Your abdomen houses many organs, including your stomach, liver, and intestines. Just as there are many organs, there are a variety of descriptors for abdominal pain, including cramping, burning, stabbing, and sharp. Everyone’s weight may fluctuate a few... Read more
Your abdomen houses many organs, including your stomach, liver, and intestines. Just as there are many organs, there are a variety of descriptors for abdominal pain, including cramping, burning, stabbing, and sharp.
Everyone’s weight may fluctuate a few pounds on a daily basis, but unintentional weight loss means losing weight without trying. If you haven’t changed your eating or exercise habits, yet you’re experiencing weight loss, it can be cause for concern. The Mayo Clinic defines unintentional weight loss as losing 10 or more pounds, or more than five percent of your body weight.
Abdominal pain coupled with unintentional weight loss can be due to viruses or parasites or diseases, including:
- Addison’s disease
- celiac disease
- depression, stress, and/or anxiety
- parasitic infection, such as amebiasis or hookworms
- peptic ulcer
- viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
Elderly people are also often subject to abdominal pain due to medications they may be taking. The pain can lead to loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss.
Colon, pancreatic, and stomach cancers also can cause abdominal pain and unintentional weight loss.
Seek immediate medical attention if you’re vomiting blood or observe blood in your stool, which can sometimes look like coffee grounds. Seek immediate medical attention if you’re pregnant or undergoing cancer treatments and notice sudden changes in your weight accompanied by abdominal pain.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if:
- you have a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- your appetite doesn’t return in three to five days
- your stomach pain lasts longer than a week
- your stomach pain gets worse
This information is a summary. Always seek medical attention if you’re concerned that you may be experiencing a medical emergency.
Abdominal pain and unintentional weight loss treatments can vary because their causes vary. Your doctor will typically try to determine the underlying cause. However, in the meantime, they may prescribe anti-nausea medication that can help your abdominal pain and allow you to eat again, hopefully with less discomfort.
If a virus is causing your symptoms, antibiotics won’t improve your symptoms.
If your abdominal pain and unintentional weight loss are due to a parasite, your doctor will determine the appropriate medication to kill the parasite.
Counseling can improve symptoms due to stress and anxiety. Getting more rest and exercise may also help.
Abdominal pain can cause you to not feel like eating or drinking. Drink small sips of water or a beverage that contains electrolytes, such as Pedialyte, to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Eating several small meals instead of fewer larger ones also can help. Avoid high-fat, greasy foods, such as pizza or French fries. They can make your symptoms worse. Instead, try eating:
- broth-based soups
- cooked vegetables and fruits
- mashed potatoes
- peanut butter
- protein supplement shakes
These foods can keep your stomach settled and prevent additional weight loss.
Typically, you can’t prevent abdominal pain and unintentional weight loss. However, practicing good hand hygiene habits, such as frequent hand washing, can help to prevent stomach infections.