How should I investigate frequent stomach aches?
Hi, I am a male in my 20s, and I get regular stomach aches. How should I proceed to find out the cause behind my frequent stomach aches? Thanks :)
Before you see a doctor, it is good to take note of the nature of your stomach aches as it will help the doctor narrow down the possibilities and order the appropriate investigations for you.
Points to take note of:
1. Location of pain
- Is it always at the same spot? Does it migrate around your abdomen?
2. Type of pain
- Is it a sharp, piercing pain? A pulling pain? Or a dull ache?
3. Frequency and timing of pain
- how often does it occur in a day or a week? Is it related to any activity or food type? How long does it last each time?
4. Relation to other symptoms
- does your pain have any relation to your bowel movements, meal times, or urination?
In general, any stomach discomfort lasting for more than 2 weeks should be investigated thoroughly to identify the cause behind it. This not only reassures you and your healthcare provider of the nature of the culprit, but also helps us plan your treatment more accurately.
Please see your family doctor or specialist (gastroenterologist or general surgeon) for a more detailed consultation so that the appropriate investigations can be planned for your regular stomach aches.
Remember, every investigation has its pros and cons. The important point is to choose the right investigation based on your clinical symptoms and signs rather than going for all available modalities and hoping that one will help find the cause.