Stomach Pain

Stomach Pain

western medicine:

Stomach pain is a common symptom that many people experience at some point in their lives. Whether it’s a mild discomfort or severe agony, stomach pain can significantly impact daily activities and overall well-being. From a Western medical perspective, it is essential to understand the various causes of stomach pain, the diagnostic approach, and the available treatment options. In this blog post, we will explore the intricacies of stomach pain, shedding light on what might be causing it and how medical professionals typically approach its management.


Causes of Stomach Pain

Stomach pain can arise from a multitude of underlying conditions, and identifying the root cause is vital to providing effective treatment. Some common causes of stomach pain include:

  • Gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach lining, often caused by excessive alcohol consumption, prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium.
  • Gastroenteritis: Also known as the stomach flu, gastroenteritis is typically triggered by viral or bacterial infections and leads to inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
  • Peptic Ulcers: Open sores that form on the lining of the stomach, upper small intestine, or esophagus, usually caused by H. pylori infection or the long-term use of NSAIDs.
  • Gallstones: Hardened deposits that form in the gallbladder and can lead to intense abdominal pain, especially after consuming fatty or greasy foods.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): A chronic condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and discomfort.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): A functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.
  • Appendicitis: Inflammation of the appendix, a small pouch connected to the large intestine, which can lead to severe lower right abdominal pain.
  • Kidney Stones: Hard mineral and salt deposits in the kidneys that may cause excruciating pain when they pass through the urinary tract.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): A group of chronic inflammatory conditions that affect the digestive tract, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.


Diagnostic Approach

When a patient presents with stomach pain, healthcare professionals follow a systematic approach to diagnose the underlying cause. This process typically includes:

  • Medical History: The doctor will inquire about the nature, location, and duration of the pain, as well as any associated symptoms, dietary habits, and recent illnesses or travel.
  • Physical Examination: A thorough physical examination is conducted to assess the abdomen for tenderness, swelling, or masses.
  • Laboratory Tests: Blood, stool, and urine samples may be collected to check for signs of infection, inflammation, or other abnormalities.
  • Imaging Studies: X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, or endoscopy may be ordered to visualize the internal structures of the abdomen and identify any abnormalities.


Treatment Options

The treatment for stomach pain depends on its underlying cause and severity. In Western medicine, the following treatment options are commonly used:

  • Medications: Depending on the diagnosis, medications such as antacids, antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), or antispasmodics may be prescribed.
  • Dietary Modifications: Patients may be advised to make specific changes to their diet, such as avoiding trigger foods or consuming smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, managing stress, and incorporating regular exercise into one’s routine can often be beneficial.
  • Surgical Interventions: In cases of severe conditions like appendicitis, gallstones, or certain gastrointestinal disorders, surgery may be necessary.
  • Symptomatic Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers may be recommended to provide temporary relief from mild stomach pain.


Stomach pain can be a distressing and debilitating symptom that warrants prompt attention and evaluation from medical professionals. From gastritis and gallstones to GERD and IBS, understanding the underlying cause is crucial to implementing an appropriate treatment plan. If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent or severe stomach pain, it is essential to seek medical advice promptly. Always remember that a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, and regular check-ups can go a long way in preventing and managing stomach-related issues.

Chinese medicine:

In Chinese medicine, the human body is seen as an interconnected system influenced by the balance of vital energy, known as “Qi,” and the harmony between Yin and Yang. Stomach pain, or “Wei Wan Tong,” is a common ailment that Chinese medicine approaches holistically. Unlike Western medicine, which focuses on identifying specific causes, Chinese medicine emphasizes the overall energy flow and balance within the body. In this blog post, we will explore the intricacies of stomach pain from a Chinese medical perspective, including its causes, diagnostic principles, and traditional treatment modalities.


Understanding the Causes of Stomach Pain

According to Chinese medicine, stomach pain can arise from imbalances in the body’s vital energy and the interaction between internal organs. Some common causes of stomach pain include:

  • Stagnant Qi: Emotional stress, irregular eating habits, and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to Qi stagnation, obstructing the smooth flow of energy in the stomach meridian, resulting in pain and discomfort.
  • Cold or Heat: External factors such as exposure to cold weather or consuming excessive spicy, greasy, or raw foods can disrupt the balance of Yin and Yang in the stomach, leading to cold or heat patterns that cause pain.
  • Food Stagnation: Overeating, eating too quickly, or consuming rich and heavy foods can lead to food stagnation in the stomach, causing distension, bloating, and pain.
  • Liver Qi Invading the Stomach: Emotional imbalances, particularly repressed anger or frustration, can cause the Liver Qi to invade the Stomach, leading to stomach pain and irritability.
  • Weak Spleen Qi: The Spleen plays a crucial role in digestion and transforming food into energy (Qi and Blood). Weak Spleen Qi can result from an unhealthy diet, leading to poor digestion and abdominal pain.


Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine

In Chinese medicine, diagnosis involves a thorough examination of the patient’s overall constitution, including their pulse, tongue, and other signs and symptoms. The practitioner seeks to identify patterns of disharmony, which provide insights into the underlying cause of the stomach pain. Some common diagnostic patterns associated with stomach pain include:

  • Liver Qi Stagnation: Characterized by sharp and intermittent stomach pain, irritability, and emotional distress.
  • Cold in the Stomach: Presents with severe, fixed stomach pain that improves with the application of warmth, and may be accompanied by cold limbs.
  • Stomach Heat: Manifests as a burning or gnawing pain in the stomach, thirst, bad breath, and a yellow tongue coating.
  • Food Stagnation: Causes a feeling of fullness and distension in the stomach, with belching, foul-smelling breath, and a thick, greasy tongue coating.


Traditional Treatment Modalities

Chinese medicine offers a range of treatment modalities to address stomach pain and restore balance within the body. The treatment plan is tailored to the individual’s specific diagnosis and may include:

  • Acupuncture: By inserting fine needles into specific acupuncture points along the meridians, the flow of Qi is regulated, addressing the underlying cause of stomach pain.
  • Herbal Medicine: Customized herbal formulas are prescribed to address the specific disharmony patterns and promote healing and balance in the digestive system.
  • Moxibustion: The application of heat to specific acupuncture points or areas of the abdomen helps to alleviate cold patterns and promote Qi flow.
  • Dietary Therapy: Patients are advised on appropriate dietary choices to support digestion and avoid triggering foods that may worsen the condition.
  • Lifestyle Recommendations: Stress management techniques, gentle exercises like Qi Gong or Tai Chi, and adequate rest are often recommended to support overall well-being and healing.


In Chinese medicine, stomach pain is viewed as a reflection of the body’s internal imbalances and disharmony. By addressing the root cause and restoring the flow of Qi, Chinese medicine aims to promote the body’s natural healing abilities. If you are experiencing stomach pain, seeking consultation with a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner, like myself, can provide valuable insights and personalized treatment to restore harmony and bring relief. Embracing the holistic approach of Chinese medicine may pave the way for improved digestive health and overall well-being.

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