4 Causes of Abdominal Pain

Many cases of abdominal pain are mild, brief, and have a wide variety of innocent causes, such as eating a large meal. It’s time to see a doctor when symptoms are moderate to severe, fail to resolve quickly, or resolve only to return with regularity. These situations may point to an underlying gastrointestinal condition. A comprehensive evaluation with a gastroenterology specialist can get to the bottom of your symptoms and put you on the path to relief.

Abdominal pain: fast facts

Digestive problems are the most common cause of abdominal pain. As gastroenterologists, our doctors at Illinois Gastroenterology Group are specialists who diagnose and treat conditions that affect the digestive system, so we’re best equipped to determine whether an underlying condition is causing your symptoms.

More Americans are affected by digestive conditions than you might think. Each year, 60-70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases

Here are some common conditions that affect the digestive system:

These are just a few conditions that impact the digestive system. Many people don’t like to talk about digestive problems, but we can assure you that there’s no need to struggle in silence.

Stomach pain: a simple term for a complex issue

Your abdomen houses several important organs that make up your digestive system. Other than the stomach itself, these organs are the:

A problem with any of these organs can result in pain or discomfort felt in the stomach. Because several organs in the abdomen work together to digest food and medicines, your stomach pain can have a wide variety of causes.

Common causes of stomach pain

Of the many causes of stomach discomfort, here are some that our patients often experience:

1. Food intolerance

The body produces important enzymes necessary to digest different components of food, and lack of an enzyme can cause digestive issues. For example, people with lactose intolerance don’t have enough lactase enzyme, which is needed to digest a sugar found in milk called lactose. People can have intolerances to other foods or substances in foods, such as gluten, fructose (fruit sugar), or caffeine.   

2. Gastroesophageal reflux disease

If you’ve ever eaten a fatty meal or late-night snack and experienced stomach pain and burning in your chest, chances are you’ve experienced acid reflux – a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Many Americans experience acid reflux from time to time, but frequent heartburn is a warning sign of GERD, and it could be behind your stomach pain

3. Gallstones

The gallbladder stores a vital digestive liquid needed to digest fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Sometimes hard deposits can form in the gallbladder that can cause serious issues. Stomach pain after eating is the most common symptoms of gallstones. 

Left untreated, gallstones can cause an obstruction and can cause potentially life-threatening issues. This is more likely to occur if you have many gallstones or if gallstones grow large in size. Many people who have gallstones however, are unaware of it.

4. Diverticulitis

Small pouches called diverticula can develop where there are weak spots in the lining of the colon. These pouches can become inflamed, irritated, and infected, causing a condition known as diverticulitis. People with diverticulitis may experience bouts of symptoms that include abdominal pain. Dietary changes and antibiotic medications are used to treat mild cases of diverticulitis.

Any nagging stomach pain that doesn’t resolve on its own is a cause for concern. Scheduling an evaluation with one of our specialists is the best step you can take toward getting relief from your symptoms. 

Whether you’re experiencing constant or recurring stomach pain, our highly-skilled gastroenterologists at Illinois Gastroenterology Group can help. To learn more, call us to schedule a visit or use the online booking tool to request an appointment. We have offices in Elk Grove and Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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