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Stomach Problems

What are stomach problems?

Conditions that affect digestion or cause pain or discomfort in the abdomen are often perceived and described as stomach problems, although the stomach may not always be involved. Most stomach problems are related to the digestive tract, although symptoms may also be due to conditions of the body wall, blood vessels, urinary tract, reproductive organs, or organs of the chest.

When pain is present, stomach problems may be due to the organs near the site of the pain, such as the stomach or gallbladder in the upper abdomen, or the appendix in the lower abdomen. Generalized stomach problems may be associated with diet, infection or inflammation. In women, stomach problems may be related to the menstrual cycle or to infection or other conditions of the reproductive organs.

What other symptoms might occur with stomach problems?

Stomach problems may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Stomach problems are often related to the digestive system, but may also be related to other body systems.

Digestive tract symptoms that may occur along with stomach problems

Stomach problems may accompany other symptoms affecting the digestive system including:

Other symptoms that may occur along with stomach problems

Stomach problems may accompany symptoms related to other body systems including:

  • Cough
  • Enlarged liver and glands such as the spleen and lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Pain, numbness or tingling
  • Palpable mass in the abdomen or pelvic area
  • Rash
  • Unexplained weight loss

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

  • Bleeding while pregnant
  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness such as passing out or unresponsiveness
  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, or palpitations
  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Inability to have bowel movements, especially if accompanied by vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Respiratory or breathing problems such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking
  • Rigidity of the abdomen
  • Seizure
  • Severe abdominal pain or sharp abdominal pain that comes on suddenly
  • Trauma to the abdomen, pelvis or testicles
  • Vomiting blood, rectal bleeding, or bloody stool

What causes stomach problems?

Stomach problems often originate in the digestive tract, although they can be due to disorders of the circulatory system, urinary tract, reproductive system, respiratory system, nervous system, or body wall.

Other causes of stomach problems

Stomach problems can also be caused by conditions involving other body systems including:

  • Abdominal or hiatal hernia (weakening in the abdominal wall or diaphragm, through which internal organs can pass)
  • Cancer of an abdominal or pelvic organ
  • Endometriosis (condition where tissues resembling the uterine lining grow in other areas of the body)
  • Kidney stones
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID; infection of a woman’s reproductive organs)
  • Pleurisy (inflammation of the lining around the lungs)
  • Pneumonia
  • Shingles (painful, blistering rash that results from a reactivation of the varicella-zoster, or chickenpox, virus)
  • Urinary tract infection

Serious or life-threatening causes of stomach problems

In some cases, stomach problems may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. These include:

  • Abdominal abscess
  • Abdominal, pelvic or testicular trauma
  • Aneurysm of the abdominal aorta (life-threatening bulging and weakening of the wall of the abdominal aorta that can burst and cause severe hemorrhage)
  • Appendicitis
  • Bowel obstruction or perforation
  • Chemical or heavy metal poisoning
  • Colonic volvulus (twisting of the colon) or intussusception (telescoping of the intestines into themselves)
  • Ectopic pregnancy (life-threatening pregnancy growing outside the uterus)
  • Intestinal ischemia (loss of blood supply to the intestines leading to death of intestinal tissue)
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Peritonitis (infection of the lining that surrounds the abdomen)
  • Torsion of an ovary or a testicle (twisting of an ovary or spermatic cord)

Because stomach problems can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

What causes stomach problems?

Stomach problems often originate in the digestive tract, although they can be due to disorders of the circulatory system, urinary tract, reproductive system, respiratory system, nervous system, or body wall.

  • Abdominal or hiatal hernia (weakening in the abdominal wall or diaphragm, through which internal organs can pass)
  • Cancer of an abdominal or pelvic organ
  • Endometriosis (condition where tissues resembling the uterine lining grow in other areas of the body)
  • Kidney stones
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID; infection of a woman’s reproductive organs)
  • Pleurisy (inflammation of the lining around the lungs)
  • Pneumonia
  • Shingles (painful, blistering rash that results from a reactivation of the varicella-zoster, or chickenpox, virus)
  • Urinary tract infection

3 thoughts on “Stomach Problems

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