Abdominal pain is not usually a cause for concern, but it’s important to understand the difference between an upset stomach and a more serious gastrointestinal condition, like Inflammatory bowel disease. Some GI symptoms could be due to an underlying infection, autoimmune disease, or cancer. Anne Thai, MD, diagnoses, manages, and treats a variety of gastrointestinal issues at her office in Burlingame, California. With Dr. Thai’s help, you can overcome your abdominal pain. Call the office or book an appointment online today to learn more.
Your abdomen extends from the bottom of your chest to the top of your pelvis. If you’re experiencing pain in your abdominal region, it can feel like a dull ache, a knife-like sharpness, or a cramp.
While everybody experiences abdominal pain every once in a while, if it becomes severe or constant, you may have a problem that needs medical attention.
The abdomen contains the digestive system, including the stomach, small and large intestines, gallbladder, appendix, liver, and pancreas, so there are many conditions that can cause abdominal pain.
Sometimes your pain is due to an infection or obstruction, or it may be caused by a gastrointestinal disorder, such as:
Constipation occurs when you have three or fewer bowel movements a week. Many people experience constipation after a change in diet. However, it can also be the result of an underlying condition, such as a bowel obstruction or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Crohn’s disease is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disorder that causes inflammation and scarring in your intestines. It can lead to cramping, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and even anemia.
IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, and bloating.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel condition that typically affects the colon, resulting in cramps, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Because ulcerative colitis raises your risk of colon cancer, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis so you can undergo treatment as soon as possible.
Celiac disease is an immune response to gluten, which you can find in certain grains like wheat and barley. If you’re experiencing frequent abdominal pain, cramping, gas, or bloating, you may have celiac disease or, alternatively, a gluten intolerance.
Colon cancer develops in the lower digestive tract (the colon or rectum). Sometimes it has no symptoms, especially early on, but it may cause abdominal pain, bloody stool, or pencil-thin stool. When diagnosed early, colon cancer is curable, which is why experts recommend regular screenings starting around age 45-50.
Dr. Thai offers individualized treatments for abdominal pain, so her goal is to give you the most accurate diagnosis possible. Depending on your symptoms and results of your physical exam, she may need to perform any of the following diagnostic procedures:
A colonoscopy involves inserting a colonoscope, which is a thin tube with a camera, through the anus to check for abnormalities of the entire colon and rectum. If polyps are discovered during a colonoscopy, they’re removed and sent for a biopsy.
Much like a colonoscopy, an upper endoscopy uses a thin tube with a camera at the end to diagnose conditions of the upper digestive system. During the procedure, Dr. Thai inserts the tube through your mouth and down your esophagus into the stomach and first part of the small intestine.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is very similar to a colonoscopy, but it’s performed specifically to examine the last part of the colon and the rectum.
A capsule endoscopy targets the small intestines, where a traditional endoscopy and colonoscopy cannot reach. You swallow a capsule that contains a tiny camera, which captures images as it moves along inside your gastrointestinal tract.
If you’re struggling with persistent abdominal pain and need expert care, call Anne Thai, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.