Gastroenterology

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What is Causing Your Abdominal Pain?

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Risk Factors for Abdominal Pain

The risk factors for abdominal pain vary greatly according to the cause of the pain.

  • Being a woman: Some of these causes of abdominal pain only occur, or are more common, in women. These include urinary tract infection, gallstones, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or menstrual cramps.
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  • Genetics: Many of the causes of abdominal pain such as Crohn’s disease or kidney stones have a genetic component; if someone in your family has had the problem, there is an increased likelihood for you to have it as well.
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  • Obesity: Having a high-cholesterol diet or being obese can increase your likelihood of suffering from abdominal-causing problems such as kidney stones, gallstones or GERD.
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Treatments for Abdominal Pain

The treatments of abdominal pain vary greatly depending on the cause. It is best to work with your doctor to find the right treatment method.

  • Antacids: Over-the-counter antacids can help treat certain causes of abdominal pain such as indigestion.
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  • Medication: Some abdominal pain caused by inflammation, GERD or ulcers can be treated with medications. In some instances, antibiotics may be necessary. Consult with your doctor if you think medication may help.
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  • Surgery: If caused by appendicitis or hernia, surgery is often necessary to resolve the issue and consequently relieve the pain.
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Home Remedies for Abdominal Pain

  • Change eating habits: For abdominal pain caused by food allergies or aggravated by certain foods, changing your eating habits can help reduce the discomfort caused by abdominal pain.
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  • Heating: Using a heating pad or soaking in a warm bath can help ease discomfort.
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How to Prevent Abdominal Pain

The most appropriate methods of prevention vary according to the cause of the pain.

  • Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol: Avoiding these substances can help prevent certain types of stomach pain such as pain caused by ulcers.
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  • Avoid high cholesterol foods: While this can generally help your health, avoiding foods high in cholesterol can help reduce the likelihood of abdominal pain due to various causes including gallstones.
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Katherine Solem is a health writer and editor living in San Francisco.

Published: July 29, 2011


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