The term “belly ache” can cover a number of sensations and none of them are good! Most of them aren’t serious, but if you have belly pain often, it’s a good idea to talk to a medical professional.
At Family Acupuncture and Wellness, we embrace the practice of functional medicine. Our practitioners, led by Adam Learner, LAc, seek to treat the underlying cause of your pain. If you have frequent belly aches, we won’t suggest that you take a gas pill and carry on. Instead, we’ll try to help you figure out why you’re experiencing pain and treat that problem.
The problem with abdominal pain is that there are so many potential causes. Do you have gas? Or could you have an ulcer? Your abdomen houses several organs and systems, and each is complex.
One way to begin understanding what’s going on is to figure out what type of abdominal pain you’re experiencing. Acute abdominal pain is short-lived, lasting about a week or less. It’s the kind of pain you have when you have a stomach virus, for example.
If you have chronic abdominal pain, it hurts for weeks or even months. It may come and go and vary in intensity. You might think of this as a frequent belly ache.
Progressive abdominal pain steadily gets worse over time. Often, if you have progressive abdominal pain, you have other symptoms as well.
The intensity of your pain is often less important than the type. Some very serious conditions, like colon cancer, cause only mild pain, whereas a bad case of gas can cause quite intense pain.
You might also note whether your pain is widespread, or the medical term: generalized. Do you feel pain in more than half of your abdomen?
If your pain is localized, it’s concentrated in one area. It might also be a cramp-like pain, such as you’d feel with gas, or what might be described as colicky pain — pain that comes in waves.
There are many, many causes of abdominal pain from food poisoning to pancreatitis. Even urinary tract infections can cause abdominal pain.
The wide variety of conditions that can lead to belly aches is the main reason we encourage you to seek professional evaluation if you have abdominal pain consistently. Here are some of the other possible causes:
- Bowel blockage
- Gallbladder inflammation
- Kidney stones
- Muscle strain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Food allergy
The functional medicine difference
Another reason that we encourage you to get care if you consistently have belly aches is that it’s not normal, and you shouldn’t have to live with consistent discomfort. Even if the cause is something relatively benign, such as gas, you still have to deal with pain.
When you come to Family Acupuncture and Wellness, we consider you as a whole person and discuss your symptoms, your medical history, and your lifestyle. All of those things can affect you and could potentially lead to belly aches.
It’s possible that some fairly simple changes, such as changes to your diet, or adding supplements, could help ease your belly aches. You may need help in reducing your level of stress, or perhaps in building better sleep habits.
If you have consistent abdominal pain, schedule an appointment at Family Acupuncture and Wellness. You don’t have to live with discomfort.