Sudden pain around navel

Dear doctor; I experience sudden pain around the navel even when I have eaten nothing except for something like tea. I tried to go for medical checkup but the cost was too prohibitive and now I am having to wait a bit longer. However, could you help me know what it could be that is causing me this pain? It happens about three to four times a week and usually lasts for betwen 30 minutes and an hour.

Dear doctor;

I experience sudden pain around the navel even when I have eaten nothing except for something like tea. I tried to go for medical checkup but the cost was too prohibitive and now I am having to wait a bit longer. However, could you help me know what it could be that is causing me this pain? It happens about three to four times a week and usually lasts for betwen 30 minutes and an hour.

Nkurunziza, 27.

 Dear Nkurunziza,

At a young age, pain occurring around navel area is mostly due to protozoal or helmenthic infections like amoebiasis, giardiasis or ascaris. In such infestation, the pain is usually intermittent and colicky, that is, cramp-like. It may be associated with diarrhea or constipation. If the infestation is mild, it may occur transiently and subside by itself as some infectious agents form cysts and then lie dormant for sometime. It is only when they multiply inside the bowels that pain recurs again. Such pain can also occur due to food poisoning which is result of consuming contaminated food or water. A simple stool analysis helps to diagnose these conditions and a suitable anti infective agent cures the condition. Good food hygiene helps to prevent such types of infection.

Peptic ulcers usually cause pain in upper part of abdomen but can cause burning pain around umbilical area as well. Simple indigestion can cause pain around navel. It may be associated with sense of bloating of abdomen after food and nausea. One may get pain around navel if there is chronic constipation. If the bowels are not cleared regularly, they tend to be loaded with fecal matter. This causes pain, sense of heaviness and general feeling of dullness and headache or bodyache.

Certain types of food allergies can also cause pain around the belly button (navel area) Food allergies commonly are allergy  to milk and meat products but can be to any type of food. There may be associated skin rashes, running of nose or other features of allergy. All these causes are benign. Apart from causing pain and discomfort, these cause no serious health problem.

But if the pain is excruciating, persistent and is associated with vomiting, one should immediately consult a hospital to rule out sinister causes such as a bowel occlusion, acute pancreatitis or rarely even pain of appendicitis can be in navel area.

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