Abdominal Inflammation and Pain

Abdominal inflammation and pain is felt in the abdomen. The abdomen is an anatomical area that is bounded by the lower margin of the ribs and diaphragm above, the pelvic bone (pubic ramus) below, and the flanks on each side. Although abdominal pain can arise from the tissues of the abdominal wall that surround the abdominal cavity (such as the skin and abdominal wall muscles), the term abdominal pain generally is used to describe pain originating from organs within the abdominal cavity. Organs of the abdomen include the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

Occasionally, abdominal inflammation and pain may be felt in the abdomen even though it is arising from organs that are close to, but not within, the abdominal cavity. For example, conditions of the lower lungs, the kidneys, and the uterus or ovaries can cause abdominal inflammation and pain. On the other hand, it also is possible for abdominal inflammation and pain from organs within the abdomen to be felt outside of the abdomen.

For example, the pain of pancreatic inflammation may be felt in the back. These latter types of pain are called "referred" pain because the pain does not originate in the location that it is felt. Rather, the cause of the pain is located away from where it is felt.

What causes abdominal inflammation or pain?

Abdominal inflammation and pain is caused by inflammation (for example, appendicitis, diverticulitis, colitis ), by stretching or distention of an organ (for example, obstruction of the intestine, blockage of a bile duct by gallstones, swelling of the liver with hepatitis), or by loss of the supply of blood to an organ (for example, ischemic colitis).

To complicate matters, however, abdominal inflammation and pain also can occur due to distention or loss of blood supply. An important example of this latter type of pain is the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It is not clear what causes the abdominal pain in IBS, but it is believed to be due either to abnormal contractions of the intestinal muscles (for example, spasm) or abnormally sensitive nerves within the intestines that give rise to painful sensations inappropriately (visceral hyper-sensitivity). These latter types of pain are often referred to as functional pain because no recognizable (visible) causes for the pain have been found - at least not yet.

What makes the pain worse.
Pain due to abdominal inflammation (appendicitis, diverticulitis, cholecystitis, pancreatitis) typically is aggravated by sneezing, coughing or any jarring motion. Patients with inflammation as the cause of their pain prefer to lie still.

What relieves the pain.

  • The pain of IBS and constipation often is relieved temporarily by bowel movements or associated with changes in bowel habit.
  • Pain due to obstruction of the stomach or upper small intestine may be relieved temporarily by vomiting which reduces the distention that is caused by the obstruction.
  • Eating or taking antacids may temporarily relieve the abdominal inflammation and pain of ulcers of the stomach or duodenum because both food and antacids neutralize (counter) the acid that is responsible for irritating the ulcers and causing the pain.
  • Pain that awakens patients from sleep is more likely to be due to non-functional causes.

Alternatives to Cutting down Abdominal Inflammation

The natives of southeast Asia employed mangosteen to stop the pain of inflammation, since it is one of the fruit's most obvious effects. They used the rind of the fruit to treat many abdominal inflammation related conditions, including diarrhea and dysentery. Dysentery, as a disease process, is characterized by inflammation of the intestine, especially of the large bowel. Scientists began investigating the mangosteen because, if it helped in reducing inflammation in the intestines, maybe it would work with inflammation in other parts of the body as well. View 6 min Video on IBS Testimonial

Researchers from India used the rind from the mangosteen to investigate its effects on other types of inflammation. Their experiments with animals produced the following results.*

  • Suppression of acute and chronic inflammation and edema (swelling) in rats.
  • Inhibition of systemic anaphylaxis (fatal inflammatory reaction) in guinea pigs and rats.
  • Inhibition of arthritis in rats.

In another paper studying mangosteen's effect on abdominal inflammation and inflammation in general, it was noted that the xanthones do not interfere with the clotting mechanism of blood or produce stomach ulcers. Both of these can be serious side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. In fact, it was found that the xanthones exhibited significant anti-ulcer activity in experimental animals.**

Knowing that the mangosteen possessed anti-inflammatory properties, scientists next sought to understand the mechanism by which the fruit prevented inflammation. Using rat brain cells, Japanese researchers demonstrated that a mangosteen xanthone directly inhibits the cyclooxygenase enzymes (cox inhibition), thus interrupting the chain of events resulting in inflammation.***

*Shankarayanan D KL, Nazimudeen. Effect of Mangostin, a xanthone from Garcinia mangostana Linn. In Immunopathological & Inflammatory Reactions. Indian J Exp Biol. 1980;18:843-846

**Shankarayanan D, Gopalakrishnan C, Kameswaran L. Pharmacological profile of mangostin and its derivatives. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. Jun 1979;239(2):257-269

***Nakatani K. Nakahata N, Arakawa T, Yasuda H, Ohizumi Y. Inhibition of cyclooxygenase and prostaglandin E2 synthesis by gamma-mangostin, a xanthone derivative in mangosteen, in C6 rat glioma cells. Biochem Pharmacol. Jan 1 2002;63(1):73-79

In the early 1990s, scientists discovered there are actually two forms of the COX enzyme called COX-1 and COX-2. It was determined that COX-1 is found all throughout the body and performs many beneficial "housekeeping" functions. For example, COX-1 is involved in the regulation of day-to-day cellular and metabolic activities such as maintaining the integrity of the stomach lining, regulating blood flow within the kidneys and balancing platelet (blood clotting) function. COX-1 is present in the body at all times and, ideally, should never be blocked.

The COX-2 enzyme, on the other hand, is produced in our body only when a "cry for help" by a cell is heard.+ COX-2 causes inflammation. When the proper regulation of COX-2 is subverted and it is produced on a continual basis, chronic inflammation with all of its resulting damage occurs.

Many nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin inhibit both the COX-1 and the COX-2 enzymes. Since COX-1 is found throughout the body, especially in the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and platelets, the blocking of this enzyme leads to unwanted side effects such as gastrointestinal damage (ulcers), kidney damage, platelet dysfunction and blood clotting abnormalities.

The intended effect of the NSAIDs is to block inflammation but, because of their adverse effects, using an NSAID is like driving a nail and hitting your fingers with every blow of the hammer... something is accomplished but the collateral damage is considerable. The ideal solution would be to find some way to inhibit COX-2 without interfering with COX-1. The xanthone gamma-mangostin, from the pericarp of the mangosteen fruit, acts as a selective COX-2 inhibitor.

In a rat brain cell preparation containing glioma cells, Dr. Ohizumi, a Japanese researcher, demonstrated that when gamma-mangostin was present the production of prostaglandin E2 was blocked. This blockage occurred because the gamma-mangostin prevented the COX-2 gene in the glioma cells from "turning on." A gene can be thought of almost like a light switch. Before any action can take place in the body, the gene which regulates that action must be "turned on." Since the COX-2 gene is normally "turned off" until some injury occurs, it must be "turned on" in order to produce COX-2. Gamma-mangostin effectively prevents the COX-2 gene from being "turned on," a very effective way of blocking the chemical cascade leading to inflammation.*

The people of Southeast Asia have known about the anti-inflammatory effects of the mangosteen for centuries. They have applied the fruit to infected wounds and skin disorders without knowing why it works. The health benefits of these anti-inflammatory qualities of mangosteen are self evident. Science is once again just catching up with folk medicine.

Note: Vioxx, a selective COX-2 inhibitor, was withdrawn from the market because it caused blood clots and, thereby, an increased incidence of heart attacks. In experimental data, mangosteen did not affect the blood clotting mechanism of the body.

*Nakatani K, Yamakuni T, Kondo N, et al. gamma-Mangostin inhibits inhibitor-kappaB kinase activity and decreases lipopolysachharide-induced cyclooxygenase-2 gene expression in C6 rat glioma cells. Mol Pharmacol. Sep 2004;66(3):667-674.

Nakatani K, Yamakuni T, Kondo N, et al. gamma-Mangostin inhibits Ikappa B Kinase Activity and Decreases Lipopolysachharide-Induced Cyclooxygenase-2 Gene Expression in C6 Rat Glioma Cells. Mol Pharmacol. Jun 24 2004.

+The exception to this rule is that Cox-2 is constitutive in the kidney and the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain)

NOTE: One of the reasons for designing this website is to educate visitors on the benefits of daily consumption of Pure Mangosteen Juice. It is also a web site sharing resources and info about mangosteen juice benefits and Xanthones.

Mangosteen is a fruit. The health benefits from mangosteen due to xanthones have been shown in laboratory studies to be powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and to have other special properties.

However, laboratory results do not guarantee that the same will happen in the human body. Mangosteen is a supplement and not a drug; therefore, no one can say that mangosteen juice benefits include a cure, treat, or prevent any specific condition or symptom the way a drug prescription is administered by a qualified health practitioner.

The United States government, however, has determined and stated that increasing the amount of plant-based foods and supplements in our diet improves our health and decreases the incidence of chronic disease. Look at the available science on the mangosteen and then answer for yourself - Does mangosteen juice make sense for you?

The only way to find out what mangosteen will do for you is to begin taking it. In the case of mental illness, it is important to do this with the assistance of a qualified professional.

View 8 min Video on How to Order Mangosteen Juice at WHOLESALE

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