There are lots of causes for stomach pain. But ironically most of the ones that you read about aren’t likely to be the cause of your stomach pain. And there are lots of myths about stomach pain. This video will help you have a much better understanding about why you have stomach pain.
Most people use the words “stomach pain” to describe any kind of pain in the abdominal area. That’s fine as long as we all understand that it’s not just the stomach. And true stomach pain would be way up here, by the sternum.
The first myth about stomach pain is that the location of pain indicates exactly what organ in your abdomen is causing the problem. Most of us have a general understanding that the liver is in the upper right quadrant of our abdomen, the spleen is on the left. the stomach is in the middle at the top, and the intestines are generally down there somewhere.
Of course the rectum is down at the bottom. The ovaries are lower right and left. The appendix is on the lower right. The gallbladder is sort’ve upper right, it’s right next to the liver. And when you look up the cause of pain on the ______ side of the abdomen, you hope to trace its cause. And when you see the doctor you are probably thinking that the location of the pain will provide them a ton of information. It does, but it doesn’t tell them everything.
However, I’ve noticed that most people, including medical websites, forget that your intestinal tract is EVERYWHERE in your abdomen. Literally everywhere. It’s in the upper right, upper left, central, lower right and lower left areas of your abdomen. And it’s all over the middle.
And if there is a problem in your intestinal tract, such as IBS, then your “stomach” pain can literally be anywhere in your abdomen.
And that’s super important to know, and it’s super important to remember. Because a whole bunch of things can make your intestinal tract hurt. And most of those things fall under the umbrella of IBS.
And IBS is the # 1 CAUSE OF “STOMACH” PAIN. And it’s not even close. It is also the number one cause of pain that sends people to the emergency room.
Studies have shown this. And we know that when you go to the emergency room you usually have a lot of tests and exams done to check things like your appendix, and your liver, and your gallbladder, and your kidneys, and your uterus and ovaries, and to look for tumors and cancer, etc. And if your pain was being caused by one of those types of problems, then your doctor will likely find it.
But for the majority of people, they have all of that done and those tests come back negative (normal).
And the test for IBS pain? It doesn’t come back fine. It doesn’t come back at all. Because there is no test for IBS pain. So the doc in the ER says that there is nothing really wrong and that you will be fine.
But you still have pain. Which isn’t fine.
And that pain can even be super severe. In fact, it can be so severe that it’s really hard to believe that all of those tests were accurate and that something obvious wasn’t found by your doctor. So it gets really frustrating. I’ve even had patients who are in so much pain that they want surgery, even though we can’t see any reason for surgery. So I understand the frustration.
However, to me this is good news. You now know that you have IBS, which in my book is tremendously helpful. Because you’ve ruled everything else out, you don’t need surgery, which I’d certainly want to avoid if at all possible, and you can now focus on solving your IBS.
And this is actually doable. But it’s not doable by the types of doctors that you’ve seen up to this point. It’s not that they aren’t smart. They are super smart. It’s because their expertise is in dealing with the liver, and the kidneys, and the gallbladder, and all of those other things that you had checked out. But they are not experts in dealing with IBS.
For that you need an IBS expert. And that is why I created the IBS Treatment Center, so that we can help people like you. So if you need that kind of expertise, give us a call or email us at the number and email below, regardless of where you live, because we work with people all over the U.S. and the world via zoom and telemedicine, and we would be happy to help you too.
In the comments section below I would love to hear about your experience with stomach pain and the challenges that you have had getting it properly diagnosed and treated. I’ll be that you aren’t alone.
Dr. Wangen is the founder and medical director of the IBS Treatment Center, the award winning author of two books, and a nationally recognized speaker on digestive disorders. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio, and was named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.