Abdominal pain: 10 questions about discomfort
The abdomen is a region of the body that houses several organs: from the digestive system to the kidneys and bladder, also encompassing the female reproductive organs. Therefore, when the person feels a pain in this place, it can mean several problems.
To better understand this symptom and when we need to worry, we clarify the main doubts on the subject with medical specialists. Understand better then:
1. Are there different types of abdominal pain?
Man with hand on belly signaling pains in the area - "Photo: Getty Images"
There is more than one type of pain in the abdomen. It is possible to cite the pain that resembles a knot in the belly, pain that looks like a twinge, a look like hooks and also the nuisance resembling a belt tightening the belly. Every pain can have a different cause and consequence.
The causes of abdominal pain are diverse and can range from poor digestion after ingesting heavy foods to more serious problems. "Some cases may even have surgical potential, such as gallbladder disorders, acute appendicitis, inflammation of the diverticula of the intestine and even be correlated with cancer of organs located in the abdominal region," enumerates the general surgeon and digestive system Danielle Menezes Cesconetto, Hospital Santa Paula (SP).
For this reason, this symptom needs to be classified and can be done in several ways. "It all depends on where the pain occurs, what kind of pain (colic, pinch, pinch or tightness) and intensity", says the gastroenterologist Renata Madureira of the Medical and Esthetic Center of Rio de Janeiro (CETERJ). . Why Does Abdominal Pain Happen?
Pain is usually a sign that there is something wrong in some part of the body. In general, it can occur due to a distension of the bowel, inflammation of an organ, such as appendix, gallbladder, pancreas or colon, perforations in the stomach or even bleeding, as Danielle list.
It is not uncommon for it to begin as a more diffuse symptom. "It is common that an inflammation in an organ manifests first as a generalized pain in the region, due to the type of nerves that we have in these organs," says the gastrointestinal surgeon Elesiário Marques Caetano Jr., Hospital Alemão Oswaldo Cruz (SP) .
Then, when it becomes more easily localizable, the region of the abdomen that is painful may give more consistent clues about the reason for the pain. For example, pains in the upper right abdomen may be related to the gallbladder or liver, whereas pains in the left and lower region may be intestinal inflammation or even an inguinal hernia.
3. Abdominal pain is an indication of gas?
One of the most common causes of abdominal pain is gas. "Normally, it is a pain that improves after the evacuation and has a short duration," explains surgeon Rafael Lopes, team leader at Santa Paula Hospital. "Pain that persists for hours associated with fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, bleeding or mucus in the stool should lead the patient to the doctor," he adds. the specialist.
4. Men can also have abdominal colic?
Colic pain, which goes back and forth, is not something exclusive to women who are menstruating. "Abdominal pains caused by diarrhea, for example, are also abdominal cramps," says coloproctologist Sergio Nahas of the Sírio Libanês Hospital (SP).
In addition, gallbladder pain, inflammation of the colon diverticula, and gastroenteritis caused by viruses and bacteria also often manifest as colic.
5. Is it possible to prevent abdominal pain?
When abdominal pain is caused by eating and digestion problems, there are measures that help reduce them.
"Have a balanced and high fiber diet, ingest at least two liters of water a day, practicing physical activity regularly and sleeping on average eight hours a day are habits that help prevent the problem, "says surgeon Danielle.
6. What is the relationship between food and abdominal pain?
Since most digestive organs are in the abdomen, eating is often related to abdominal pain. "Foods like legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, among others), leaves and wheat derivatives often cause more gas, especially if you spend all day sitting," says Sergio Nahas.
However, some foods can help improve digestion by helping to transport the bolus food by these organs. Fiber-rich foods help form stool and give stool consistency, such as papaya, plum, orange, tangerine, brown rice and whole-grain bread, by reducing abdominal pain. In addition, cooked vegetables and fruits also aid in digestion, as the gastroenterologist Renata explains.
7. What does it mean to have abdominal after eating?
Abdominal pain after meals is usually linked to eating at that time, but this is not always the case. Some specific foods may point to other problems.
"Fatty foods can lead to biliary colic, since acidic foods and coffee can be associated with gastric ulcer pain or stomach cancer, milk, for patients with lactose intolerance, can cause colicky pain and diarrhea, "Renata says.
So if the pain is recurring, it is best to consult a gastroenterologist and identify if there is a more serious problem.
8. Is it common to feel abdominal pain during pregnancy?
Abdominal pain in pregnancy can happen, but it should always be reported to the gynecologist. "Pregnancy hormones usually interfere with the intestinal flow, which causes abdominal distension, gas and constipation at this stage, conditions that cause abdominal pain," explains the gynecologist and obstetrician Aparecida Monteiro, a master in maternal and child health and a member of the Gynecology Association. Obstetrics of Rio de Janeiro (SGORJ)
According to the specialist, these pains are more dangerous if the colic persists for a long period and is accompanied by bleeding. What medications are used to treat abdominal pain?
The medicine depends on the type of pain.
"Anti-inflammatories should be avoided in the elderly and patients with reflux due to the risk of ulcers and perforations of the stomach and duodenum," says Rafael Lopes.
The most common are antispasmodics, common gas and analgesic remedies. 10. Is it possible to take a medicine for abdominal pain even though it is weak?
Abdominal pain can be treated while it is still in the beginning as well. In such cases, self-medication depends heavily on the patient's knowledge of his or her history and body in order to determine whether this type of pain may be aggravated, whether it is caused by food issues or even if it is menstrual cramps. It is always best to seek medical help if the pain is very intense or if you become more persistent. The professional can help determine the source of the problem and indicate the best treatment.
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