And anxiety or stress of any kind can manifest into actual, physical pain.
Centra Care doctors noted a sharp increase last week in the number of patients complaining of abdominal pain, and many of the cases were attributed to stress.
The centers that reported the greatest increase included:
When a patient complains of abdominal pain, detailed information needs to be collected in order to rule out a serious problem like appendicitis. Questions regarding the location of the pain, frequency and duration will be asked, as well as identifying any red flags like sudden weight loss or blood in vomit or stool. A physical examination will also be conducted.
If there is no physical reason found for your stomachache, the pain may be anxiety- or stress-related. Sometimes just talking to someone you trust about what’s going on in your life can ease the symptoms. Exercise is also a great stress reliever for both kids and adults.
Here are some other tips that may be helpful with abdominal pain:
- Sip water or other clear fluids.
- Avoid solid food for the first few hours.
- If you have been vomiting, wait 6 hours, and then eat small amounts of mild foods such as rice, applesauce, or crackers. Avoid dairy products.
- If the pain is high up in your abdomen and occurs after meals, antacids may help, especially if you feel heartburn or indigestion. Avoid citrus, high-fat foods, fried or greasy foods, tomato products, caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages.
- Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications, and narcotic pain medications unless your health care provider prescribes them. If you know that your pain is not related to your liver, you can try acetaminophen (Tylenol).