What to Do for Stomach Pain?


Stomach or abdominal pain is the pain that is felt between the area of your chest and pelvis. This pain may arise from the tissues and muscles of the abdominal walls. It may also arise from major organs located within the area such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small intestine and colon. In most cases, stomach pain occurs as a result of indigestion, otherwise known as functional dyspepsia or nonulcer stomach pain. This common type of stomach pain mainly involves the upper gastrointestinal area from the esophagus and stomach to the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). Symptoms may include a burning sensation felt on the area of your upper abdomen, belching and regurgitation, bloating, flatulence (gas) and nausea.

Things You'll Need

  • Antacids
  • Acid suppressants
  • Prokinetic drugs
  • Antispasmodic medications
  • Low-dose of antidepressant drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • Relieve your stomach pain through acid neutralizers. Antacids provide immediate relief by counteracting or neutralizing the acidity of the stomach. You can purchase over-the-counter antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta and Rolaids in tablet and in liquid form.

  • Take some cytoprotective agents to relieve your stomach pain. Acid suppressant drugs alleviate inflammation of the tissues that line the abdominal walls by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. The two types of medications that reduce stomach acids are the acid blockers and the proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). They work differently, but both decreases the production of stomach acids. Drugs such as cimetidine (Tagamet), nizatidine (Axid), ranitidine (Zantac) and famotidine (Pepcid) are among the acid blockers. While the proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) include lansoprazole (Prevacid), esomeprazole (Nexium), omeprazole (Prilosec), rabeprazole (Aciphex) and pantoprazole (Protonix)

  • Ask your doctor about prokinetic drugs. This type of agents promote quick emptying of stomach contents, which then reduces bloating, pain and discomfort. Prokinetic drugs metoclopramide (Reglan) and domperidone may be prescribed by your doctor. These medications have side effects, such as drowsiness, restlessness, fatigue, headaches and dizziness. Make sure to take these medications with accordance to the instructions of your physician. If any of the side effects set in, go to your doctor right away.

  • Treat your abdominal pain using antispasmodic medications. These drugs help in relieving spasms in the smooth muscles of your intestines. They relax the muscles that eventually decreases the discomforting symptoms of indigestion. Antispasmodic medications commonly prescribed by doctors include dicyclomine (Bentyl)and hyoscyamine (Levsin).

  • Find relief by using low-dose antidepressant medications. Stomach pain associated with dyspepsia is sometimes treated using low-dose of tricyclic antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). For tricyclic antidepressants, doctors may prescribe desipramine, imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline and amitriptyline. As for SSRIs, doctors may suggest fluoxetine (Prozac), Zoloft, paroxetine (Paxil), Lexapro and Celexa.

  • Consult your doctor regarding antibiotic treatment. If your stomach pain is caused by helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, antibiotics are often prescribed for treatment. Antibiotic medications most commonly prescribed include clarithromycine (Biaxin), amoxicillin (Amoxil), tetracycline (Sumycin) and metronidazole (Flagyl). In some cases, antibiotic treatment is administered in combination with an acid suppressant. You can purchase antibiotics packed with acid suppressants, such as drugs Helidac and Prevpac.

  • Ease your stomach pain with hot compresses. This is a very effective way to find temporary relief. Find an empty bottle that will securely hold hot water. Lie down and place a towel on your abdominal area and then position the bottle on top of it. Let the bottle stay there until the pain goes away.

  • Make some changes in your diet and manner of eating. You should learn how to avoid foods and beverages that can trigger stomach pain, such as fatty and spicy foods, carbonated, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. Try not to skip meals, do your best to maintain a regular eating habit. When you eat, take time to chew your food well before swallowing it, to facilitate good digestion. Avoid overeating--it is better to eat smaller meals more often than consuming a large amount of food in one meal.

  • Exercise regularly and stop smoking. Regular workouts will help get rid of excess fats that can push in on your stomach causing acid to back up in your esophagus (reflux). Maintain a healthy weight to protect yourself away from any stomach discomfort. Also, do your best to quit smoking--besides giving you a tummy ache due to excess gas, it also puts you at risk of having deadly diseases.

Tips & Warnings

  • Learn to manage stress and find ways to relax--this will help give you a healthy and pain-free tummy. Contact your doctor immediately when any of the following occurs: recurrent and persistent burning sensation and sharp abdominal pain; dizziness, nausea and excessive vomiting; and decreased appetite and unexplained weight loss. Also, watch If stomach pain is accompanied with breathing difficulties and sweating. Also note any blood in your stools.

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  • Photo Credit Creative Commons License, by: Harpo42, copyright: January 2008
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