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Stomach Ache In The Mornings

by Clara Wynn
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Stomach Ache In The Mornings

Stomach Ache In The Mornings

Stomach Ache In The Mornings: MORNING STOMACH PAIN? It can happen to anyone at any time. But what if your morning stomach ache is more than just an uncomfortable feeling? What if you’re experiencing bloating, indigestion and other symptoms associated with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers, acid reflux, and Crohn’s disease? Here are some clues to help determine the underlying cause of your discomfort.

STOMACH PAIN WITH BLOATING: If you feel bloated in addition to your usual stomachache, take note! You may have one of several conditions causing gastrointestinal distress. Bloated people often suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — when stomach contents back up into the esophagus and inflame the mucous membranes lining the throat and chest. Also called heartburn, GERD causes frequent burning sensations behind the breastbone, usually after meals. This condition affects about 10 percent of adults. People who experience GERD on a regular basis should talk to their doctor about taking over-the-counter antacids or prescription medications to relieve the symptoms.

Another common cause of abdominal pain in bloat sufferers is hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins located near the rectum and anus that carry blood toward the lower colon. Often misdiagnosed, hemorrhoids occur in approximately half of all Americans. They cause painful itching or burning around the area, but they don’t always produce visible bleeding. Other symptoms include diarrhea and constipation, though not everyone experiences them all. Doctors typically diagnose hemorrhoids by examining stool samples for blood or looking at the tissue under a microscope. Aspirin has been shown to reduce hemorrhoid size, so ask your pharmacist about its use.

And finally, there’s lactose intolerance, a disorder where the body cannot digest milk sugars properly because of damaged small intestine walls. Although many people think of lactose as “milk sugar,” the lactose molecule itself isn’t harmful; rather, it triggers intestinal problems when undigested.

Lactose intolerance occurs most commonly among adult women, whose bodies produce less of an enzyme needed to break down lactose. Symptoms vary depending upon whether the patient suffers from primary (symptoms begin soon after drinking milk) or secondary lactose intolerance. Primary lactose intolerance causes bloating, gas, cramps, and diarrhea. Secondary lactose intolerance leads to flatulence, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms. For those affected by this condition, dairy products and even foods containing milk protein can trigger severe reactions.

The good news is that lactose intolerance — like other types of food allergies — can generally be overcome by adjusting your eating habits. Avoiding certain foods and replacing them with healthier options is key to avoiding the negative effects of lactose intolerance. For example, replace sour cream and cheese sauces with low fat spreads, yogurt, and lean cuts of meat. These changes won’t solve the problem entirely, however, since these foods contain carbohydrates that the body must process before being absorbed. To avoid further complications from lactose intolerance, consult a nutritionist or physician.

In addition to bloating, people suffering from inflammatory diseases such as arthritis also frequently complain of morning stomachaches. Inflammation occurs naturally in response to injury, infection, or foreign substances entering the bloodstream. However, chronic inflammation becomes problematic when it lasts longer than necessary. Certain autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis cause long-term inflammation, leading to joint destruction. Similarly, gastritis — a type of inflammation affecting the stomach — can lead to ulcer formation. Ulcers form whenever the normally protective mucosal layer covering the inner linings of the stomach wall is compromised.

Although ulcers themselves aren’t life threatening, they can become infected with bacteria. Infections within the stomach are particularly dangerous because they can spread to other parts of the digestive system through the lymphatic vessels. Left untreated, infections can result in peritonitis, an extremely serious and potentially fatal illness that attacks organs inside the abdomen.

Treating morning stomachaches related to ulcerative colitis involves removing the source of the irritation and treating the resulting infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can provide relief until a proper diagnosis can be made, at which point a visit to a medical professional is recommended. Treatment of an acute infection — including peritonitis — typically includes antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

People with diabetes are also susceptible to developing ulcers due to poor blood circulation. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels damage capillaries and prevent nutrients from reaching cells responsible for producing mucus. Without sufficient amounts of mucus to protect the inner linings of the stomach, ulcers eventually develop.

DIARRHEA AND DIASTHESIS: Constipation, food sensitivities, and infections can also cause stomach pains. Diarrhea, fluid loss, and dehydration can weaken the immune system, making it easier for germs to enter the body.

When diarrhea persists without treatment, it disrupts digestion, weakens the immune system, and leaves the intestines exposed to toxic waste. Severe cases of diarrhea are accompanied by fever, weakness, muscle cramps, and headaches. Dehydration can quickly progress to shock, organ failure, and death. Children especially need immediate attention when experiencing diarrhea; otherwise, dehydration can result in permanent brain damage.

Diarrhea treatments vary according to severity. Mild cases involve keeping enough water available to keep the stools soft while limiting intake of liquids containing salt, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages. Lozenges, mineral oil, and Zantac 75 chewables are effective against diarrhea-induced heartburn. Stronger cases require oral rehydration therapy (ORT). ORT entails providing patients with clean water and salts while monitoring temperature and urine output. Antibiotics prescribed by a doctor can help fight bacterial infections.


ABDOMINAL PAINS: Some viral illnesses such as norovirus — which causes nausea, vomiting, and sometimes diarrhea — can also worsen into full-blown stomachaches. Viruses can infect the gut via contaminated water supplies, food, or person-to-person contact. Food poisoning results from ingesting mold spores, pesticides, chemical residues, or chemicals used during processing.

Parasites, worms, and fungi can live in the bowels and feed off the body’s natural defenses. Illnesses such as amebiasis, giardia lamblia, hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, paratyphoid, salmonella, shigella, clostridium difficile, trichinellosis, cryptosporidiosis, cyclospora cayetanensis, yersinia pestis, strongyloides stercoralis, and hookworm spp. can also cause internal parasites.

Finally, parasitic cysts known as tapeworms can grow inside the human intestine and lay eggs that pass out at night.

If you suspect that an intestinal parasite might be the culprit behind your morning stomachache, see your doctor immediately. He or she will prescribe medicine to kill off the organism and/or expel the worm. Tapeworms, for instance, are best killed by piperazine citrate, which the body absorbs easily and then excretes along with the feces. Trichinellosis, another kind of tapeworm infection, is treated similarly using metronidazole. Giardia infections respond well to nitazoxanide, albendazole, tinidazole, and metronidazole. Most parasites, unfortunately, do not survive past two weeks of antibiotic treatment.

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