Chronic stomach pain is any abdominal pain that lasts for two weeks or more. The discomfort may be either constant or recurring during that time, and may be varying in intensity. The main symptom is the pain itself, but there can also be nausea, cramping, diarrhea, or heart burn, depending on the cause of the stomach pain.
There are several conditions that can cause chronic stomach pain. One of the most common is constipation. Chronic constipation is usually caused by problems with a person’s diet. The pain from constipation centers around the belly button, and may occur several times a day as the bowels contract, trying to clear themselves. The pain will last from 10 to 30 minutes before stopping again. Constipation can be treated by increasing water and fiber intake, and eating more fruits and vegetables.
Another condition that could cause repeated stomach pain is lactose intolerance, or a milk allergy. If the body cannot correctly digest dairy products, this could cause abdominal pain. Lactose intolerance can also cause gas, diarrhea, and cramping, especially after eating a dairy product. By limiting the amount of dairy consumed, the pain caused by lactose intolerance can be reduced. There are also some medications that can reduce this pain.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can cause chronic stomach pain. IBS is a gastric disorder which can cause gas, cramps, and a mix of constipation and diarrhea. It is caused by spasms in the bowel,It can often be aggravated by stress and disagreeable foods. IBS is not curable, but it is possible to treat with changes in diet, medication, and relaxation techniques.
Crohn’s disease can also cause abdominal pain. Crohn’s causes inflammation and discomfort throughout the digestive track, from mouth to anus. This is caused by the immune system attacking the digestive system for an unknown reason. There is a genetic link, and smokers are more likely to get Crohn’s disease than non-smokers. Other symptoms of Crohn’s include diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting. There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, but it is partially manageable through diet and medication.
Other potential causes of chronic stomach pain include heartburn, ulcers, intestinal infections, and, rarely, tumors or organ problems such as appendicitis. If the stomach pain is severe, or lasts longer than a few weeks, it should be checked by a doctor. Most causes of stomach pain are treatable with changes in diet.