Stomach pain can be a cause for great distress for many people. There can be a variety of causes, depending upon the exact location of the pain. An upper stomach ache may indicate medical issues such as an inflammation of the pancreas or gallbladder. Other common causes of an upper stomach ache include acid reflux disease, hepatitis, and ulcers. Treatment is directed at finding the exact cause of the upper stomach ache and treating the originating condition as necessary.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, the organ responsible for the production and release of hormones such as insulin and glucagon and aiding in the digestive process. Typical symptoms include an upper stomach ache, nausea, and fever. Treatment typically involves a few days at the hospital, as well as receiving fluids and medications through an IV, a tube inserted into a vein. In more severe cases, a tube may have to be inserted into the nose that moves into the stomach for tube feedings.
Gallbladder problems such as gallstones may lead to an upper stomach ache, particularly on the right side. Gallbladder pain tends to radiate to the chest, right shoulder, or back areas. Gallbladder issues can often lead to an emergency situation requiring immediate removal of the gallbladder. For this reason, any potential gallbladder issues should be reported to a doctor right away.
An ache that is predominately felt on the left side may be a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome. An intestinal infection or emotional stress can sometimes worsen the symptoms of this condition. The stomach pain is often accompanied by depression, nausea, and vomiting. Increasing the amount of fiber in the diet can often reduce the symptoms from this condition.
If a chronic upper stomach ache is present along with other symptoms such as a yellow tint to the eyes and skin or dark urine, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Thee are potential symptoms of a medical condition known as viral hepatitis. This condition causes swelling and inflammation of the liver and is a medical emergency.
Acid reflux disease commonly causes an upper stomach ache. This condition may also cause chest pain or a sour taste in the mouth and is often worse after eating. If over-the-counter antacids or acid reducers do not provide adequate relief, a doctor should be consulted so that further testing can be performed and an accurate diagnosis obtained.