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Stomach Aches You Shouldn't Ignore

No one enjoys a stomach ache. Most of the time, stomach aches are caused by overindulging, gas, or even a temporary viral infection. While unpleasant, these types of stomach aches often resolve on their own.

But sometimes a stomach ache signals something more serious. Pain that lasts for several days or more or that comes back frequently isn’t normal — and shouldn’t be ignored.

Brian Prebil, DO, Eric Thomas, MD, FACS, and our surgical team bring extensive experience in stomach aches, abdominal pain, and related conditions to the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery. We regularly diagnose and treat chronic abdominal pain with minimally invasive surgical techniques to get you back to your life with less pain.

You shouldn’t ignore chronic pain and stomach aches are no exception. Recurrent stomach aches or abdominal pain could be a sign of any of the following conditions.

Hernia

Hernias develop when an abdominal organ or fatty tissue pushes through a weak spot in muscle. It may create a visible bulge that you can push back into your body. As the condition worsens, it can cause chronic abdominal pain. 

There are many different kinds of hernias, depending on where they develop in your body. Some of the most common hernias are:

Ignoring stomach pain caused by a hernia may put you at increased risk for a medical emergency because large hernias can obstruct organs like the stomach or intestines. Our team repairs all the most common types of hernias using the latest minimally invasive techniques. 

Appendicitis

The appendix is a small sac of tissue in the lower right area of your abdomen. It’s a nonessential organ that helps with immune function and digestive health. Appendicitis is a condition that develops when inflammation and infection builds up inside it.

Pain from appendicitis often begins as a dull ache that’s easy to ignore. But as the infection gets worse, it can cause ongoing sharp pain in the abdomen. Ignoring stomach pain from appendicitis increases the chances of your appendix rupturing from the pressure, which can cause serious health complications if bacteria spreads throughout your abdomen. 

When identified early, complications of appendicitis can be avoided with appendectomy. Appendectomy is a simple and safe minimally invasive procedure that removes your appendix and the infection.

Adhesions

Sometimes, prior abdominal surgery or certain autoimmune conditions cause scar tissue to form in the abdomen or around the upper intestines. These bands of scar tissue may develop into adhesions, which make organs stick together or adhere to the abdominal wall.

Adhesions can cause chronic stomach pain, particularly when you’re moving around, because organs are stuck together. Ignoring pain caused by adhesions can be dangerous because it’s possible for adhesions to eventually block critical organ function, such as digestion in your intestines. 

Our team offers minimally invasive surgical options for people with stomach pain or other complications related to adhesions. Removing excess scar tissue helps separate organs and improve abdominal health.

Gallbladder problems

The gallbladder is a small sac located near your liver. It holds bile and aides in digestion, but gallbladder problems can cause abdominal discomfort. Gallbladder disease often causes issues like inflammation, infection, and gallstones.

Abdominal pain caused by gallbladder disease may first appear in the upper middle or upper right side of your stomach. It can also cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, making this type of stomach pain challenging to ignore. 

We may recommend gallbladder surgery to remove your gallbladder if you’re suffering from stomach aches related to gallbladder disease or gallstones. Once it’s removed, most patients find their abdominal discomfort significantly reduces. 

When a stomach ache doesn’t go away for days or it seems to return continually, it’s time to get it checked out. Book an appointment with our team to find out what’s causing your pain and learn more about your treatment options.

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