Tag Archives: stomach pain

What Is the Difference Between Crohn’s and Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s are both serious inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD – not to be confused with IBS, which is irritable bowel syndrome). Both diseases result from the immune system mistakenly identifying any food or bacteria in the digestive tract as a foreign allergen and attacking itself, causing inflammation. Although they are similar but separate conditions, they are often mistakenly interchanged or thought of as one and the same. So what are the similarities and differences between Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (UC)?

Similarities Between The Two Diseases

Because they are both inflammatory bowel diseases, both conditions share many similarities. Some of which include:

  • Inflammation of the digestive tract
  • Genetics and environmental factors appear to contribute to both
  • Immune system dysfunction causes both conditions
  • Many of the symptoms overlap
  • Mild to severe flare-ups are followed by asymptomatic periods
  • Can be exacerbated or caused by certain medications such as NSAIDs or certain acne treatments
  • Both conditions are often treated with similar medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications or steroids

Key Differentiating Features

While colitis causes uniform inflammation and affects the large intestine only, Crohn’s disease causes intermittent and random patches of inflammation and can strike anywhere in the digestive tract between the mouth and anus. UC appears to be slightly more prevalent among men while Crohn’s seems to affect more woman than men. Crohn’s is also less affected by diet than UC is.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms

Crohn’s disease:

  • Stomach pain and cramping
  • Night sweats
  • Potential loss of period (amenorrhea)
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Mouth sores
  • fissures
  • Bloody stool
  • Perianal symptoms

Ulcerative Colitis:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Fever and night sweats lasting days
  • Amenorrhea
  • Blood or pus present in stool
  • Weight loss
  • Rectal pain
  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Failure to grow (children)
  • Incontinence
  • Urgency accompanied by inability to defecate

Potential Complications of Crohn’s and Colitis

Some of the potential complications of Crohn’s include: obstructions or narrowing of the bowel, fistulas, colorectal cancer, increased risk of osteoporosis, gallbladder or liver disease or anemia. Potential complications of ulcerative colitis include: dehydration from chronic diarrhea, liver disease, internal bleeding, kidney complications, gastrointestinal infections, inflammation of the spine, skin, or eyes. Severe cases of colitis can even lead a serious operation called an proctocolectomy, the surgical removal of part of the bowel, rectum and anus, where the bowel is redirected to a hole the surgeon makes in the stomach for waste to be excreted.

When to Seek Treatment

If you struggle with many of the above listed symptoms, it is important to visit your doctor (or talk to one of ours!) as soon as possible to start the testing process to see if you are suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease like the Crohn’s or Colitis, or if your symptoms are due to another intestinal condition such as diverticulitis or irritable bowel syndrome. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll return again soon.

10 Serious Potential Causes of Mid-Stomach Pain

There are various underlying conditions that present as pain or discomfort in the stomach around the naval area. Last time we took a look at some of the more minor causes. Some of the more major underlying health conditions may be:

  1. Ulcer – While some ulcers exist without many symptoms, the most common sign of peptic ulcers is an intermittent mid-abdominal pain (just above the belly button).
  2. Umbilical hernia – happen when part of the intestine obtrudes through the stomach wall and into the navel. They are usually not too serious but have the potential to strangulate or cause pain and vomiting. This type of hernia is most common in infants but can occur at any age.
  3. Appendicitis – can be a life threatening condition if left unattended. Appendicitis pain normally begins around the belly button, but soon migrates down to the lower right quadrant and intensifies. If you feel belly button pain that moves to your lower stomach and becomes unbearable, seek medical attention immediately.
  4. Pancreatitis – similarly to appendicitis, pancreatitis pain begins around the belly button (a little above). It will normally then radiate to the left and become quite severe. You should seek medical attention for severe stomach pain.
  5. Kidney or gall stones – both kidney and gall stones can cause pain attacks that can radiate around the middle stomach. If you have recurrent, intermittent bouts of severe pain you should seek medical attention to rule out kidney or gall stones.
  6. Gastritis (stomach infection) – stomach infections could be minor, or they could become quite problematic if left unattended and lead to long term stomach issues or sepsis.
  7. Bowel obstruction – a bowel obstruction can occur in different parts of the intestinal tract, but one spot could be the middle of the stomach which may provoke discomfort around the navel. Other symptoms would be fever, vomiting and the inability to pass gas or defecate.
  8. Chronic intestinal disorder – another common and potentially serious cause of middle-stomach discomfort would be chronic intestinal disorders such as diverticulosis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome. If you commonly get pain in your stomach and other acute illnesses have been ruled out, you and your doctor should look into intestinal disorders.
  9. Abdominal aneurysm – can cause a pulsating sensation around the navel as well as abdominal pain to the side of the abdomen as well as back pain.
  10. Bladder cancer – can cause pain around the belly button that may extend down to the groin, blood in the urine or problems urinating. If you experience any of these symptoms persistently, you should ask your doctor about screening for bladder problems to rule out bladder cancer.

Don’t panic, as often more simple conditions can explain symptoms like mid-stomach pain but if you are experiencing any of these types of severe navel or stomach pain, please seek medical treatment right away to rule out these serious conditions. Thanks for visiting DocChat! For any of your medical questions or concerns feel free to sign up today for a video chat with one of our highly esteemed, board certified physicians!


8 Surprising Minor Causes of Belly Button Pain

What?! Your belly button hurts? That’s weird…not! There are a number of reasons for navel pain, some perfectly harmless and others which are quite serious. It is a good idea to know some of the symptom differences so you will generally know when to seek medical attention (but please note, everyone is different – medical information isn’t always one-size-fits-all advice, only you know your body so when it doubt, check it out)! Now let’s take a look at some of the surprising reasons for minor navel pain.

Minor Causes of Belly Button Pain

Is your actual belly button paining, or the area surrounding it? How severe is the pain? Is it intermittent? Different pains can mean different things. Some potential causes include:

  1. Bacterial infection – If the discomfort is coming specifically from that strange little cavern and not the surrounding area you may want to look for signs of a navel infection which may include a foul smell, buildup inside the navel, or discomfort and redness on the skin. There are several different types of bacteria living in the bellybutton that can become problematic.
  2. Yeast infection – yeast loves damp, hidden areas of the body. Yeast can easily overpopulate in the bellybutton leading to chapped, red and itchy skin or even pustules around the area.
  3. Chronic skin condition – skin problems such as psoriasis or eczema can cause belly button discomfort, including chapped skin, redness, pain and itching.
  4. Bloating or distention – a common and minor cause of belly button pain may include overeating which can lead to some pretty noteworthy bloating, temporarily causing discomfort in the middle of the stomach.
  5. Urinary tract infection (UTI) – Along with burning and painful urination, UTIs can also cause belly button pain that feels like a string of pain from the navel to the pubic region. UTIs can be minor, but they can also be very serious if left untreated.
  6. Urachal cyst – These very unpleasant cysts occur between the umbilical region and the bladder, they can cause such symptoms as bladder infections, navel pain or even navel discharge.
  7. Trapped gas – another common and minor cause of belly button pain is trapped gas. This can be an extremely painful experience even though it is not a serious one.
  8. Pregnancy – often pregnant women will experience navel pain or tenderness as the stomach expands and everything shifts and grows. Normally this is minor and harmless, but sometimes if the pain is very bad or persistent, it may be a sign of fetus distress and should be checked on.

So there you have some of the minor causes of navel discomfort, next we will look at more serious causes of mid-abdominal pain to watch out for. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions or concerns about any of these symptoms or conditions, don’t hesitate to try a video consultation with one of our board certified DocChat physicians today!





Peptic Ulcers At A Glance

North of 25 million Americans suffer with a peptic ulcer at some point in their lives. A peptic ulcer is an abrasion (open sore) in the mucosa of the stomach or duodenal tract caused by a pepsin or a bacterial imbalance. Peptic ulcers can be mild and asymptomatic, or they can cause immense discomfort and dangerous complications if not treated.

Fast Facts:

  • Over 90% of duodenal (upper stomach) ulcers are caused by helicobacter pylori bacteria.
  • Ulcers were once thought to be incurable, remedied with H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors to reduce inflammation, but when certain ulcers are treated with antibiotics, the pylori bacteria is often eradicated and the ulcer can almost completely clear up.
  • Ulcers that are not caused by H. pylori are often treated with medication or surgery, as well as lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking and drinking).
  • Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) can cause and aggravate ulcers.
  • Even medications that are marketed as ‘safely coated’ such as aspirin can cause ulcers.
  • Drinking alcohol and smoking can also lead to the development of ulcers.
  • Ulcers are often diagnosed following an upper endoscopy whereby a small tube is inserted into the stomach to look for abnormalities.
  • Contrary to long held belief about ulcers, research has not established a clear link between stress and developing ulcers. Stress can make existing ulcers worse (as it can worsen most any health condition) but can likely not cause ulcers to form.
  • Some symptoms of ulcers include: bloating, chronic heartburn, occasional vomiting or more seriously, severe abdominal pain, weight loss, or changes (such as bleeding) in the stool.
  • Ulcer pain usually strikes as a gnawing, stabbing or burning pain, often during the night or when you are hungry.
  • Ulcers can lead to dangerous internal bleeding or may rarely be a symptom of a more serious intestinal condition so it is important to attend regular checkups with your doctor on the status of your ulcer.
  • You are at higher risk of developing an ulcer if you: drink or smoke regularly, are elderly, take NSAIDS routinely for a prolonged period of time, have a liver, kidney or lung condition or are infected with the H. pylori bacteria.

Thanks for reading, we hope you found our article beneficial! If you have any questions about ulcers feel free to sign up to DocChat today for a video consultation with one of our knowledgeable board certified physicians!