When you’re suffering with any kind of mystery symptoms, the last thing you want to hear is, “It’s all in your head!” It’s not in your head, it’s in your stomach, and it hurts. If you’re suffering from chronic mystery belly pain, this article might help provide some insight into what’s going on.
Here are 4 possible reasons your stomach hurts all the time:
1. Gluten Intolerance
Gluten intolerance is a common reason for mystery stomach pain. It’s estimated that 1 in every 133 people in the United States is affected by gluten intolerance.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some oats. In people with an intolerance to this protein, it could cause a large range of troubling signs and symptoms which include:
Unexplained weight reduction or gain
Feeling of being “sick all over”
Chronic flatulence (gas)
Distended (bloated) stomach
The most effective way to check for gluten intolerance at home is to avoid any and all traces of it completely for two months. Then, after that period is over, reintroduce gluten into your diet.
If your symptoms vanished while you were on the gluten-free diet and return with a vengeance when you start eating it again, you’ve likely found your culprit!
2. Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is another common reason for mystery stomach pain. In people with lactose intolerance, their digestive systems are not able to digest the sugar in milk, and this intolerance can result in signs and symptoms which include:
To check for lactose intolerance, remove all lactose products from your diet (even prescription drugs that might have a lactose base—don’t stop taking your medications, talk with your doctor about replacements, if necessary) for two months to see if symptoms improve. In the event that they do, you’ve likely discovered your reason for mystery stomach pain.
3. Bowel Disorders
Bowel disorders, which include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome might be the reason for your mystery stomach pain.
Let’s examine each of them in better detail:
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder characterized by inflammation in the intestines that cause ulcerations or tears within the digestive lining. This generally happens in the large and small intestine. However, it can have an effect on any part of the digestive tract from the throat to the anus.
Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:
Quick and unplanned weight loss
Ulcerative colitis has similar symptoms to Crohn’s disease, but, in the case of UC, the inflammation is commonly restricted to the colon.
Signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Unlike Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome isn’t considered an inflammatory bowel disorder, but it can cause serious and troubling symptoms, such as:
Frequent diarrhea or
Irritable bowel syndrome is thought to be a result of the body’s response to certain foods and stress.
4. Intestinal Parasites
Another cause of mystery stomach pain is intestinal parasites. Most people believe that the only way you can get intestinal parasites is to journey to an overseas country and drink the water.
It is anticipated that over 50 percent of the American population is infected with parasites. These sneaky little buggers may be picked up from meat, gardening, pets, tap water, or sexual contact with an infected companion.
Common signs and symptoms of intestinal parasites are:
Tension, irritability, insomnia
Unexpected weight loss
As gross as this may sound, you could additionally see parasites in your stools. (Although you don’t need to see them to have them.)
Living with mystery stomach pain is hard. It’s especially difficult when it seems no one believes you or can figure out what’s causing it. You have a right to be heard and believed. If your doctor isn’t giving you the testing you need, try getting a second opinion.
Alternatively, there are lab tests you can take at home that may help give you the answers you need faster and more effectively than waiting for a referral.