The treatment of “tummy ache” is divided into “symptomatic treatment” and “definitive treatment”.
The majority of cases of “tummy ache” resolve spontaneously. In such cases, “symptomatic treatment” is adequate in alleviating the discomfort related to the illness. This can be achieved with mild analgesics or anti-spasmodic medications. As an example, should “tummy ache” occur following an episode of food poisoning, gut rest and fluid replacement therapy would suffice over one or two days. Alternatively, abdominal bloating following a heavy meal would resolve within the day.
In cases where “tummy ache” does not resolve spontaneously or raise concern, further assessment and investigation will reveal a “definitive cause” or etiology. Such cases include non-ulcer dyspepsia, gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, symptomatic gallstone disease and irritable bowel syndrome. A positive diagnosis is important in ensuring appropriate management and treatment.