Chronic Stomach Pain Overview: Causes and Symptoms
Everyone experiences varying levels of discomfort from time to time. Still, there are some cases where the pain and discomfort never seem to go away. Chronic medical conditions refer to diseases that last for an extended period of time, and can include chronic stomach pain. This duration can range from a couple of months to lifelong diseases.
There are many different types of chronic conditions that refer to varying types of chronic discomfort. One troubling issue many people face is chronic stomach pain.
What is Chronic Stomach Pain?
It refers to the condition where someone experiences regular stomach discomfort. The exact type of discomfort experienced varies between different cases. For an incident to be considered chronic stomach pain, the symptoms need to persist for several months.
How is Chronic Pain Different from an Upset Stomach?
Chronic pain is much more than your typical upset stomach. Unlike the type of discomfort you experience during the flu or after food poisoning, this condition goes on for months. The pain may not necessarily be present all the time, but it is a recurring pain that seems to come back regularly.
Different Types of Chronic Stomach Pain
Depending on the specific cause, you will experience a different set of symptoms. Understanding how you are experiencing chronic stomach pain will help you start discussing your condition with your doctor.
Consider defining the following elements:
- What Kind of Discomfort Do You Experience?
- How Severe is the Pain You Experience?
- How Often Do You Experience Pain?
- When Do You Experience Symptoms?
- Where Do You Experience Symptoms?
- Are You Suffering from Any Other Symptoms?
What is the nature of your signs? Do you feel sharp or dull pain? Is it less “painful” and more uncomfortable? Try to compare it to something else. For example, does it feel like you always feel full, or does it feel like your stomach is burning?
To what degree do you feel this pain or discomfort? Is it something you can almost ignore, or do you find yourself pushed to the limit? While some people experience mild chronic stomach pain, others deal with severe symptoms that leave them crying, sweaty, or unable to move.
Chronic pain symptoms persist for months at a time. How often do you feel your symptoms? Is it a daily event or something that occurs every other week? When you have a chronic stomach pain episode, how long does it last? Is it an event that only happens for a few minutes or lasts for hours?
Is there a particular time of the day where you are more likely to experience symptoms? Some patients are more likely to experience symptoms during the morning or at night. Other times, it seems like episodes are tied to particular weather conditions or even events. It’s important to note lifestyle activities, such as exercising or eating, and note when they occur in relation to your symptoms.
Try to note the specific area where you are feeling the pain or discomfort. Knowing the exact point in your abdomen where the pain originates from is crucial for physicians to determine what is wrong.
Aside from stomach discomfort, are you experiencing any other symptoms? Dietary problems may be accompanied by other issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, or constipation. Even if symptoms seem irrelevant, it is important to keep them in mind. Consider mentioning symptoms such as rashes or headaches.
What Are Some Possible Causes of Chronic Stomach Pain?
Although you will need to undergo medical tests for a concrete diagnosis, there are several conditions that commonly induce chronic abdominal pain. This list of common conditions includes:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This causes the stomach contents to move up into the esophageal.
- Crohn’s disease: Disease-causing inflammation of the bowels.
- Lactose intolerance: Natural inability to digest milk and milk products. You can develop this after digesting lactose normally for years.
Talking to Your Doctor
Talking to your doctor about your chronic conditions is crucial to finding relief. It’s a great idea to keep a journal describing your symptoms to better discuss with your doctor.
Medically trained physicians are health professionals whom you should turn to for expert advice. They can run tests and offer treatment options that help you manage your medical conditions.