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Martha Jefferson Monday: When Your Stomach Aches, How Do You Know if it’s a Bug, or Something More?

When it comes to a normal stomach bug, you can expect nausea, diarrhea and cramping. Doctors say typically it will be gone within three to five days. 

"More often than not with stomach aches, you're going to deal with a virus that's short-lived," said Dr. David Mahoney with the Charlottesville Wellness Center. 

If you suspect you have the stomach bug, the best thing to do is put yourself on the "BRAT" diet, which consists of bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. If you do just have a normal virus, the regimen will hopefully help you feel better.  

However, with stomach pain, there are endless other conditions that could be present too. 

"It could be something as serious as an appendicitis, which will require emergency surgery," said Dr. Mahoney.  "It could be gall bladder disease, it could even be pneumonia that's referring pain to your abdomen."  

To help your physician determine what might be wrong in your specific case, keep notes of the foods you eat, whether or not you've been around anyone who is sick, how long your symptoms have been present and anything that makes you feel either better, or much worse.  If you're a woman, there will be other factors to include in the mix as well.  

"With females you have to pay particular attention, as stomach pain can be manifested through certain gynecologic issues," noted Mahoney.   

Regardless of how you feel, if symptoms persist after several days, it's best to call your doctor for further diagnosis.  

For more information on this topic, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009. 

If you have a question about your health that you'd like for us to answer, email us at healthquestions@nbc29.com

Do you have health questions? Starting June 4, get the answers every Monday morning from the experts at Martha Jefferson Hospital in our new feature: Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

Submit your questions now! Just click this link and write your question in the email. Then tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Martha Jefferson Monday brought to you by NBC29 and Martha Jefferson Hospital.

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