What is abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain – often called stomach ache or tummy ache, is whenever you have pain between your chest and pelvic region.
Abdominal pain usually gets better on its own relatively quickly or with simple treatments. However, some causes of abdominal pain can be severe. So if your symptoms are severe, frequent and/or long-term, you should visit your GP for a diagnosis of your abdominal pain.
What are the symptoms of abdominal pain?
If you’re having pain in what feels like your stomach or intestines, you might be experiencing:
- Cramps or any other intermittent or sharp pain
- Aches or dull pain
- Bloating and a general feeling of fullness
- Excessive belching
- Nausea or vomiting
These are all symptoms of abdominal pain and could either go away on their own or potentially indicate a broader issue.
What causes abdominal pain?
There are many possible causes of abdominal pain, and your doctor or consultant can consider a wide range – from relatively minor to occasionally serious causes. Our clinic looks at problems which may be caused by:
- Delays in your food and drink moving on from your stomach (called gastroparesis)
- Bowel spasms
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Too much bacteria in your small intestine (called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO)
- Food intolerances, especially lactose or fructose intolerance
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (dyspepsia)
- An infection of Helicobacter pylori bacteria
How do we diagnose the causes of abdominal pain?
If you’re wondering why you have stomach pain, our tests could help to diagnose the causes of abdominal pain. We might run some of the following tests:
- Gastric emptying test – which measures how quickly food leaves your stomach
- Hydrogen and methane breath test – which finds out if you have an overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine (called SIBO) or certain food intolerances (lactose or fructose).
- Wireless motility capsule (SmartPill™) – where you swallow a special capsule which takes a series of measurements
- Oesophageal manometry – which measures the function of your oesophagus (food pipe)
- 24-hour pH impedance monitoring – which looks at whether you have any reflux
- Helicobacter pylori breath test – a simple test to detect this bacteria
- IBSchek™ (coming soon) – a blood test