Stomach aches are common occurrences that usually lead to no health concerns or long term complications. Like headaches, a little bit of medicine and rest will help it go away.

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Although this is the best-case scenario when it does happen, and is what happens most of the time, stomach aches can occur as a result of a health condition or complication that you may not have realized yet. Stomach aches can be shrugged off as long as it does not persist or if you know that you may have eaten something off.

But if it continues more often than usual, or is starting to affect other aspects of your health, then it’s time to seek medical advice and learn what your stomach ache is truly saying about your health. 

Why Does My Stomach Hurt?

Here are possible reasons why you may be experiencing a stomach ache and what it means for your health and lifestyle.

1. Eating the wrong foods

Depending on the particular person who is eating, some foods just don’t sit well in the stomach. Lots of people have food intolerances that they can only learn from experience.

Overeating or eating certain trigger foods can cause symptoms such as stomach aches, abdominal cramping, diarrhoea, nausea, acid reflux, heartburn, and vomiting. Lactose intolerance is one of the biggest culprits for some people in terms of food intolerances.

Intolerances are not only associated with unhealthy foods but also healthy ones. Try to find out what your certain trigger foods are and the alternatives you should be having instead.

2. Strong or harsh medication

The cause of stomach aches through certain medications is not as uncommon you may think. Although over the counter and prescribed medicine may be used to do your body good, your gut can react to some of its substances and cause side effects, including stomach aches.

A possible reason why this math is the case is certain medications aim to kill the harmful bacteria in your body, but may also be killing the good bacteria in your gut, hence you may feel discomfort in your stomach.

It’s always good to speak with a doctor regarding the side effects of certain medications and seeking medical attention as soon as you notice side effects have become prominent or severe.

3. You may be bloated

Bloating occurs when the air or gas builds up in the GI tract. Eating foods that make you feel bloated will leave you feeling heavy, gassy, and possibly even ill. Bloating can occur when we eat too many foods that contain higher levels of the gas can lead to bloating.

These include beans, lentils, carbonated drinks, wheat, broccoli, barley, onions, and apples. You can avoid bloating by eating lesser or ideal quantities of these foods and not eating them too close before bedtime as bloating while laying down cause difficulty sleeping. 

4. Anxiety and depression

The brain is connected to your stomach in more ways than one. It affects when you get hungry, thirsty when you need to go to the bathroom, and unsettling your stomach when you become emotional. Stress and anxiety can randomly cause stomach pains, especially when you have an anxiety attack.

It may make you want to throw up, go to the bathroom, and possibly nausea. This can also happen when you feel nervous, stressed, sad or depressed. Treating mental health is important to benefit and preserve good health, your stomach included.

5. Possible kidney stones

Kidney stones can cause extreme abdominal discomfort. Kidney stones are small stone-like deposits that are found in the kidney and need to be surgically removed.

If you experience severe or radiating pain in your abdominal, groin and lower back region, you may have kidney stones. If you notice this, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

6. Inflammatory bowel disease

When any chronic condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract occurs, it is referred to as inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, blood in the stool, reduced appetite, fatigue and weakness, rectal pain, and fever.

If you notice any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor at first notice. Severe cases of inflammatory bowel disease may require surgery. 

When to See a Doctor 

Usually, stomach ache will go away after a day. When they prolong and worsen in severity over time is when you should consider seeing a doctor and get medical advice. If you notice or experience:

  • Fever or cold
  • Constant thirst or dehydration
  • Pain during urination
  • Constant vomiting
  • Constant Diarrhea
  • Swelling in the belly area
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Notice your skin becoming yellow

Speak with a doctor immediately as there is likely a serious underlying health condition that needs medical attention as soon as possible.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.