pain persists for a long time.

The type of pain you experience will help your doctor make a diagnosis of the underlying cause. Generalized pain usually occurs in cases of indigestion, gas or a viral infection. Severe generalized pain may be indicative of a blockage of the intestine. Localized pain on the other hand may be symptomatic of a problem with any of the organs in the abdominal region. Pain that comes in waves, somewhat akin to colic, that is severe and starts and ends in a sudden manner may be caused by gallstones or kidney stones. Cramping pain may be a sign of a bacterial infection in the stomach.

Other possible causes of gastric pain include:

  • Appendicitis
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Cholecystitis or inflammation of the gallbladder
  • Constipation
  • Cancer
  • Dissecting abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Diverticulitis
  • Food poisoning such as salmonella or gastroenteritis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Pancreatitis
  • Shingles
  • Tumors
  • Ulcers

Symptoms:

The symptoms that accompany gastric pain, be they acid indigestion, heartburn, bloating or abdominal distention along with the type of pain, play a big role in the diagnosis of the problem. Diagnosis of the cause of gastric pain can be a tricky affair. The characteristics of the pain you are experiencing and along with the physical examination will help point the doctor in the correct direction. Laboratory tests can help confirm the diagnosis and a suitable course of treatment decided upon.

Some of the characteristics of the pain that need to be considered include:

  • The manner in which the pain begins - A sudden onset of abdominal pain may suggest a blockage of the bile duct by a gallstone or insufficient blood supply to the colon.
  • The location of the pain - Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen may be caused by appendicitis while pain in the lower left side of the abdomen may be a result of diverticulitis. Pain in the upper right side of the abdomen may be due to a gallbladder disorder such as cholecystitis or biliary colic.
  • The pattern of pain - Cramp like pain that occurs in waves may be indicative of an intestinal problem such as a blockage of the intestine. A steady pain that typically lasts for up to several hours at a time may be due to the presence of gallstones. Severe pain that does not let up and radiates from the upper abdomen to the upper back may be due to pancreatitis.
  • The duration of the pain - Pain from irritable bowel syndrome may last for years and appears periodically while biliary colic will last for a few hours only.
  • Factors that both aggravate and relieve the pain are also important considerations.

Gastric pain can be minimized by eating easily digestible foods and drinking lots of fluids. In order to avoid symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea you should eat only those foods that you are comfortable with. Consume small amounts of bland food and drinks at a time. Your doctor will advise you about a proper diet that takes into account your special needs.

Home Remedies:

  • Two of the most commonly used home remedies for gastric pain include garlic soup and lemon juice with water. Garlic soup can be made by grinding together garlic, black pepper, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Add it to water and boil.
  • Lemon juice with warm water should be had first thing in the morning.
  • Drinking large amounts of water throughout the course of the day will go a long way into making things a lot easier for you. A recommended intake of about 6 eight ounce glasses at a minimum on a daily basis should be followed.
  • Herbal teas prepared with some blackberry, mint, chamomile and raspberry will significantly help with effective digestion.
  • Drinking a glass of water with a little bit of baking soda mixed in it will provide almost instant relief. Coconut water is known to be extremely beneficial when it comes to treating gastritis as it provides the stomach with the required amount of rest along with a replenishment of essential nutrients and vitamins. The stomach can actually be returned to a normal condition simply by drinking nothing but coconut water for a period of twenty four hours.
  • Fasting for a period of two or three days will help the stomach to rest and allow the toxic conditions causing any inflammation to subside.
  • Avoid any intake of alcohol, meat, red pepper, sour foods, strong teas and coffee or even pastries and cakes for faster recovery.

For severe pain consult your doctor.

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