Just the other night I was having a terrible stomach pain. It did go away after an hour or so and it was most likely the cheese omelet and the spicy chicken playing foul. But that experience provided me with some delicious food for thought. Exactly how to know if a belly pain is serious or not? When to pick up the phone and book an ambulance and when to curl up on the bed and just fight it out like a man? I for one have had numerous sleepless nights due to excruciating stomach pains but they almost always went away by within a few hours. But I have seen my own friend die within a few hours from what started as an innocuous stomach ache. So the answer may not be that simple.
Being the son of a doctor, I have seen many medical situations up front. Those experiences and my own personal ones have taught me a few things about tummy aches and human health in general. The most common reason for stomach ache is often diarrhoea, gas, common loose motion, food poisoning, liquor poisoning, physical exhaustion (fatigue) etc. Now there are different ways to tell whether you are having stomach troubles due to one of these reasons or not.
Identifying gas related pains have been fairly easy for me. Whenever I get gas related related troubles, it feels like there is something lodged inside my chest or the diaphragm area that is not moving. It is the telltale sign for me. If this symptom is missing, then you can recall your last meal. There are certain veg and non-veg food elements that can induce gas problems. Cauliflower, red meat, potatoes in large quantities can create gas. If those items were on the menu then there is an 80% chance that you are having gas related stomach pains.
Diagnosing diarrhoea is easier as frequent trips to the loo are usually associated with the pain. If the stool does not have blood then you should be in the clear. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. If the diarrhoea does not subside withing 48 hours then you should visit the doctor or the ER. Food poisoning is the primary cause of diarrhoea apart from spicy and hard to digest foods. Liquor poisoning can happen from drinking too much alcohol. The end result often includes messing up the floor with vomit. Drinking excessive tea or coffee can also cause occasional stomach pains as we have mentioned here.
But there are certain abdominal pains that should never be ignored. I usually follow a checklist whenever anyone near me is having a stomach pain. If any of the markers on the list are checked, I push for a doctor visit.
1. Is the pain so bad that the person is having trouble talking and breathing?
2. Is the pain so bad that he disconnected from internet?
3. Did he have any surgery recently? By recently I mean in the last one year.
4. Is the person a pregnant woman?
5. Was there a recent injury to the stomach region?
6. Is there a change in skin colour or skin discolouration?
7. Is the pain chronic?
8. Is there blood in stool and vomit?
9. Is the pain increasing with every moment?
10. Is he experiencing dizziness or is about to lose consciousness?
11. Is he talking about repentance, trying to make his will or asking god for forgiveness?
If any of the above is a check then a visit to the ER is a go. But in any case, you should first consider if the pain is due to regular troubles and will go away with time. There is really no point wasting tax payers’ money by taking a guy with acute gas to the hospital when a sachet of ENO would have done the trick. Hope this articles helps you make a decision in those painful moments.