Abdominal discomfort is not a rare occurrence. Anyone across all age groups may experience it frequently throughout the lifespan. The discomfort is usually felt from the lower chest to just above the pelvis. Within the abdomen are organs of the gastrointestinal, urinary, and reproductive tracts. These include the blood vessels, esophagus, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, intestines, and the stomach.
What Causes Abdominal Discomfort
Abdominal discomfort may be an indication of many underlying symptoms. These may range from mild to serious conditions. Possible causes include:
- Indigestion. Eating more than the recommended capacity of the stomach may lead to bloating, and cause great discomfort. The symptom experienced is usually brief and tends to wean away when digestion takes place.
- Stress. Most of the time, children and teenagers feel a slight discomfort whenever they are faced with stressful situations.
- Diarrhea and constipation. These are the most common causes of discomfort. Gastroenteritis or diarrhea is due to accumulation of irritants such as bacteria.
- Pregnancy. To accommodate the growing uterus, the abdominal organs have to be cramped against one another, causing abdominal discomfort. Constipation and bloating are also fairly common during pregnancy.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Otherwise known as GERD, this is the most common cause of discomfort if felt immediately after meals. Night meals, spicy foods, and lying down after eating cause the esophageal sphincter to open. The reflux of acid irritates the lining of the esophagus and causes bloating of the abdomen.
Other Causes of Abdominal Discomfort:
- Intestinal obstruction
- Peptic ulcer
How to Relieve Abdominal Discomfort
For a person experiencing frequent episodes of abdominal discomfort, it may be necessary to immediately consult a competent doctor. Frequent bouts of discomfort may indicate more serious causes or etiologies. Because there may be numerous causes, diagnostic tests will be ordered by the doctor. Treatment usually relies on the differential diagnosis. If the discomfort felt is new and not that severe, the individual may prepare some natural remedies at home.
- Chamomile. German chamomile can be used to relieve various intestinal tract disorders, such as colic, inflammation, and intestinal gas. The herb works as a sedative and also aids in digestion.
- Licorice, peppermint, turmeric, elm, marshmallow, and golden sea help protect the mucosal lining of the stomach and the intestines from irritation and inflammation.