Stomach upset is when you have discomfort or pain in your stomach or abdomen. It can affect your digestion, appetite and well-being. Stomach upset can have various causes and effects on your health and well-being. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes, symptoms and treatment of stomach upset, as well as some tips on how to prevent and cope with it.
What causes stomach upset?
Stomach upset can be caused by different factors, such as:
• Food: Some foods can irritate your stomach or cause indigestion, gas or bloating. These include spicy, fatty, greasy or fried foods, dairy products, beans, cabbage, broccoli and onions.
• Drinks: Some drinks can irritate your stomach or cause dehydration, acid reflux or diarrhea. These include alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, fruit juices and milk.
• Medications: Some medications can affect your stomach lining or cause nausea, vomiting or constipation. These include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, steroids and iron supplements.
• Infections: Some infections can affect your stomach or intestines and cause inflammation, fever or diarrhea. Some common infections that can cause stomach upset are:
• Viral gastroenteritis: This is also known as stomach flu or norovirus. It is caused by viruses that infect your stomach and intestines and cause vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and dehydration.
• Bacterial gastroenteritis: This is also known as food poisoning or salmonella. It is caused by bacteria that contaminate your food or water and cause vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and fever.
• Helicobacter pylori: This is a type of bacteria that lives in your stomach and can cause ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancer.
• Parasitic gastroenteritis: This is caused by parasites that invade your intestines and cause diarrhea, cramps and weight loss. Some examples are giardia, cryptosporidium and amoeba.
• Stress: Stress can affect your physical and mental health and cause stomach upset. Stress can trigger a condition called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is when you have recurrent abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea.
• Allergies: Allergies can affect your immune system and cause stomach upset. Allergies can trigger a condition called eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGE), which is when you have inflammation of the stomach and intestines due to an allergic reaction to certain foods or substances.
• Other conditions: Some other conditions can affect your stomach or digestive system and cause stomach upset. These include:
• Peptic ulcer: When you have a sore or hole in the lining of your stomach or duodenum (the first section of your small intestine), you have this condition. It can cause burning pain, bleeding or perforation.
• Gastritis: This is when you have inflammation of the lining of your stomach. It can cause pain, nausea or vomiting.
• Pancreatitis: This is when you have inflammation of the pancreas (an organ that produces digestive enzymes and hormones). It can cause severe pain, nausea or vomiting.
• Gallstones: These are hard deposits that form in the gallbladder (a small sac that stores bile). They can block the flow of bile and cause pain, nausea or jaundice.
• Celiac disease: This is when you have an autoimmune reaction to gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye). It can damage the lining of your small intestine and cause diarrhea, bloating mor malabsorption.
What are the symptoms of stomach upset?
The main symptom of stomach upset is having discomfort or pain in your stomach or abdomen. You may also experience the following symptoms:
• Nausea or vomiting
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Bloating or gas
• Loss of appetite or weight
• Heartburn or acid reflux
• Fever or chills
How is stomach upset diagnosed?
Stomach upset is usually diagnosed based on your medical history, physical examination and tests. Your healthcare provider may ask you about your symptoms, when they started, how they affect you, what triggers them and what relieves them. They may also ask you about your diet, medications, allergies, medical conditions and family history. They may also perform some tests to rule out any underlying causes of stomach upset. These tests may include:
• Blood tests: In order to look for indications of infection, inflammation, anemia, diabetes, liver problems or kidney problems.
• Urine tests: In order to detect indicators of dehydration, infection or kidney problems.
• Stool tests: In order to look for indications of infection, parasites or blood.
• Breath tests: To check for signs of Helicobacter pylori infection or lactose intolerance.
• Abdominal X-rays: To check for signs of obstruction, perforation or foreign bodies.
• Ultrasound: To check for signs of gallstones, pancreatitis or appendicitis.
• Endoscopy: In order to detect ulcers, gastritis, polyps or cancer. This entails inserting a tiny tube containing a camera. Into your mouth and down to your stomach or intestines.
How is stomach upset treated?
The treatment of stomach upset depends on the cause and severity of your condition and your personal goals. The primary aim of therapy are to alleviate symptoms. treat the underlying cause and prevent complications.
Some of the common treatments for stomach upset are:
• Dietary changes: Changing your diet can help you relieve the symptoms by avoiding foods or drinks that irritate your stomach or cause indigestion, gas or bloating. Some dietary changes that can help you with stomach upset are:
• Eating small but frequent meals throughout the day.
• Choosing foods that are bland, soft and easy to digest.
• Avoiding foods that are spicy, fatty, greasy or fried.
• Avoiding drinks that are alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or acidic.
• Drinking plenty of water and avoiding dehydration.
• Taking probiotics or yogurt help rebalance the healthy bacteria in your stomach.
• Medications: Some medications can help you with stomach upset by affecting your acid production, digestion, or motility. However, these medications are not suitable for everyone and may have side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, headache or diarrhea. You should only use these medications under the supervision of your healthcare provider and in combination with other treatments.
Some examples of medications for stomach upset are:
• Antacids: These are drugs that neutralize the acid in your stomach and relieve heartburn or acid reflux. They can be taken as tablets, liquids or chewables. Some examples are calcium carbonate (Tums), aluminum hydroxide (Maalox) and magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia).
• H2 blockers: These are drugs that reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach and prevent heartburn or acid reflux. They can be taken as tablets, liquids or injections. Some examples are ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid) and cimetidine (Tagamet).
• Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): These are drugs that block the enzyme that produces acid in your stomach and treat ulcers, gastritis and GERD. They can be taken as tablets, capsules or injections. Some examples are omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid) and esomeprazole (Nexium).
• Antidiarrheals: These are drugs that slow down the movement of food through your intestines and treat diarrhea. They can be taken as tablets, liquids or capsules. Some examples are loperamide (Imodium), bismuth subsalicy late (Pepto-Bismol) and diphenoxylate with atropine (Lomotil).
• Laxatives: These are drugs that stimulate the movement of food through your intestines and treat constipation. They can be taken as tablets, liquids, powders or suppositories. Some examples are psyllium (Metamucil), bisacodyl (Dulcolax) and senna (Senokot).
• Antibiotics: These are drugs that kill bacteria that cause infections in your stomach or intestines such as Helicobacter pylori, salmonella or E. coli. They can be taken as tablets, liquids or injections. Some examples are amoxicillin (Amoxil), clarithromycin (Biaxin) and metronidazole (Flagyl).
• Alternative therapies: These are treatments that use natural or complementary methods to relieve the symptoms and improve the well-being. They can be used along with conventional treatments but should not replace them without consulting your healthcare provider. Some examples are acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal remedies.