Relieving the symptoms
Many people suffer from stomach aches at one time or another. Research shows that over 30%  of Australian adults suffer stomach aches and cramps every few months or more.
The pain can be caused by a range of conditions and can be felt at different parts of your abdomen. Sometimes it might be higher up under your rib cage or at other times lower down in the lower regions of your abdomen and may be accompanied by abdominal distension or bloating and changes in bowel movements.
The key thing to remember is that pain is an important sign that something is wrong.
When not to treat the pain yourself
There are many available treatments that can be very effective in treating stomach pain. However, some more severe symptoms will indicate the need for medical intervention and you should make plans to see your doctor in these circumstances.
Do not consider self treatment if the pain is:
- Severe and getting worse
- Associated with weight loss
- Associated with bleeding from the bowel
- Associated with difficulty swallowing
- Associated with persistent vomiting
A recent consumer survey showed more than 1 in 3 Australians who suffer from stomach aches and cramps more than twice a year take anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's). Many are unaware that these medicines can actually cause tummy complications .
According to gastroenterologist and Gut Foundation president Professor Terry Bolin the results demonstrate the importance of educating patients about the appropriate use of medicines to relieve symptoms without severe side effects.
"We've known for many years that anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen are associated with stomach-related side effects. Despite this, their use to treat stomach pains continues. Using anti-inflammatory drugs in this way could potentially lead to serious side effects – especially if the stomach pain is the result of a gastric complaint like an ulcer," said Professor Bolin.
Over-the-counter antispasmodic treatments can be very important in helping to alleviate the symptoms and shorten the duration of the abdomen pain and cramping.
Antispasmodics work by relaxing the cramped muscles of the digestive tract and thereby relieve the spasms causing abdominal pain.
Common antispasmodic brands include Buscopan, Donnatab and Stomex.
Buscopan, the market leading brand , is available exclusively in pharmacy and is available in single strength (Buscopan) and double strength (Buscopan Forte), providing you with the convenience to suit your individual needs.
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