There are number of things that could cause your stomach to be tender to touch and the medical complaint is very common. Although usually a sign of something gastro-intestinal or digestive, there are a few other underlying medical problems that could come with a tender stomach as a symptom so if you find yourself with prolonged periods, or tenderness that doesn’t go away after a few days, it is wise to seek medical advice.
Here are a few of the common reasons why your stomach is tender to touch:
1 – Gas
A build-up of gas happens often in the human body and if you eat foods that are known to cause it, you may experience some tenderness. During digestion, gas naturally occurs in the intestines but fiber-rich foods cause increased periods of belching and flatulence and this is when the pain could arise. Trapped gas is one of the most common reasons behind a tender tummy.
Foods that are rich in fiber include beans, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit juice and soft drinks and whole grains. The more you eat these foods, the more your body will get used to them so sometimes persistence is key.
Alcohol can also cause flatulence.
If you have repeated problems with gas, or it seems to be a problem that doesn’t go away on its own, it could be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, Celiacs, Crohns disease and other bowel-related disorders, and even colon or bowel cancer.
2 – Indigestion
When you eat too much or eat too fast, you will probable encounter indigestion. This normally happens when the digestive system is working on overdrive trying to absorb whatever nutrients are available and get to work with digesting that meal.
Indigestion can cause a tender stomach and when it happens on a regular basis, could be a symptom of GERD or gastro esophageal reflux disease, cancer, and a number of the other medical complaints that often bring gas.
Stress and medication are also common factors behind indigestion.
3 – Stomach Flu
Otherwise known as gastroenteritis, stomach flu is a very nasty bout of what appears at first sight to be food poisoning. With vomiting and diarrhea with a fever, the shakes, and a general feeling of being very unwell, it is a very unpleasant medical condition that generally only lasts two or three days.
As well as experience stomach tenderness, patients will also complain of aching muscles and joints, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite and abdominal pressure.
4 – Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is very similar in symptoms to stomach flue except the root cause of the symptoms are a source of food that hasn’t agreed with the body. Undercooked, out of date and incorrectly cooked food is likely to be the root of the problem and is quite common during the summer in BBQ season.
5 – Constipation
Everyone suffers with constipation at some point in their life and although it is painful and uncomfortable, is normally a sign that the body isn’t receiving enough fiber. When there is no bowel movement, the body can become clogged and blocked with waste material.
Encouraging the matter to move along can usually be achieved with gentle, natural laxatives such as figs or prunes, but with long-term constipation, or for severe bouts, it is wise to seek medical attention. There are a number of ways in which constipation can be treated with medicated laxatives and even enemas.
6 – Appendicitis
Although it is rare for a stomach that is tender to touch to be caused by appendicitis, it can happen and it is considered to be a medical emergency.
When the appendix becomes inflamed and fills with pus, the patient will experience severe pain on the left hand side of the abdomen. Over time, the pain doesn’t go away, it just gets a lot worse. If left untreated or the appendage removed, the condition can be fatal although it is usually diagnosed and treatment a long time before that happens.
7 – Pancreatitis
A condition similar to appendicitis but occurring in the pancreas instead, pancreatitis is another uncommon underlying cause behind a tender stomach. When the organ becomes inflamed, the patient will suffer from symptoms such as tenderness, oily and / or smelly stools, loss of weight, indigestion and an upset stomach.
8 – Peritonitis
Another medical emergency, when the thin layer of the abdomen (the peritoneum) becomes inflamed because of a fungus or bacteria, peritonitis can cause graying of the skin as well as tenderness, fatigue, bloating, vomiting and nausea, excessive thirst and more.
There are a number of reasons when this layer of the abdomen could become infected and some of the main causes are a wound or injury to the abdomen, a ruptured appendix, perforated colon, stomach ulcers, pelvic inflammatory disease, Crohn’s disease and even catheters or feeding tubes.
9 – Diverticulitis
This is a rather common but relatively unknown condition that leads to bulging pockets or sacs on the intestines which have the potential to become filled with waste matter and food and then become infected. When this happens, the pockets cause a number of uncomfortable problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, excessive gas, bloating, fatigue, fever and more.
10 – Lactose Intolerance
This seems to be a food disorder on the increase and if you are lactose intolerant and eat foods containing lactose, you are likely to experience tenderness in the stomach as well as a whole host of other symptoms similar to food poisoning.
Lactose is commonly found in many dairy products so by avoiding things like milk, cheese, yogurt and other byproducts of milk, you can keep symptoms down.
There are many reasons why your stomach might be tender to touch and as well as the relatively common factors we have discussed here, you will a number of other problems such as ectopic pregnancy, hernias and more. If the stomach tenderness happens for more than a few days or seems to be getting worse, make sure you seek out medical assistance.