Sure Signs You Have an Abdominal Problem, Say Physicians
There's many reasons why you can have an upset stomach, but if the issue persists, you could have an abdominal problem that actually has nothing to do with the tummy, but rather the digestive tract. Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University tells Eat This, Not That! Health, "There are a wide variety of abdominal problems that can be classified as organic, acute, or chronic conditions. The signs and symptoms can also be wide-ranging depending on the underlying health issue or the organ affected (with a frequent overlap of symptoms and signs across different disease conditions)." Dr. Khubchandani shares five signs you could have an abdominal problem below and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
According to Dr. Khubchandani, "The first symptom that should raise concern and indicate an abdominal problem is pain. Abdominal pain can be of various types such as localized versus generalized, cramping versus continuous; low-grade versus high intensity, and acute versus chronic. Often, abdominal pain can be short-lived and self-limiting due to causes such as constipation, indigestion, intestinal gas, menstrual pain, or an episode of food-borne illness. Abdominal pain may need urgent medical attention, especially if the pain does not subside and other symptoms also occur simultaneously (e.g. difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, high-grade fever, abdominal swelling, vomiting and nausea, severe diarrhea, etc.). "
Dr. Khubchandani explains, "The swollen abdomen appears as an outward projection of the abdomen that is at times accompanied by discomfort, pain, a sensation of bloating (especially when there is a serious medical problem). Abdominal swelling can also be self-limiting due to constipation, indigestion, intestinal gas, weight gain, or menstruation. For abdominal swelling, healthcare providers also explore the F factors (fluid, feces, fetus, flatus, fat, foods, fevers, flaccid abdominal wall, and functions of abdominal organs). More serious causes of abdominal swelling can range from tumors, obstruction of intestines, accumulation of fluids and blood, rupture of organs and blood vessels, failure of vital organs, to severe infections, autoimmune, and inflammatory diseases. Individuals should seek medical care when the swelling does not go away and is accompanied by symptoms such as severe pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, weakness and fatigue, high fevers, chest pain, and difficulty breathing."
Blood in Urine, Vomit, or Stool
Dr. Khubchandani reveals, "Many serious abdominal problems may manifest as blood in urine, vomit, or stool due to internal bleeding, obstructions, tumors, trauma, infection, or inflammation. While blood is often not observed in vomit, stool, or urine in abdominal problems with the naked eye, when blood can be seen, medical care should be sought promptly.
Blood in the urine (hematuria) can be due to urinary tract infection, cancer of the bladder or kidney, injury to the urinary tract, kidney stones, prostate-related problems, clotting disorders, genetic kidney or non-kidney related diseases, just to name a few.
Blood in stools can appear as frank bleeding (hematochezia) or as black stools (melena). In general, these are indications of bleeding in the gastrointestinal system. Some common medical problems associated with blood in stool are anal fissures, inflammation or infection in organs such as colon or stomach, abnormal blood vessels or varicose veins, ulcers and polyps, diverticular or cancers (e.g. colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths).
Blood in vomit (hematemesis) is another warning sign for a serious abdominal problem. Depending on the volume and frequency of vomit and the density of blood in the vomit, a wide variety of problems can be suspected. These include, but are not limited to, ulcers in the stomach or intestine, swollen veins in food pipe or stomach, tears or swelling in food pipe, inflammation or infection in the gastrointestinal tract, chronic consumption of anti-inflammatory or pain killer medication, injuries in the abdomen, or cancers of the stomach, food pipe, or pancreas."
Diarrhea or Constipation
"These are two very common symptoms that should generally resolve within a few days," Dr. Khubchandani. "Commonly associated conditions are food-borne illness, antibiotic or antacid consumption, use of pain medication or diet supplements, artificial sweeteners or junk food consumption, lack of dietary fiber or spicy food consumption, inadequate water drinking, etc.). One should seek medical help when diarrhea and constipation last longer than a few days and other symptoms also appear simultaneously (e.g. weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, incontinence, severe dehydration, blood in stools, vomit, or urine, etc.)."
Nausea or Vomiting
Dr. Khubchandani explains, "Among the most common symptoms, these can be indicators of common abdominal problems such as acid reflux, overeating, gas, indigestion, or food-borne illness. However, nausea and vomiting can also be indicators of serious abdominal problems such as ulcers, cancers, and obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract. Other symptoms along with nausea and vomiting also help delineate the seriousness of the underlying abdominal problems (e.g. swallowing problems, severe pain and swelling in the abdomen, fever and difficulty breathing, etc.)."
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