When Recurrent Abdominal Pain Deserves A Visit To The Doctor
A stomach pain that comes and goes but never away for good is truly a pain. If you have experienced a minimum of three abdomen pain in the last three months and, occasionally, are painful to the point it affects your daily life; chances are you are suffering from what doctors would diagnose as Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP). Depending on the cause, the treatment for RAP differs.
What causes Recurrent Abdominal Pain?
RAP affects individuals of all ages, from children to adults, for several reasons.
For children, health conditions that result in the development of RAP include:
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Lactose Intolerance
- Abdominal migraines – Abdominal pain that frequently occurs without any known cause
For adults, health conditions that result in the development of RAP include:
- Stomach ulcers
- Gallbladder or liver issues
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Period pain
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Parasite infection
However, there are still RAP issues among children and adults that are not a result of any known medical issues. When that occurs, it is typically called functional abdominal pain. Doctors may not be able to diagnose the root cause, but factors such as personality, genes, and stress play a part. Another factor is that some individuals might have more sensitive digestive tract nerves than others, hence easily experiencing abdominal pain.
Symptoms of Recurrent Abdominal Pain
RAP differs between individuals. The pain may begin and end without warning, or it could occur constantly. Some individuals describe the pain as a dull and mild ache in their abdomen, while others describe the pain as a sharp stab to the stomach. Besides abdominal pain, individuals may experience additional symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhoea.
How is Recurrent Abdominal Pain diagnosed?
When an adult or child visits the doctor for RAP, the doctor will typically check for symptoms and family history. Before conducting a thorough physical examination, they would want to be aware of when the pain began and what makes the pain better or worse. Depending on the first diagnosis, the doctor might require samples of urine and blood to conduct further testing. They might also conduct a CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI should they require to look into your body to look for physical signs. If you are over 50 years old, the doctor might conduct a colonoscopy in which a thin, flexible rod with a camera is inserted through your rectum to look for issues within your lower region of the digestive tract.
The test results will enable the doctor to assess the root cause of your RAP better and decide on the best-suited treatment. In addition, you might also have to adjust certain elements of your lifestyle, such as food consumption or stress management. If your stomach pain occurs on and off over the next six months and no diagnosis can be made, you might have functional abdominal pain.
When is a doctor’s visit necessary?
Immediate medical attention is required when you experience any of the following:
- Severe pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Yellow-looking skin
- A tender stomach
- Extreme and sudden weight loss
- Blood in your vomit, stool, or pee
- Constant nausea
- Abdominal swelling
RAP can be a small issue that does not warrant much concern. However, if severe and left untreated, it might result in serious complications. Hence, regardless of how severe the symptoms are, it is still best to make a medical appointment with an abdominal pain specialist who will put you on track for proper recovery and treatment. GutCare is a stomach pain clinic that provides abdominal pain treatment on top of other gut health-related issues such as colon cancer treatment. Contact us to find out more about our extensive range of services today!