Your abdomen is a vital part of your body that gets a workout every day as you go about daily activities. So when you are experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, discomfort/achiness, weight loss, bleeding into the intestinal tract, or excessive gas, it is important to identify the problem and get solutions that help you take control of your health.
At Midtown Surgical & Skin Institute, we care about collaborating with you to find the correct approach for your abdominal concerns. Our compassionate, personalized medical consultations make it easier for you to feel better and enjoy your life, your way.
Signs and Symptoms of Abdominal Disorders
The most common signs of abdominal disorders include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Feeling full
- Difficulty swallowing
- Frequent regurgitation
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
- Bowel obstruction
- Bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract, rectal bleeding or darker stools
Common Abdominal Disorders
- Gallbladder --- gallbladder can produce gallstones - which can cause symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, chest pain, or back pain. This can lead to acute cholecystitis - acute inflammation and infection of the gallbladder. Or to chronic cholecystitis - more insidious symptoms described above.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — Commonly referred to as acid reflux and heartburn, this condition causes stomach acid to back up into the esophagus—causing burning, possible chest pain, trouble swallowing, constantly clearing throat, cough, asthma, sinus infections, or sore throat.
- Appendicitis — A blockage of the appendix that results in symptoms such as increasing abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and fever. If you think you may have appendicitis, see a doctor immediately.
- Ulcer — This is a sore that occurs in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine, resulting in pain and bleeding. Complications include life-threatening intestinal bleeding or perforation. This includes vomiting fresh or old blood (can appear similar to coffee grounds), maroon colored foul-smelling stools, severe abdominal pain, and passing out. If you think you may have an ulcer, see a doctor immediately.
- Gastrointestinal Cancer — The symptoms can be insidious and often present only in the later stages of the disease, therefore making it important to obtain screening colonoscopies and not to ignore other symptoms, including unintentional weight loss, anemia (low blood count), poor appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, changes in stool caliber, changes in stool color, and constipation.
Diagnosing Abdominal Disorders
- Physical exam — Appendicitis and gallbladder disease can be tested in part by physical examination for pain in the region of the appendix or gallbladder.
- CT scan/MRI/Ultrasound — Helps to confirm gallbladder problems or appendicitis.
- Endoscopy — An EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy) or colonoscopy may be performed to assess GERD/Reflux, a hiatal hernia, ulcers, intestinal bleeding, weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.
- Surgery — Certain abdominal disorders require surgery for resolution of symptoms. Laparoscopic surgery techniques, robotic surgery, and rarely open surgery are all options, depending on your needs.
- Prescription medicine — For conditions such as GERD and ulcers, short-term medications, as well as dietary and lifestyle modifications, can be helpful and prevent future complications.
Most people who have surgery will go home the same day and recuperate at home. Appendicitis or acute gallbladder surgery may require an overnight stay in the hospital before being released. Light activity can usually be resumed after 2 weeks, while more strenuous physical exertion will need to wait for 4-6 weeks after your surgery. This helps prevent a hernia from occurring and allows for greater success with the surgery.
Bruising and swelling is expected around the incisions and overall in the abdominal area.
Steri-strips are placed over the incisions and typically remain until the post-operative appointment.
Recommended Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Since a common cause of abdominal disorders are tied to obesity and straining, maintaining a healthy weight and healthy diet with good eating habits is a valuable preventative measure.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to prevent constipation and maintain healthy bowel habits.
- Don’t lift anything that is too heavy to handle. And lift objects with proper techniques.
- Avoid smoking, which can lead to persistent coughing and cause acid reflux. It also compromises wound healing—which can lead to infections.
- Avoid drinking, which can agitate an ulcer.
- If you’re dealing with acid reflux, eliminating certain foods that exacerbate your symptoms can be helpful (caffeine, tomatoes, etc.). Your doctor can provide specific recommendations.
Will my abdominal pain go away on its own? Can I use natural treatments?
Sometimes. If your abdominal pain is due to musculoskeletal issues such as a strained muscle, then it will go away over time. However, abdominal pain that has not gone away or gotten better in a few days, needs to be evaluated by your doctor to better identify the cause of the persistent abdominal pain.
Can ulcers resolve on their own?
Sometimes. Typically, ulcers do reoccur from time to time. But treating them with the proper medicines and changes in your diet will work together to help ulcers from becoming worse or a surgical emergency.
Schedule a Consultation
Enjoy better health and take control of your life with your abdominal pain from your trusted team at Midtown Surgical & Skin Institute. Set up a consultation visit today!