It’s not always fun to have stomach pains. They can be a serious source of discomfort. If you experience sharp stomach pains, it’s important that you get them checked out by a doctor right away. A number of different conditions and disorders can cause sharp stomach pains.
Sharp stomach pain is common in children under the age of 5 but it has been reported in adults as well. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits. Most people with acute abdominal pain do not have an underlying medical condition. But if you have experienced sharp abdominal cramps, see your doctor promptly for evaluation of your symptoms.
The most common causes of sharp abdominal cramping are infections, food poisoning, gallstones, appendicitis, diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome. Other less common causes include inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers or gastritis, cancerous tumors, pancreatic disease, kidney stones and other internal organ problems.
Here’s what you need to know about some of the more common causes of sharp stomach pains.
If you have gastroenteritis, you feel like you’ve eaten too much and now have diarrhea and painful stomach cramps. You may also get vomiting and fever. The infection usually begins when you ingest something contaminated with fecal matter. Feces-containing foods include meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.
Gastroenteritis is contagious and spreads quickly through contaminated foods or water. It’s caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli. The main symptom is diarrhea which can produce bloody stools. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics if the infection is severe.
If you ever had gastroenteritis then for you it may be a new thing but it is not. You will feel pain in your stomach and after that you may get blood in your stool and if the infection is severe then you have to consult with a doctor. The doctor will prescribe you some medicines such as antibiotics which will help you and cure your infection as soon as possible.
Other gastrointestinal infections
You may develop diarrhea from any of the following infectious diseases: rotavirus, shigellosis, campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, viral hepatitis (e.g., hepatitis A or B), amebiasis, trichomonas, yersinia enterocolitica, cyclospora cayetanensis, Clostridium difficile, parvovirus and norovirus.
Some of these infections affect only humans while others are zoonotic—or transmissible between animals and humans. For example, hepatitis A is spread through feces from infected persons; however, it affects both humans and animals including dogs and cats.
The appendix is a small saclike structure located at the lower end of the large intestine. Appendicitis develops when this pocket of tissue becomes inflamed. A blockage in the tube connecting the appendix to the colon could lead to appendicitis. This inflammation may cause sharp abdominal pain.
In addition, you may have nausea, vomiting, a high fever, chills and loss of appetite. The pain may come and go over several hours or even days. Sometimes you may have pain that lasts for no more than two weeks.
A blood test is often performed to diagnose appendicitis. Other tests include X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan and barium enema. Treatment involves removing the appendix.
An intestinal obstruction occurs when something gets stuck in your digestive tract. Common causes of this problem are hernias, tumors, strictures, adhesions or foreign objects.
The pain may range from mild to severe depending on how far the object has gotten down into the intestines. You may also experience vomiting or nausea. Sometimes, you may feel more ill than the discomfort produced by the blockage. In rare cases, you may have a sudden onset of abdominal pain accompanied by tenderness, distension and dehydration.
To treat a possible intestinal obstruction, your doctor may perform an x-ray or ultrasound examination. He or she may also use a scope to examine the area of concern.
Gallstones are solid particles of cholesterol or biliary pigments that accumulate in the walls of the gallbladder. Gallstone pain is common in middle-aged women. About 80 percent of people who have gallstones become symptomatic by the time they reach their 50s. Gallstones tend to form after repeated attacks of acute cholecystitis, a type of severe gallbladder inflammation.
The pain associated with gallbladder disease may be dull or sharp. Some patients report feeling full before getting up in the morning. Others complain of nausea, vomiting or weakness. The pain may occur anywhere along the course of the bile duct.
To find out whether you have gallbladder disease, your doctor may order an ultrasound exam, X-rays or CT scan. He or she may also order blood tests to check your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
This is a condition where pouches or “diverticula” form inside the wall of the colon. These are collections of mucus and fatty tissue. Diverticulosis tends to occur among older men. It increases risk for developing diverticulitis, a potentially fatal complication of the condition.
Symptoms of diverticulosis include pain around the navel and lower back. You may also experience constipation or diarrhea. Your doctor may ask for stool samples to rule out infection.
The term irritable bowel syndrome refers to a group of chronic intestinal problems that include bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, urgency to defecate and abdominal pain. Irritable bowel syndrome is believed to be related to stress, anxiety and depression.
The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown. Doctors think it may be due to changes in the nerves that control the movement of the gut. There is currently no cure for irritable bowel syndrome. However, certain treatments such as antidepressants or antispasmodics help relieve symptoms.
Also called piles, hemorrhoids are swollen veins that protrude outside the anus and rectum. This condition is characterized by itching, burning and bleeding if you wipe after going to the bathroom. Hemorrhoids are more common in women and are found in approximately half of all people by the time they reach 50 years old.
Hemorrhoid treatment includes creams and suppositories to reduce swelling and pain. Surgery may be necessary to remove the hemorrhoids completely. You may also try using rubber band ligation to shrink the affected areas.
There is no known cure for hemorrhoids. Your doctor may recommend dietary changes, exercise and medications to treat the condition.
How to prevent stomach cramps
Preventing stomach cramps means avoiding anything that might provoke them. That includes eating spicy foods, drinking alcohol or taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Many people have a hard time resisting spicy foods or eating them at restaurants because they taste so good. But the spicy flavors in many dishes actually increase the production of a substance called bradykinin. Bradykinin is a chemical responsible for releasing histamine and prostaglandins (which cause inflammation) in your body. To avoid stomach cramps, don’t eat foods that contain chili peppers or other spices.
Alcohol also stimulates your nervous system and produces more prostaglandins. Therefore, it increases the chance of having stomach cramps. Try to limit your consumption of alcohol.
Finally, NSAID drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, may trigger stomach cramps. Be sure to consult your pharmacist before using any kind of medication.