There are a variety of causes of stomach pain, which can range from benign to life-threatening. The most common cause is gastroenteritis, and the sudden onset can leave you feeling very unwell. Here's what you need to know, plus some tips on how to help relieve symptoms and make sure it doesn't happen again.
A healthy gut will always be necessary for your health, but it's even more critical when dealing with stomach pain! Follow these simple steps and stay tuned for more helpful articles about gastric issues.
Gastroenteritis causes abdominal pains caused by an inflamed stomach lining or digestive tract. They are often caused by a viral infection such as gastroenteritis, viral gastritis and viral enteritis.
There is a clear difference between acute and chronic inflammation of the gut. Acute inflammation is temporary and will usually resolve after your body's immune response has run its course, usually around 1 to 2 weeks. On the other hand, chronic inflammation lasts longer- typically lasting between 3 months to 1 year.
When the gut is inflamed, it reacts by causing an increase in mucus production to protect the gut wall against irritation. The stomach can also produce more acid when it's inflamed, and secretion of digestive enzymes is also increased to break down food and clear the inflammation.
Inflammation can also cause pain in its own right, making symptoms worse.
Infectious agents are viruses or bacteria that infect different parts of your body. Many viral infections involving contagious diseases are associated with gastroenteritis. These can be bacteria, parasites, or viruses that may infect the stomach or intestines. These infectious agents are transmitted through simple contact or contaminated food and water ingest.
Viruses that commonly cause gastroenteritis include rotavirus, norovirus and adenoviruses. Bacterial infections such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and Shigella can also be causes of gastroenteritis. Finally, parasites like Entamoeba histolytic and Giardia lamblia also cause some forms of gastroenteritis.
Bacteria and parasites are two of the most common causes of gastroenteritis.
The first step in preventing gastroenteritis is to understand the most common and contagious agents:
Rotavirus: The leading cause of gastroenteritis in children is spread by contaminated water & food and through contact with an infected person. Rotavirus is responsible for 30% of all cases of acute childhood diarrhoea and 20% of all cases of acute diarrhoea caused by bacteria. It is the only virus considered a significant cause of gastroenteritis worldwide.
Norovirus: One of the most common causes of gastroenteritis in adults. Noro viruses are a group of viruses that cause stomach and intestinal diseases. The virus is spread through contaminated water, food and contact with an infected person. Since there is no vaccine for norovirus, it is essential to take care in preventing the spread of this disease through proper handwashing and sanitation.
Adenoviruses: A group of viruses that can cause gastroenteritis. There are several types of Adenovirus, but only a few strains have been found to cause gastroenteritis in humans. The virus is spread through contact with an infected person.
Campylobacter: A bacterial infection caused by eating food contaminated by animal faeces. The bacteria is spread through contaminated water, food and contact with an infected animal. Eating improperly cooked poultry and unpasteurized milk are the most common infectious causes.
Salmonella: A bacterial infection caused by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated by animal or human faeces. Salmonella infections can lead to gastroenteritis and other complications, such as meningitis in children and septicemia in adults. It is transmitted through contaminated water, food and contact with an infected person or animal.