Stomach pain is a subjective sensation felt by a person and it is considered as nature’s signal indicating some problem in your stomach. Abdominal pain which is generally referred by many people as stomach pain can be due to many reasons. These pains can be sharp and shooting or dull and aching. There are several organs situated in the abdomen such as stomach, pancreas, liver, kidney, bladder, small and large intestine, large vessels, organs of reproduction etc. Pain arising from any of these organs can be referred to as abdominal pain or stomach pain.In many cases, stomach pain can be a referred pain that arises from organs not situated in the abdomen such as diseases of heart and lungs.
Most of the time stomach pains are of not serious origin; they come and go with or without treatment. However stomach pain should not be neglected as there are many serious conditions that can cause sharp and shooting stomach pain. These conditions if not attended or neglected can lead to complications. At times they can be fatal. Keeping this perspective in mind, a person who suffers from stomach pain should always consult his physician and should not try self treatment.
What Causes Sharp Stomach Pains That Come And Go?
Let us know what the causes are of sharp stomach pains that come and go frequently:
- Acid peptic disease: acid reflux, stomach and duodenal ulcer, gastritis etc are few diseases that come under one umbrella of acid peptic disease. Sharp shooting pain is characteristic of peptic ulcer. The epigastric pain increases with intake of food and relived after vomiting suggest gastritis or gastric ulcer. The pain is located in stomach area (epigastric area). Sharp stomach pain which comes and goes in night, over the belly button area suggest duodenal ulcer. The pain is relieved after eating.
- Appendicitis: it can cause sharp pain in the right side of abdomen. Fever, tenderness, vomiting and nausea may be concomitant symptoms.
- Acute pancreatitis: sharp pain radiating to the back and relieved on bending forward accompanied by vomiting, low blood pressure, fast pulse, sweating are suggestive of pancreatitis.
- Gallstone pain: sharp pain can be felt in the right upper abdomen radiating to the back bone and the shoulder. The pain is usually triggered after eating fatty food. The pain remains for few hours after which it goes away.
- Kidney and ureter pain: Kidney stone and stone in the ureter (tube that carries urine from kidney to the bladder) can cause sharp shooting pain. The pain can extend till thigh. Blood in urine, vomiting etc are other associated symptoms.
- Blockage of main artery of the abdomen due to blood clot or atherosclerosis can cause sharp pain in the stomach that often come and go.
- Intestinal worms: presence of worms in the intestine can cause frequent sharp pain in the stomach.
- Twisting or torsion of testes can produce sharp pain in the lower abdomen. Together with torsion, there is painful swelling of testes.
- Pregnancy related pains can be sharp and shooting that often come and go.
- Constipation: it can also cause pain the abdomen together with bloating and gases.
- Urinary tract infection: infection in bladder and kidney are known to cause pain in the abdomen. Fever, burning urine, red urine etc are few other associated symptoms.
- Functional pain: this type of pain is fairly common and it does not have any reason. The pain varies in type, character and site. It can occur in different site at different times. The person responds to suggestion or home treatment. However, it should be the last diagnosis after ruling out more significant and serious causes of sharp pain in the stomach.
Treatment For Severe Stomach Pain
In most cases the effective treatment of the underlying disease controls the stomach pain. But before starting the treatment, it is necessary to establish the cause of sharp pain in the stomach. Otherwise disappearance of pain due to symptomatic treatment may worsen the disease and endanger the person’s life. This is particularly true in appendicitis, intestinal obstruction, ectopic pregnancy etc.
After establishing the cause, the treatment may include:
- Pain relief medicines.
- Fluid replacement intravenously to correct fluid loss if any, and give rest to the intestine.
- Specific medicine for the underlying disease.
Home remedies: In most cases sharp stomach pain that come and go can be treated conservatively by your physician. Some measures you can take to ease the pain at home such as;
- Place a warm water bottle over the abdomen.
- Do not eat spicy food; avoid alcohol, tea as it may worsen the pain.
- Eat light food and drink vegetable soups.
- Take rest.
- Drink enough water.