A gastric problem refers to abdominal discomfort or pain in the abdomen or the organs of the upper abdomen. Most cases of gastric problems exhibit minor symptoms however; many people experience severe pain and thus, require medical advice.
The upper abdomen includes the organs starting from below the rib cage to the navel–such as the oesophagus the stomach, gall bladder, pancreas and liver. Any disorders that affect these organs will cause gastric pain in the sufferer.
In both children and adults, the condition is accompanied by abdominal bloating, headaches and heartburn. Many pregnant women also typically experience gastric pains due to the pressure exerted by the enlarging uterus against the organs of the digestive system. The digestive organs and the stomach push against the diaphragm causing gastric problems such as gastric pain and reflux.
Gastric pain can be experienced anywhere along the upper abdominal region and can vary amongst individuals. Some people may experience minor symptoms such as heartburn and indigestion while others may also experience severe complications which require immediate medical attention.
The severity of the condition is determined by the amount of pain the sufferer feels. Minor symptoms such as stomach bloating may cause severe pain as well. It is important to note that even mild pains should not be taken lightly as they might be caused by other, more serious underlying causes such as appendicitis or cancer. If your pain is prolonged and does not alleviate even through treatment, it is important that you seek medical advice from a doctor.
Generalized pain indicates a viral infection, gas or indigestion whereas, severe generalized pain indicates obstruction of the intestine. Cramping pain may indicate bacterial infection affecting the stomach and localized pain may be caused by problems affecting the abdominal organs.
Some of the common causes of gastric pain or gastric-like pain include:
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Cholecystitis—inflammation of the gall bladder
- Food poisoning
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Lactose intolerance
- Kidney stones
- Menstrual cramps
- Acid indigestion
- Abdominal distention
Your doctor might consider these factors to determine whether the pain is caused due to gastric problems or any other complication:
- How the pain begins. This can be a sudden onset indicative of gallstones affecting the bile duct, or an inadequate blood supply to the bowel.
- Location of the pain. Pain on the lower right side of the abdomen may indicate appendicitis, lower left side—diverticulitis and upper right side may be caused by gall bladder disorders.
- Pattern. Is it a cramp like pain, a steady pain that lasts to many hours, or severe pain that spreads from the upper abdomen to the upper back—these indicate blockage of the intestines, gallstones and pancreatitis respectively.
- Duration. Billury colic pain lasts for only a few hours whereas; pain due to irritable bowel syndrome may last for many years.
- What worsens or relieves the pain? This can be digestible foods, fluids or other factors that may lessen or worsen symptoms of gastric problems.
- One of the common home remedies for gastric problems include diluted lemon juice and garlic soup.
- Drink lemon juice mixed with water, first thing in the morning.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking more than 8 ounces of water can greatly alleviate some of the symptoms of gastric problems.
- Include herbal teas to your daily routine.
- If you are experiencing gastric pain, a little baking soda mixed in water or coconut water may give you a speedy recovery.
- Avoid meat, alcohol, strong teas, coffee, sour foods, red peppers, cakes and pastries if you want quicker recovery.
For more information about serious stomach pain caused by internal bleeding and poisonings enrol in first aid training. Courses such as standard and standard childcare first aid encompass training for these scenarios. Visit our locations page to find a provider near you.