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Pharmacy Tummy320x200Your community pharmacist is very often the first point of call for tummy troubles.

Stomach aches, cramps or dull abdominal pains are usually short-lived and can be caused by a variety of things. Your community pharmacist can help you in the first instance and refer you to a doctor or other healthcare professional if necessary. Some abdominal pains are caused by:


Indigestion can be described as discomfort in your upper abdomen. Associated symptoms may include feeling bloated, nausea, burping and/or regurgitating fluid or food. Indigestion can be caused by your stomach acid coming into contact with the protective lining of your digestive system. This sensitive protective lining is called the mucosa. When you have indigestion, your stomach acid breaks down the lining causing irritation which can lead to the painful discomfort associated with indigestion. Indigestion can be triggered by a variety of factors such as stress, smoking, alcohol, pregnancy and certain medications. In the majority of cases, indigestion can be treated by making changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Flatulence (gas)

In terms of gas, higher-fibre foods can trigger a gassy episode. These foods can include beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. However, often overlooked culprits that can cause gas are carbonated drinks including beer or soft drink, fibre supplements and sugar substitutes which can be found in some sugar-free drinks and foods. Beyond the action of actually passing gas, other symptoms of flatulence can include bloating, distension and a knotted and cramping feeling in your abdomen. Excessive flatulence can be managed by changes to your lifestyle or diet such as avoiding the foods that trigger anepisode, drinking and eating slowly, regular exercise and eating more frequent and smaller meals.


Diarrhoea can also be caused by a number of factors, so being able to determine what may trigger your diarrhoea episode is a great way to prevent it from occurring. Stress, certain foods such as dairy and spicy foods and certain medications can lead to diarrhoea. Diarrhoea can also be caused by stomach viruses and food poisoning. If you are experiencing diarrhoea it is important to drink plenty of fluids as diarrhoea can lead to dehydration.


Generally, heartburn is caused by a poorly functioning lower esophageal sphincter. When the lower esophageal sphincter is not functioning properly the contents of the stomach can move back up into the esophagus. This is what gives that burning, uncomfortable chest pain. In terms of lifestyle factors; pregnancy, obesity and smoking can aggravate heartburn. Caffeine, alcohol, spicy food and chocolate can also aggravate heartburn. Your community pharmacist can talk you through prevention options and medications that are available to help you treat your heartburn symptoms.


Constipation is the passing of a dry, hard bowel movement that is difficult and sometimes painful to pass. Other symptoms of constipation may include bloating, cramping, having to sit on the toilet for longer than usual and the feeling that your bowel is not fully emptied after you have passed a motion. Like many other stomach related issues, constipation can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of these include a low-fibre diet, not drinking enough fluids, lack of regular exercise, pregnancy and some medications. Constipation can also be caused by an underlying medical problem such as an anal fissure, hernia or irritable bowel syndrome. Your pharmacist can refer you to an appropriate healthcare professional for further advice and treatment.

Period Pain

Period pain or menstrual cramps are one of the most common causes of abdominal pain for women. Usually occurring just before or during a woman’s period, it can be relatively mild or severe enough to interfere with daily activities. Period pain is caused by the chemical prostaglandin being released from the lining of the uterus, causing the muscles of the uterus to contract. Your community pharmacist can help you find the most effective pain relief for you.


Gastritis is an irritation of the stomach lining. Symptoms of gastritis may include: pain in the upper abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea and indigestion. In terms of food, chocolate, fatty, greasy or spicy food can also trigger gastritis. Overeating, anxiety, smoking, certain antibiotics and painkillers may also trigger indigestion. Treatment of gastritis may involve: identifying the cause to prevent future occurrences, medication and dietary modification (removing the foods that may be irritating your stomach lining).

Sometimes stomach pains and discomfort are a sign of something more serious, such as appendicitis, stomach ulcers, cancer or gallstones or celiac disease. If your symptoms are outside of the scope of the pharmacists practice and ability to assess, they will refer you to an appropriate healthcare professional.

Speak to the friendly team at Capital Chemist Garran for your familuy's healthcare needs.