Stomach pain is a very general term used to refer to any discomfort felt in the ‘stomach’ or abdomen.
The ‘stomach’ can be divided into 9 sectors and the discomfort felt in each sector can be attributed to various organs and various diagnoses. The various sectors are namely Right hypochondrial, Epigastric, Left hypochondrial, Right flank, Periumbilical, Left flank, Right iliac fossa, Suprapubic and Left iliac fossa.
Pain is a sign that there is a problem with an underlying organ and signifies an underlying disease process.
Stomach pain is a signal from the body that there is a problem with an underlying organ and signifies an underlying disease process.
Pain usually arises from two main processes, namely Inflammation/Infection and Colicky abnormal intestinal contractions.
The pain can arise from the gallbladder, stomach, colon and small intestine among other intra-abdominal organs
Over-eating refers to eating beyond the stomach’s usual capacity. This leads to over-stretching of the stomach and leading to discomfort
Lactose intolerance refers to the inability of the body to completely break down Lactose. Lactose is found in milk and dairy products. Lactose intolerance is common in Asians and manifests as diarrhoea, abdominal bloatedess, abdominal distension and frequent passage of gas through the bottom
Gastritis refers to inflammation of lining of the stomach. This is usually due to excessive acid production from stress or smoking and from damage to the gastric lining from alcohol. A bacteria known as Helicobacter.pylori is also a potent cause of gastritis
Peptic ulcers are ulcers or breaks in the lining occurring in the stomach or duodenum. Ulcers commonly cause pain, particularly severe pain. Ulcers can also result in bleeding or a through and through perforation
Gallstones are stones that arise in the gallbladder. They usually result in upper abdominal bloatedness after eating. In cases of gallbladder or bile duct inflammation, the pain can be very severe and is felt over the right upper abdomen.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas which is a deep seated organ. Pancreatitis is most commonly caused by alcohol or gallstones. Rare causes include medications and elevated cholesterol/triglyceride levels.
A cancerous growth can occur in any organ in the abdomen. Cancer can cause pain by obstructing or invasion into neighbouring or by the sheer expansion of the cancerous growth. Cancerous growth can also cause bleeding or perforation and loss of weight and appetite.
Any stomach pain that is unremitting and getting worse will require medical attention. This is particularly so if the pain prevents sleeping or daily activities from being done. The investigations for stomach pain includes CT scans and Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy.