Stomach pains can often be both distressing and frightening, especially if the cause is unknown. Most stomach pains are not related to serious medical conditions, although there are a few possible causes for these pains that could be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Once an accurate diagnosis has been obtained, stomach pains may be treated in a variety of ways, including with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Dietary changes and lifestyle modifications may also be used to help treat stomach pains, depending on the direct cause.
Heartburn and acid reflux are common causes of the development of stomach pains. Treatment for these conditions often begins with the use of over-the-counter antacids or acid reducers. Dietary changes may also be suggested in order to avoid the types of food that often contribute to the stomach pains associated with these conditions. In some cases, prescription medications are needed in order to obtain an acceptable level of symptom relief. In rare cases, surgical intervention may become necessary to repair damage to the stomach or esophagus.
Peptic ulcers are also known to cause stomach pains. In many cases, prescription medications are needed in order to properly treat this condition. Other types of medications, including acid reducers and antacids, are also commonly used. A special type of medication known as a cytoprotective agent may be used in some cases in an attempt to protect the stomach and small intestine from incurring additional damage while the ulcer heals.
Gastritis, or an inflammation of the stomach lining, is a frequent cause of stomach pains. This condition can lead to other conditions such as heartburn and indigestion. For this reason, many of the treatment options are the same. Common medical treatments include the use of antibiotics, antacids, and acid reducers. Herbal therapy and vitamin supplementation has shown to be beneficial for many patients.
Patients who are afflicted with chronic stomach pains are often advised to make a few lifestyle and dietary changes. Smoking has been shown to aggravate many stomach conditions, so it is recommended that the patient stop smoking if that is an issue. Caffeine, carbonated beverages, and alcohol may need to be used in moderation or stopped completely in order to notice an improvement in symptoms. Some types of pain relievers, including aspirin and ibuprofen, may also cause an exacerbation of symptoms in some people. Increasing the amounts of fiber and decreasing the intake of fatty foods is often helpful as well.