If you have pain in your abdomen, it may point to a problem within your bowels or colon. Bowel pain could be insignificant and temporary but it could also be very serious.
What Causes Pain in the Bowels?
You may have eaten something that disagreed with you, contracted food poisoning, or you just might have a virus. You could also have this pain as a sign of something serious such as an infection or a disease so it’s important to pay attention to pain, especially if it’s severe or persistent.
While the upper right and upper middle areas of the abdomen typically signal a stomach disorder, other areas of the abdomen often refer to problems in the bowels.
Upper left abdominal pain isn’t as common as pain in other areas but can be the sign of a problem in the colon or pancreas, stomach, or the spleen. Upper middle pain in the abdomen could be your colon but could also be due to a urinary tract infection or pelvic inflammation.
Because so many vital organs occupy this region of the body, it can be difficult to determine if your pain is from the bowel or somewhere else. If the pain is accompanied by other symptoms or if the pain is severe or persistent, you may need additional consideration from your healthcare provider.
It’s also a good idea to take note of your bowel habits if you have bowel pain. When you speak to your doctor, he or she will likely ask about your bowel habits and your eating habits. Issues such as blood in the stool or severe diarrhea accompanied with bowel pain should be investigated immediately. If you choose to eat highly processed and artificially preserved junk foods, you will likely experience constipation at some point.
The human body was not designed to assimilate garbage and you should eat only organic foods like raw vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grain breads and pastas, lean meats (preferably poultry and fish), and drink lots of purified water. The typical Western diet is far too bereft of fiber and you should make every effort to consume more of this valuable substance to aid in nutrient absorption and the efficient elimination of waste.
The lower left abdominal area is where most bowel pain occurs and is often caused by Diverticulitis or other digestive disorders. Lower right side pain can be your appendix or inflammation of the colon.
You could have a spastic colon, also described as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This condition can cause painful bowel contractions, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, or constipation. IBS can also alternate between these symptoms. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be something that is recurrent in your life, with occasional periods of flare up and then remission. A spastic colon can be painful and difficult condition from which you may suffer indefinitely.
Many people self diagnose a spastic colon or IBS after looking at the symptoms. This can be a grave error. Colon pain can also be a symptom of other serious conditions so needs to be diagnosed by a professional.
Other causes of bowel pain may include:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Bacterial infection
- Parasitic infestation
- Colon Cancer
- A bowel obstruction
Dealing with Bowel Pain
It’s important to seek attention for any sudden or intense pain to determine the cause and work on a solution. The longer bowel pain is untreated, the more your risk of it becoming serious.
If you have pain, you may need to provide stool and blood samples for testing purposes. You might also need to undergo an x-ray or ultrasound procedure. A barium enema, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy may also be required to rule out blockages, cancer, or other internal problems. Especially in the case of colon cancer, early detection is the key to reducing mortality rates.
If your bowel pain is related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you may be asked to maintain a food journal to detail your dietary habits and bowel movements plus document any pain you’re having so potential links can be detected.
While a spastic colon or IBS don’t cause long-term damage to the bowels, they can affect your quality of life in a negative fashion. If a person suffers from IBS, very often their symptoms can be managed by improving their diet so flare-ups are reduced.
If your bowel pain is due to a problem such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease, your healthcare provider can work with you to develop a treatment plan centered on improving diet, drinking purified water, exercising more often, and getting plenty of rest. Self-diagnosis of medical problems can be dangerous. Your bowel pain could be something easily managed with these natural methods for self-healing.
Many people suffer an occasional bout of bowel pain that resolves itself once the offending situation is resolved i.e. you stop eating the irritating foods or you start taking better care of your digestive health. Don’t feel that you have to run to a doctor the moment you feel any minor discomfort; but, if you experience symptoms of persistent or worsening pain, diarrhea or bloating, or cannot produce bowel movements normally, you will need to investigate further. If you ignore the pain, however, it could worsen until it becomes lethal!