What you recover quickly.Severe abdominal pain is more

What is abdominal pain?Abdominal pain usually refers to cramps or a dull ache in theabdomen. It is often caused by a minor stomach upset or bugand you recover quickly.Severe abdominal pain is more serious. If it starts suddenly andunexpectedly, it should be viewed as a medical emergency,especially if the pain is concentrated in a particular area. Callyour GP as soon as possible or go to your nearest hospitalaccident and emergency department if this is the case.Cramps due to trapped windStomach cramps are often due to trapped wind and bloating.This is an extremely common problem that is easily treated—your chemist will be able to recommend a product which can bebought over the counter to relieve it.Sudden stomach cramps with diarrhoeaIf you have suddenly developed stomach cramps and you alsohave diarrhoea, the cause is probably a tummy bug also knownas gastroenteritis. This means you have a viral or bacterialinfection of the stomach and bowel, which you will usually fightoff after a few days without the need for prescribed medication.Severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea that make you feel very illcould be due to a more serious infection, such as food poisoning.This also usually gets better on its own without treatment.If your stomach cramps and diarrhoea continue, you may have along-term condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome.Sudden, severe abdominal painIf you have sudden, severe pain in a particular area of yourabdomen, call your GP immediately or go to your nearesthospital accident and emergency department. It may be a sign ofa serious illness that will rapidly get worse without treatment.The most common causes of sudden, severe abdominal paininclude:•A perforated peptic ulcer– an ulcer that develops on theinside lining of your stomach or duodenum (small bowel).•Gallstones– small stones that form in the gallbladder. Yourgallbladder may need to be removed.•Appendicitis– severe pain in the centre or right hand side ofyour lower abdomen. Your appendix will probably need to beremoved.•Gastroenteritis– an infection of the stomach and bowel.Most people get better without treatment after a few days.•Kidney stones– small stones may be passed out in yoururine, but larger stones may block the kidney tubes and youwill need to go to hospital to have these broken up.•Diverticulitis– an inflammation of small pouches in the largebowel.Long-term or recurring abdominal painAdults who have repeated episodes of abdominal pain shouldsee their GP.Common causes of persistent abdominal pain in adults include:•Irritable bowel syndrome– where the muscle in the bowelwall go into spasm; pain is often relieved when you go to thetoilet.•A urinary tract infectionthat keeps returning. You maynotice that you need to urinate frequently and that it burnswhen you pass water.•A long-term peptic ulcer– an ulcer that develops on theinside lining of your stomach or duodenum (small bowel).•Constipation.•Heart burn and acid reflux– stomach acid leaks from thestomach and up into the oesophagus (gullet).Prevention•Eat healthily and regularly. Eating irregularly and snatchingmeals here and there can cause problems with your digestivesystem.•Stop smoking. Smoking can cause heartburn and acid reflux.•Lose excess weight and exercise regularly. Being overweightcan cause heartburn.•Do not binge drink. This increases acid production in yourstomach and can cause heartburn.•Reduce stress. Anxiety and worry can worsen digestiveconditions such as irritable bowel syndrome