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6 Common Causes of Abdominal Pain

Having abdominal pain can be a mild inconvenience or have a significant impact on your well-being. There are several reasons why you may have abdominal pain, ranging from minor muscle strains to appendicitis that requires surgery.

Our skilled providers at Smart Clinic Urgent Care often deal with patients suffering from abdominal pain. Here are the six most common causes.

1. Urinary tract infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that targets your urinary system. UTIs typically cause bladder-specific symptoms like cloudy urine or pain when you urinate. 

However, the bacteria causing the infection can also affect your abdomen, specifically your lower abdomen. You may experience a lot of pressure and pain, and bloating can occur.

2. Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that causes frequent, persistent acid reflux. 

Acid reflux can cause abdominal pain because your stomach acid travels up into your esophagus. This can result in cramps and pain in your upper abdomen. Since GERD causes chronic acid reflux, it can also cause chronic abdominal pain.

3. Gastroenteritis

Simply put, gastroenteritis is the stomach flu. Eating spoiled food or viruses are usually the cause. Gastroenteritis causes symptoms like:

People with gastroenteritis often experience pain in the center of their abdomen. In most cases, it resolves on its own after a few days. If symptoms persist or become worse, contact us for treatment.

4. Food intolerance

Food intolerances can occur for many reasons. Some people can’t properly digest certain types of food (think lactose intolerance). Undigested food materials result in excessive gas buildup, causing abdominal pain and bloating.

Other people are hypersensitive to food additives. For example, coffee often causes stomach discomfort and pain for many people, while others have no issues with the beverage.

5. Gastritis

Gastritis is a condition that causes irritation, erosion, or inflammation to your stomach lining. This can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, and a painful gnawing feeling in your stomach.

Gastritis can be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis occurs suddenly, like if you drink too much alcohol and irritate your stomach, while chronic gastritis develops slowly over time. Crohn’s disease or using pain relievers like ibuprofen too often contribute to chronic gastritis.

6. Constipation

Constipation results from a large buildup of hard or dry waste in your bowels. It’s one of the most common digestive problems in America, affecting over 2 million people. 

Constipation can happen for many reasons, but two common causes are not eating enough fiber or not getting enough fluids. Too little water or fiber makes your stool harder and more difficult to pass. Hard, slow-moving waste adds more pressure on your colon, which can lead to abdominal pain. 

How to treat abdominal pain

Some cases of abdominal pain resolve on their own. Staying hydrated, resting, and avoiding foods that can irritate your stomach can help improve your pain. Taking over-the-counter gas medications or antacids can help ease an upset stomach and relieve indigestion.

If home remedies don’t work and you have abdominal pain for several days, get in touch with us. Depending on the cause, we may approach treatment in several ways, including:

Some conditions like Crohn’s disease or other forms of inflammatory bowel syndrome require special treatment. We can connect you with the right specialist if needed.

When does abdominal pain require medical attention?

Mild abdominal pain isn’t always a cause for concern. However, persistent abdominal pain may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. Other signs and symptoms that require urgent care include:

Living with abdominal pain can complicate your daily life and tasks. We encourage you to visit Smart Clinic Urgent Care in West Covina and Santa Clarita, California, if you can’t find relief at home. Give our friendly team a call to learn more or book your appointment online.

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