ZocdocAnswersWhy do I experience throbbing stomach aches?

Question

Why do I experience throbbing stomach aches?

I am a 20 year old male with a history of stomach problems. For the past five years, I have been hospitalized due to my stomach problems. My chronic stomach pains would subside every other hour, but comes back. I would also experience painful bowel movements, and would have more than four abnormal bowel movements in a day. Should I seek a gastroenterologist to analyze my situation further?

Answer

I think your stomach problems do need further investigation. The first thing I would want to ask is what diagnostic testing you have had done so far. In someone you age with stomach pains bad enough to be hospitalized, I would wonder if your previous doctors decided to do an endoscopy (a camera that looks into the stomach), or a colonoscopy (a camera that looks in the colon). The fact that you had painful bowel movements and increased number of bowel movement suggest that you may have something going on in the colon. For example, inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can cause abdominal pain, cramping, increased number of bowel movements and even bloody diarrhea. Another possibility is that you have a really bad case of irritable bowel syndrome. This is a syndrome of abnormal GI function where abdominal pain, sudden urges to defecate, constipation, and even diarrhea can be a problem. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. He or she can gather together the details of your stomach issues and perform a thorough physical exam. Your doctor may also want some imaging of your abdomen such as a CT scan. Finally, he or she will need to determine whether you need a colonoscopy to rule out colon issues such as Crohn's disease.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.