Intestinal Pain

Explaining the Possible Causes of Intestinal Pain

Whether it is sharp, lingering or sudden, intestinal pain stops you in your tracks.  This article focuses on the possible causes of the problem.

Intestinal pain is defined as bloating, swelling, cramps or aches that emit from your abdomen area or lower.  Often, most people refer to this type of suffering abdominal pain, possibly due to the more general nature of that name.  However, remember that abdominal pain may be caused by things other than intestinal issues.


Watch for signs that the pain in your intestine is caused by a blockage.  This can become very serious as your body will refuse to keep food or water down if it cannot pass through the body. 

Intestinal blockages can be caused by any number of things: 

It is common in advanced cancer patients for calcium to get lodged in the intestinal tract, causing a blockage that is difficult to remove. 

Gallstones or swallowed objects may become lodged in the intestines.

Conditions such as hernias or adhesions (from previous surgeries) may cause blockage.

Not all intestinal blockages will require surgery, but all should be looked after immediately.  At your first inclination of the possibility, see your doctor for further tests.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS) is another common cause of intestinal pain. 

Symptoms of IBS include:




Abdominal pain 

Almost every person will experience these symptoms at some point in their life, but IBS sufferers deal with them constantly and often together. 

Intestinal pain occurs in IBS sufferers when the bowels are not working well together.  They may be contracting at the wrong times, pushing the material through too quickly and at other times may not be relaxed enough to allow material through easily.  

These contradictions can result in severe pain, as well as bowel movement issues and abdominal pain and bloating.

It is estimated that nearly 30% of North Americans suffer from IBS. Women may be more prone to the condition than men, but it can strike at any age from adolescence on. 

IBS may also disappear for a time, only to flare up again later.  It can be caused or irritated by stress and even food allergies.  Other supposed causes of IBS include alcohol use, antibiotic use and lack of proper exercise.


Intestinal pain can also be a result of colitis.  This is essentially an inflammation of the large intestine. 

Colitides (plural for colitis) can be:



Idiopathic, or


Inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s Disease both lead to autoimmune colitis. 

Colitis sufferers will encounter nearly the same symptoms as the other digestive conditions above – diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain.  They may also suffer from loss of appetite and fatigue.

Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)

You also may be suffering from Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (or SIBO) if you experience intestinal pain.  In your intestines, there is an optimal amount of bacteria that is necessary for proper function.  If the level of bacteria grows, the result is often pain and other related problems.

It is important to try and pinpoint the true cause of your intestinal pain. 

Is it possible that your diet is insufficient?

Are you intolerant of a certain food you regularly eat? 

Maybe you are simply suffering from excessive gas or are having problems with constipation. 

Try to maintain good balance in your intestinal area. 

Eat plenty of probiotics, including those found in yogurts and cheese. 

Get adequate, regular exercise

Drink plenty of water 

All of these things will help to maintain proper function in your digestive system, decreasing the chance of pain flaring up. 

If you suspect one of the above conditions, such as IBS, Colitis, SIBO or a blockage, go see your doctor right away.  Watch your diet, get moving and drink water.  Don’t take your intestinal system for granted – you need it every day.