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What is Chronic Stomach Pain?

Pain can originate from a number of different sources.
An illustration of a human stomach.
IBS can cause chronic stomach pain.
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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2014
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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.

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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.

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Discuss this Article

anon348290
Post 4

Does singing cause pain in the stomach between the ribs?

I am confused because I have had constipation for many years already. There are so many possibilities for my pain.

blackDagger
Post 3

@ Anon128797 – Hi! There usually isn’t this kind of symptom without a real problem. But it could possibly be that the problem is arising from psychological causes.

Have you thought about, or has your doctor suggested, nervous indigestion?

This is a real condition where a person can have bad stomach pain, bloating, and even indigestion all directly related to stressful conditions and poor diet habits. I myself have suffered from it for years, and I can assure that the pain is not pretend.

Maybe you should suggest this to your physician.

Hope you feel better soon!

Domido
Post 2

My dad suffered from chronic stomach pain, and it was eventually discovered that he needed his gall bladder removed. Now, as soon as he did this we thought that the burning stomach pain would subside.

No such luck, and another batch of tests revealed that he also had diverticulitis. That was quite an ordeal, and ended up with him eating a very specialized diet.

The doctor at the hospital that he was at told him to eat a certain amount of fiber a day, and that eating this fiber rather than taking a supplement was the best way to go. (I can't remember the exact amount, but it really was a lot.)

So here goes my daddy, bless him, constantly eating random things like whole grain products and high fiber vegetables – stuff he’d never even touched before just trying to get the fiber he needed.

It was nothing unusual to see him go walking by with like a piece of broccoli hanging out of his mouth and another stalk in his hand.

Then, he had another bout with the diverticulitis where it was finally revealed to him that you would literally have to eat fiber filled foods all day, every single day to get the recommended amount!

Now, he is settling for taking his supplement without complaint.

anon128797
Post 1

where there is no illness, what can be done for severe stomach pain?

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