Sharp abdominal pain can be caused by many things. Some causes can be more severe than others.
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Appendicitis refers to inflammation of the tubed organ, your appendix. Appendicitis is characterized by sharp pains in the lower right portion of the abdomen. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and bloating.
Appendicitis can be treated with a surgical procedure to remove your appendix.
Gallstones can be stone-like substances that form in your gallbladder and bile ducts. These stones can be made of cholesterol or bilirubin.
Gallstones can block the ducts in your gallbladder causing intense pain in your abdomen. Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder.
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Cholecystitis can also be characterized by:
- It is important to sweat
Yellowish tint to skin and eyes
Gallstones can cause symptoms and may require medication or laparoscopic surgery. Sometimes, the entire gallbladder must be removed.
Fluid-filled sacs called ovarian cysts can be found in the ovaries. They can also form during ovulation.
Ovarian cysts can become very large and cause intense pain in the lower abdomen. The cysts can also cause pressure, swelling, and bloating.
Sometimes, ovarian cysts will disappear on their own but may need to be removed surgically.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel disease refers to digestive conditions that cause severe or mild pain prior to a bowel movement.
IBS is a condition that causes abdominal pain to appear in predictable patterns. It can be noticed when you eat certain foods or at certain times of the day.
Some other symptoms include:
- Mucus in your stool
- IBS treatment includes:
- Lifestyle and dietary changes
- Antispasmodic Drugs
- Nerve pain medication
Infections of the urinary tract
Most commonly, a urinary tract infection (UTI), is an infection of your bladder.
Your urethra, kidneys, and other parts of your urinary system can all become infected. UTIs can cause abdominal pain as well as burning sensations when you urinate, and frequent urges to urinate.
Antibiotics are often used to treat UTIs.
Gas and Indigestion
Indigestion is one of the most common symptoms you might experience after eating. Indigestion can be caused by eating too fast, eating too many fatty foods and drinking alcohol.
Gas is caused by your body’s digestion of food. Gas and indigestion can sometimes cause sharp pains in the upper abdomen or lower intestine. This usually subsides after you have had a bowel move.
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can be used to treat gas pain and indigestion.
- Gastroenteritis, also known as “the stomach flu”, is not caused by the flu virus.
- Gastroenteritis refers to an infection of your intestines.
sharp stomach pains
Stomach flu symptoms can be uncomfortable, but they aren’t an emergency unless your body becomes extremely dehydrated.
For gastroenteritis, the first line treatment is to rest and stay hydrated.
Peptic ulcer refers to a sore on the stomach lining. It can be caused either by long-term use or infection with Helicobacter Pylori bacteria.
Peptic ulcers can cause dull, burning abdominal pain. Peptic ulcers should be treated and diagnosed so they can heal. However, most times it is not an emergency.
Peptic ulcers can be treated with antibiotics or proton pump inhibitors depending on the cause.
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Food allergies and lactose intolerance
As your body attempts to digest the food, sharp pains can occur in the abdomen. If you eat something your body doesn’t like, it can cause gas or indigestion.
Absence of food allergies or sensitivities that could cause anaphylaxis is not an emergency. Eating food that isn’t properly digested can cause bloating and diarrhea.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have a lactose allergies. They may be able to prescribe replacement enzyme pills to allow you to eat dairy without any discomfort.
According to a 2011 study published in BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health journal, ectopic pregnancies account for between 1 and 2 percent.
A pregnancy that is not supported by a healthy egg can be ended if it implants in the fallopian tube and not the uterus. This type of pregnancy can be fatal if it is not treated.
Ectopic pregnancy could be indicated by severe pain in the lower abdomen and vaginal bleeding. This type of pregnancy is more likely to occur if you smoke or take fertility drugs. Sometimes, diarrhea or vomiting can also occur.
To save the fallopian tubes, and to preserve fertility, ectopic pregnancies must be treated with medication or surgery. This condition is similar to a normal pregnancy, but in its early stages it can be very different.
If you suspect that you may have this condition, talk to your healthcare provider.
It is not unusual for women to feel stomach pain at the time of ovulation.
The ovary can feel “stretched” before the egg is dropped. This causes pain in the lower abdomen. Although this type of pain can be intense, it should not last more than a few hours.
Ovulation pain is not currently treated. However, oral contraceptives can be used to reduce its severity..
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Food poisoning is when bacteria from the food you eat infects your stomach and causes nausea, diarrhea, and other symptoms.
Food poisoning can be acute. This means that it usually occurs quickly and doesn’t last long. Food poisoning can be dangerous if you are dehydrated or your stomach is contaminated with harmful bacteria.
What causes abdominal pain?
Your healthcare provider may ask questions about your symptoms, the nature and severity of your abdominal pain if you are experiencing severe pain. They will use your answers to help determine the next steps for testing and diagnosis.
To evaluate your abdominal pain, you may need to have:
- Blood tests
- Abdominal X-ray
- CT scan
- vaginal ultrasound