Stomach ache, also known as abdominal pain, is not a medical condition per se. On contrary, it is only a symptom of many different gastrointestinal illnesses and disorders which affect both the adults and children. Stomach ache can be differently described and located in one part of the abdomen or affect the entire abdomen. Such pain can be felt as mild, moderate or severe, can be stabbing, sharp or dull and occur intermittently or be present all the time.
Even though stomach ache may be only a sign of mild problems in digestion, it can also point to more serious, even life-threatening, conditions. This is why any stomach ache must be properly evaluated and its underlying cause timely identified and treated.
Stomach Ache in Adults
Infection is the leading cause of stomach ache in adults. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi. The problem most frequently accompanies a condition called gastroenteritis. Still, any infection caused by the previously mentioned microorganisms is associated with stomach ache of different characteristics and intensity.
Furthermore, stomach ache in adults results from a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. Indigestion, stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, appendicitis, celiac sprue, hernia and gastrointestinal tumors are only some of them.
People allergic to certain foods as well as those suffering from food allergy experience stomach ache after consuming the specific food responsible for the condition.
Female adults frequently suffer from stomach ache due to different gynecological disorders such as dysmenorrhea, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, tumors, ectopic pregnancy etc.
In some cases such pain can be associated with emotional distress and different mental changes such as depression or anxiety. Even disorders and illnesses of other organs apart from gastrointestinal organs may induce stomach ache. For example, such problem may be only one characteristic of kidney stones or autoimmune thyroid disease.
And finally, intake of certain drugs as well as poisoning with different toxic substances leads to damage to the gastrointestinal tract and may cause stomach ache apart from many other symptoms and signs.
Stomach Ache in Children
Even though most of the previously mentioned conditions and problems may also affect children, there are certain conditions which predominantly affect this group of people and cause stomach ache.
First of all, children usually suffer from stomach ache due to indigestion. Namely, they consume plenty of junk food and sweets and they often do not chew food properly.
Secondly, children are more prone to intestinal parasitic infections because they spend a lot of time playing in dirt and usually pay no attention to their hand hygiene. Therefore, they easily introduce parasites to their gastrointestinal tract.
Children are also prone to food allergies and food intolerance. As a matter of fact these conditions actually start during childhood and are nowadays more and more present.
And finally, stomach flu, food poisoning, constipation and acidity are several more common causes of stomach ache in children.