Dull pain in the stomach may be caused by a wide variety of different factors, including gastritis, ulcers, and urinary tract infections. In more serious cases, a hiatal hernia or miscarriage could cause this type of pain as well. Someone suffering from a persistent dull ache should see a medical professional so that serious causes can be ruled out.
Gastritis is one of the most common causes of a dull stomach ache. This term is used for stomach inflammation or, more specifically, inflammation of the stomach lining. There are many different factors that can lead to gastritis, such as bacterial infection, swallowing poisons, and some medications. Food allergies, stomach trauma, and even physical stress from the flu can cause inflammation as well. If left untreated, gastritis can lead to stomach ulcers.
A stomach ulcer, or peptic ulcer, is another leading cause of dull pain in the stomach. This is a painful sore on the lining of the stomach, and it may cause burning pain in the stomach between meals, heartburn, and vomiting. Many ulcers will heal on their own, but they can cause serious digestive problems, bleeding, and even create a hole in the stomach wall if not properly cared for.
One of the more serious conditions that can cause a dull stomach ache is a hiatal hernia. This is when the upper stomach squeezes through an opening in the diaphragm. This opening is supposed to allow the esophagus to pass through, but if there is too much pressure in the stomach and the opening is weak, it can result in a hernia. Muscle weakness might be caused by overexertion, poor nutrition, or smoking, and stomach pressure is often caused by constipation, obesity, or constant coughing or sneezing.
Menstrual cramps can also cause a stomach pain, although it generally occurs more in the lower abdomen and may spread to the low back. It may be chronic pain or come in waves. Other symptoms that may be present with menstrual cramps are bloating, nausea, and fatigue. There are many options available to treat menstrual cramping, such as over-the-counter medications, heating pads, and exercise.
A dull stomach ache might be a sign of a miscarriage. If stomach pain occurs during pregnancy or if there is a possibility of pregnancy, a medical professional should be consulted right away. Bleeding is usually the first symptom of a miscarriage, followed by abdominal pain that may be a dull ache, sharp pain, or cramping similar to menstrual cramps.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) may also cause a stomach ache, and it can affect the urethra and bladder; in more serious cases, the bacteria can move into the kidneys. If this is the case, the pain will typically be accompanied by frequent or uncontrollable urges to urinate and cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
If the pain is accompanied by other symptoms, patients should probably see a medical professional. This is particularly important if the person is also experiencing a fever, vomiting, constipation, difficulty breathing, or painful or frequent urination. If the pain lasts for several days or occurs during pregnancy, there is cause for concern. Any time there is blood in the stool or vomit, the person should seek immediate medical attention.
Treatment for a dull stomach ache depends on the cause and may be as simple as adjusting the patient's diet and exercise habits and reducing stress. Medications may be prescribed for infections and inflammation. In some cases, such as a hernia, surgery may be required.