Treatment for abdominal pain ranges from mild analgesics to treat the pain directly to antibiotics in the event that the pain is a result of an intestinal infection.
The stomach pain results from too much acid production, wearing down the protection of the stomach wall. The intestines may cause pain when indigestible food is passing through them or too much gas is produced. The appendix, a vestigial organ and part of the large intestine, can be infected. Also, blood vessels in the abdomen may be damaged or occluded.
Many times, simple analgesics, pain medications, are enough to treat the abdominal pain. They are administered until the cause of the pain passes away, such as in the case of stomach irritation from food or drink. Care must be taken that the analgesics themselves do not irritate the stomach or intestines. Whenever medication cannot be taken by mouth, analgesics such as phenergan may be administered intravenously.
Parietal cells in the stomach create hydrochloric acid to aid in the digestion of protein in food. The acid is very corrosive in order to denature the proteins and begin the process of digestion. Other cells in the stomach create a barrier of mucus to protect the stomach itself from being digested by the acid. When the acid exceeds the protective capacity of the mucus, pain ensues. Some antacids prevent the creation of acid. Other antacids neutralize the acid. Once acid returns to normal levels, the pain usually subsides.
Bacteria like Helicobacter pylori, Escherichia coli, or Clostridium difficile may cause infections of the stomach and abdomen. According to the National Institutes of Health, H. pylori bacteria cause the protective mucus of the stomach to thin out, causing pain from the stomach acids. Intestinal bacterial infections cause cramping of the intestines as the intestines are trying to flush out the infection. Antibiotics to eliminate the bacterial infections help alleviate the pain from these infections.
Sometimes, food is consumed that is difficult to digest. This food causes a bulge in the intestines. The ensuing cramping causes pain. Other conditions, such as gallstones, block the intestinal path, also causing cramps. Muscle relaxants may be used in order to relax the abdominal muscles and the smooth muscles that cause intestinal cramping.
- Photo Credit "Tums" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: sundaykofax (Sonya Green) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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