Dealing with unexplained gastrointestinal issues is so stressful. Not only are you in pain, but you’re uncertain what has caused the sudden onslaught of pain and discomfort. Did you eat something that was “off”? Are you coming down with a stomach ailment? Is it just stress? In uncertain times, you might feel uncertain as to whether or not you should go to the doctor, or if you should ride it out and assume it’s no big deal.
A good rule of thumb is that if you’re in incredible pain, or if you’re having worrying symptoms, you should always consult with a doctor. When in doubt, make an appointment; better safe than sorry.
But for very minor stomach discomfort like bloating, indigestion and general tummy troubles, there might be a very easily fixed culprit behind your sudden stomach problems. Here are a few things that could be causing your stomach ache.
Dietary Changes/Certain Foods
One of the most depressing things about getting older is that suddenly your tolerance for foods you’ve always loved comes back to bite you. That cabbage stir fry or yummy madras curry that you’ve loved since you were a kid suddenly leaves you with awful stomach cramps. No, you probably didn’t buy a bad batch of leafy greens – it’s more likely that your body is having trouble digesting certain foods. Many high-fiber and sulfa-rich foods like cauliflower and broccoli, cabbage, legumes and lentils, beans and chickpeas can cause upper abdominal bloating and discomfort.
In some cases, there are supplements you can take to combat this reaction, as well as recipes and adaptations to make those foods more digestible for your body. It can be as simple as roasting chickpeas instead of stewing them, or cutting back the amount of cauliflower you use by half. For some, though, a severe intolerance means you may have to stop eating the item, or take medications before doing so.
For more serious intolerances (for instance, if you suspect you have something like celiac disease or a severe food allergy), always consult with your doctor to devise a plan of action.
It really is true that stress can cause your stomach to hurt. Anxiety, nerves, and depression can put your body through the ringer, and you’ll experience a whole host of physical symptoms as a result. Stress doesn’t just cause a tense neck or a headache, sometimes it can affect your stomach. While popping a Tums or drinking extra water can sometimes help, you may want to consider a practice like meditation, some gentle exercise, or even better yet, speaking to a therapist to work through some of your feelings and help your body feel less stress.
If things are really bad, speak with your doctor about medications you might try.
For many women, your monthly cycle can bring with it many gastrointestinal issues and discomfort, and at the most inconvenient times. Stomach aches, bloating, nausea and even stomach cramping are all normal. Luckily, there are several remedies and medications to try for this particular malady, so there’s no need to suffer with that stomach ache while you’re dealing with other stuff.
Likely your mild stomachache is due to one of these easily fixed culprits. If you’re experiencing extreme pain, or other, more concerning symptoms, please visit your doctor as soon as possible to rule out other possible diseases like IBS, crohn’s, an ulcer or other physical problems. They’ll be able to prescribe treatments that will have you feeling better.