New Health Guide

Stomach Tender to Touch

Oct 13, 2014

image001 A stomach that is tender to touch could emanate from various organs in the body. The cause is not necessarily due to a stomach problem brought about eating the wrong kind of food. It could be due to underlying conditions such as appendicitis and kidney stones just to mention a few. Below we have highlighted some of the most common causes along with the signs and symptoms that need medical attention.

Why Is The Stomach Tender To Touch?

1. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is an inflammation that occurs within the pancreas. A patient could suffer from acute or chronic pancreatitis which could last for a couple of years. The symptoms may vary depending on the type of pancreatitis that the patient is suffering from.

Acute pancreatitis could lead to tenderness in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting and upper abdominal pain which gets worse after eating. The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include indigestion, loss of weight, steatorrhea which produces oily and smelly stools as well as pain in the upper abdomen.

2. Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a painful condition which leads to a lot of unrest. This condition is brought about when the appendix is inflamed and filled with pus. Appendicitis pain radiates through the navel to the lower abdomen and it is progressive over 12 to 18 hours leading into intolerable pain.

Appendicitis has two major causes, and these are infections within the digestive system such as gastrointestinal viral infection or obstruction of food waste.

Some of the symptoms for appendicitis include tenderness on the lower right side of the abdomen, a sharp pain on the appendix site, vomiting, constipation, nausea, poor appetite, abdominal swelling, low fever and sometimes the patient may be unable to pass gas.

3. Intestinal Obstruction

An intestinal obstruction is caused by adhesions, inflammation within the intestines, tumors and hernias. The obstruction hampers food from passing through the intestines and this could lead to death if left untreated.

Some of the symptoms of an intestinal obstruction include distention, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and the inability to have bowel movements.

4. Kidney Stones

Kidney stones also could lead to tenderness in the stomach. These are small, solid deposits that develop within the kidneys. This condition could lead to pain and which is felt on the lower abdomen, groin as well as the back, side and below the ribs. The patient could also experience some pain while urinating.

5. Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg becomes implanted outside the uterus. The fertilized egg becomes attached on uterus lining where it cannot survive. In some cases, the ectopic pregnancy could occur in the cervix, the abdominal cavity and ovary as well. The major sign of an ectopic pregnancy is a server abdominal pain which can sometimes be felt on the pelvic as well as vaginal bleeding.

6. Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is an open sore that can be found in the esophagus lining and the upper part of the small intestines of the stomach also known as the duodenum. There are different types of peptic ulcers and they include gastric ulcers which affect the stomach, esophageal ulcers and duodenal ulcers.

Contrary to what many of you believe, stress and spicy foods cannot cause peptic ulcers and it has now been established that these ulcers are as a result of certain medication or bacterial infections. Drinking and smoking also adds up the risks for getting peptic ulcer.

7. Indigestion

Indigestion is one of the most common causes for a tender stomach. The discomfort could be felt while eating or after having a meal. Most of the time, indigestion is as a result of overeating or drinking but it also could be a sign of a health complication such as cancer or gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some medications also could irritate the stomach and cause fatigue, anxiety and stress, all of which lead to indigestion.

The symptoms vary and the patient might feel that the stomach is tender to touch, bloated or even gaseous. You also might have a burning sensation in the upper abdomen or stomach and many people confuse this with a heart burn. An acidic taste can be felt on the mouth as well.

8. Constipation

Constipation can be quite uncomfortable and it’s yet another condition that could make the stomach tender to touch. Constipation comes about when there is no bowel movement and this could be as a result of an underlying health condition, changes in routine or even diet. Other symptoms of constipation include difficulty passing stool, a swollen abdomen, abdominal pressure and vomiting.

9. Stomach Flu

The stomach flu also known as gastroenteritis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection which leads to inflammation or irritation within the intestines and stomach wall lining. Symptoms of stomach flu include abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea, fever, fatigue, vomiting and swollen lymph glands.

10. Gas

Gas build up within the intestines is not uncommon and this is in fact a normal occurrence during digestion. However, some foods produce too much gas and these are mainly foods rich in fiber such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans being the major culprit. Dairy products, fruit juices and soft drinks also increase gas and could lead to a stomach that is bloated and tender to touch. If you have frequent bouts of flatulence or belching, you might have an underlying health condition such as GERD, colon cancer, ulcers or even irritable bowel syndrome.

Step by Step Diagnosis

A step by step diagnosis is conducted to identify what is making the stomach tender to touch. This includes identifying the type of pain and this could range from a dull to severe pain or cramping. The doctor will also want to find out if the patient is pregnant and ask a series of symptoms to try and identify if there is an underlying condition. The questions asked during diagnosis will try to find out where the pain begins from and whether it shifts to the back as this could indicate gallstones infection. You will also be asked if you experience sudden sharp pains which move down the groin from the back as this is a sign of a bladder infection, tumor or kidney stones.

You can follow a step by step diagnosis to see what conditions are causing your stomach tender to touch, refer to:

When to See a Doctor

There are times when you might need to seek medical attention for your stomach tenderness.

  • If the pain is intolerable and/or accompanied by fever, vomiting, constipation, vomiting, frequent or painful urination then you need to visit a doctor sooner rather than later.
  • If you have recurrent pain that lasts several days, then you also must visit a doctor.
  • Finally, there are symptoms that indicate an internal problem and immediate care should be sought for bloody stools, blood in the vomit, difficulty while breathing or when the pain occurs during a pregnancy.