Chronic abdominal pain refers to any pain in the abdomen that last for 2 weeks or more. The abdominal pains may vary in intensity and can be either continuous or recur after sometime. Although the major sign of chronic abdominal pain is stomach discomfort, there are additional signs such as cramping, nausea, heartburn, and diarrhea.
Chronic abdominal pain is a very common problem in adults and kids. In most cases, its occurrence is linked to a person’s diet problems. Although it is localized to the abdomen, it can extend to the chest and even the groin. If you suspect that you are at risk of chronic abdominal pain then you should take time to understand the causes and verify the signs. We have highlighted some of the top causes to help you understand this condition better.
1) Constipation – is one of the most common forms of gastrointestinal problems and also a leading cause of chronic abdominal pain. Constipation reduces bowel movements and this triggers abdominal pain and strain. This problem occurs when the muscles of the colon contract slowly or when the colon itself takes in excess water. And when stool passes the colon slowly, it becomes dry and hard resulting in chronic abdominal pain. Some of the risk factors linked to constipation include dehydration, illness, less intake of fiber-diet, and hormonal imbalances.
2) Lactose Intolerance – is another leading cause of chronic abdominal pain. The pain occurs when the body cannot digest properly dairy products. Besides causing chronic abdominal pain, lactose intolerance also causes diarrhea, gas, and abdominal cramps. This problem can be remedied by lowering the intake of dairy products and by taking pain medications.
3) Irritable Bowel Syndrome – this is another chronic condition that affects the intestines and which also causes chronic abdominal pain. The exact cause is unknown, but health experts believe it is triggered by sensitive nerves and frequent contractions of the muscles. This condition also results in diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal swelling. Although, it has no known effective treatment, stress relief and specific medications can be used to remedy the symptoms of chronic abdominal pain.
4) Crohn’s disease - this is a rare condition which causes inflammation in the alimentary canal andchronic abdominal pain as well. It occurs when the immune system attacks the digestive track for no-known reason. Research shows there is a genetic between crohn’s disease and abdominal pain. In addition, smokers are at high risk of developing Crohn’s disease than non-smoking counterparts. The major signs of this rare condition include vomiting, diarrhea, and unexplained weight loss.
5) Appendicitis – this is a painful inflammation that occurs in the appendix and which also triggerschronic abdominal pain. It occurs when there is an infection on the appendix or obstruction on the appendiceal lumen. The obstruction can occur because of trauma, inflammatory diseases, and infestation of abdominal parasites. This condition can affect anyone and the major signs include sudden abdominal pain that starts on the navel towards the lower right abdomen, nausea, mild fevers, and loss of appetite. The pain intensifies after 12-18 hours and makes the abdominal pain unbearable.
The bottom line is that chronic abdominal pain is a reflection of dietary problems or problems of the abdomen. Fortunately, this problem can be treated when one goes for medical examination early.