5 Causes of Severe Stomach Pains

November 12, 2012

5 Causes of Severe Stomach Pains

Stomach pain is also known as abdominal pain. The stomach is part of the abdomen, which is located from the uppermost rib to the pelvic bone. Temporary pains or cramps caused by indigestion or a woman’s menstrual cycle are normal, but severe stomach pain is not. There are many causes of severe stomach pains, including potentially lethal appendicitis. Please do not use this article in the place of a medical professional’s diagnosis.

Inflamed Internal Organs

If an internal organ is swollen or inflamed, it often causes other symptoms other than severe stomach pains. These symptoms include but are limited to diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, distended abdomen and heartburn. These often get worse over time. The worst that can happen is that the organ suffers permanent damage. Always contact your doctor if you suspect you have the following:

  • Gallstones: This is a painful blockage of tubes called bile ducts that extend from the liver.

  • Appendicitis: The appendix is infected and needs removal or it may burst open and cause death.

  • Spleen: This is another small organ located in the abdomen that can burst if the rib cage is dealt a crushing blow. It was a ruptured spleen that killed the famous magician Harry Houdini.


This is a problem of the pancreas gland, located near the stomach. Unlike the internal organs listed above, there usually is no risk of the pancreas bursting, so immediate surgery is unnecessary. Pancreatitis produces not only severe stomach pains but vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and sudden weight loss. There are many different causes of pancreatitis including alcohol abuse; a diet rich in fats; side effects from medications and post-operative infections.

There are two types of pancreatitis – acute (temporary) and chronic (does not go away.) Each type is painful and needs a doctor’s care. Patients often need to fast and to take fluids intravenously in order to manage a pancreatitis attack.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Although not life-threatening, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes severe stomach pains and spasms. The causes of IBS are unknown, although individual patients may discover that stress or certain foods may trigger an attack. Other symptoms of IBS include diarrhea or constipation (not both) and bloating. Foods that can trigger IBS pains are different for each patient.

It is rare for people with IBS to suffer crippling pains, but it does happen. Pains can become so intense that tears it can bring tears to the eyes. Symptoms of IBS are similar to other causes of severe stomach pains, such as cancer, so do not risk self-diagnosis. See a doctor to get the best pain relief in the quickest time.

Urinary Tract Infection

Although the infected organs are the kidneys and the genitals, pain often is felt up into the stomach to the back. Other symptoms of cystitis or other types of urinary tract infections include:

  • Low grade fever

  • Painful urination

  • Urinating only a small amount at a time despite an urgent need to go

  • Cloudy or blood-tinged urine.

Female Reproduction Problems

It’s a man’s world when it comes to severe stomach pain because women are more likely than men to experience these pains. In addition to all of the causes for stomach pain listed so far, women also have these causes to deal with. These include but are not limited to:

  • Ectopic pregnancy, when a fetus grows in anywhere other than the womb, eventually causing severe pain. Surgical removal of the fetus is necessary to keep the woman from bleeding internally

  • Cancer of the reproductive organs

  • Burst ovarian cyst, which can cause a woman to go into shock

  • Endometriosis, when a woman’s uterine tissue grows into other body organs like the kidneys or spine.

A woman suffering from these conditions may need surgery such as a hysterectomy or risk death.


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