Abdominal Pain: Introduction
Abdominal pain is any type of pain or discomfort that occurs in any area from the lower chest to the groin. Abdominal pain is symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Abdominal pain can result from infection, malignancy, inflammation, trauma, obstruction and other abnormal processes.
Abdominal pain can occur in any age group or population. Abdominal pain can be due to a mild condition, such as mild indigestion or stress. Abdominal pain can also happen in a moderate condition, disorder or disease, such as gallstones or a sexually transmitted disease, or as a side effect of medication. Abdominal pain can also be due to serious, even life-threatening conditions or trauma, including bleeding peptic ulcer, ruptured spleen, intestinal obstruction or acute pyelonephritis.
Depending on the cause, abdominal pain can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when abdominal pain occurs after a single episode of alcohol intoxication or from indigestion due to eating rich food. Abdominal pain can also be recurring over a longer period of time, such as when abdominal pain is due to chronic pancreatitis, stomach cancer or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Abdominal pain can be the result of a wide variety of gastrointestinal or digestive conditions. These include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, food poisoning and cirrhosis of the liver.
Abdominal pain often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Other common symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal distention. The underlying disorder, disease or condition that is causing abdominal pain can cause complications, some of which can be serious, even life-threatening. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of abdominal pain.
Diagnosing abdominal pain and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. Diagnosis may also include a complete blood count, which can help to determine if an infectious process, such as food poisoning is present. A chemistry panel is a blood test that can evaluate if abdominal pain coupled with vomiting and/or diarrhea has lead to the complication of dehydration. An urinanalysis can also help to determine dehydration and if urinary tract infection may be causing or aggravating abdominal pain.
Making a diagnosis may also include performing a variety of other tests to help to diagnose other potential underlying diseases, conditions or disorders, such as stomach cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal trauma, gallstones and cirrhosis of the liver. Depending on the suspected cause, tests can include additional blood tests, culture and sensitivity of stool, and imaging tests such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans, MRI, or endoscopy.
In an endoscopy procedure, a special lighted instrument is inserted into the area or areas of the gastrointestinal system that are suspected to be the cause of the abdominal pain and other symptoms. This instrument, called an endoscope, takes pictures of the digestive tract and/or sends images to a computer monitor.
A diagnosis of abdominal pain and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because abdominal pain may be mild or intermittent and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of abdominal pain.
Treatment of abdominal pain involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of abdominal pain. ...more »
Abdominal pain causes can range from
extremely severe life-threatening conditions (e.g. acute appendicitis, abdominal aneurysm),
to various less serious conditions (e.g., ... more about Abdominal pain.
Abdominal Pain: A condition which is characterized by the sensation of pain that is located in the abdomen.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Abdominal Pain is available below.
Abdominal Pain: Symptoms
Abdominal pain can be experienced and described in a variety of ways that includes the sensation of burning or pressure in the upper abdomen and chest area. People with abdominal pain may also describe the pain as sharp, dull, achy or crampy. Abdominal pain can occur in one very small specific area, such as the right lower area of the abdomen with ...more symptoms »
Abdominal Pain: Treatments
Treatment plans for abdominal pain are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause, minimizes the discomfort of abdominal pain and decreases the risk of developing serious complications of ...more treatments »
Abdominal Pain: Misdiagnosis
Diagnosing abdominal pain and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, abdominal pain may be vague or may not be severe enough or last long enough for a person to seek medical care. This can happen with intermittent but recurring abdominal pain that is due to such diseases as stomach cancer, peptic ulcer or gallstones.
Abdominal ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Abdominal Pain
Read more about symptoms of Abdominal Pain
Treatments for Abdominal Pain
Read more about treatments for Abdominal Pain
Home Diagnostic Testing
Home medical testing related to Abdominal Pain:
- Food Allergies & Intolerances: Home Testing:
Wrongly Diagnosed with Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal Pain: Related Patient Stories
Causes of Abdominal Pain
See full list of 245
causes of Abdominal Pain
Read more about causes of Abdominal Pain.
More information about causes of Abdominal Pain:
Disease Topics Related To Abdominal Pain
Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Abdominal Pain:
Abdominal Pain: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and Abdominal Pain
Undiagnosed acute appendicitis deadly in children: It is a sad reality that a child with acute appendicitis
has a high likelihood of misdiagnosis.
This misdiagnosis is a well-known...read more »
Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms
of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed.
The best known, irritable bowel...read more »
Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea
is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance....read more »
Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely
to cause some level of diarrhea in patients.
The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria,
but can also kill...read more »
Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down
with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning).
In fact,...read more »
Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the
more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain,...read more »
Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps,
particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes.
However, there are also various other causes.
See...read more »
Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive
conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a variety of symptoms (see symptoms of
celiac disease). A...read more »
Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often
misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in children.
Some of the symptoms...read more »
Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency
is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as ...read more »
Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent
difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases.
Some of the...read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and Abdominal Pain
Abdominal Pain: Research Doctors & Specialists
Research related physicians and medical specialists:
- Nerve Specialists:
- Digestive Health Specialists (Gastroenterology):
- Pain Specialists:
- Arthritis & Joint Health Specialists (Rheumatology):
- more specialists...»
Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:
Hospitals & Clinics: Abdominal Pain
Research quality ratings and patient safety measures
for medical facilities in specialties related to Abdominal Pain:
Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »
Choosing the Best Hospital:
More general information, not necessarily in relation to Abdominal Pain,
on hospital performance and surgical care quality:
Abdominal Pain: Rare Types
Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:
Evidence Based Medicine Research for Abdominal Pain
Medical research articles related to Abdominal Pain include:
Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database
Abdominal Pain: Animations
More Abdominal Pain animations & videos
Research about Abdominal Pain
Visit our research pages for current research about Abdominal Pain treatments.
Clinical Trials for Abdominal Pain
The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally
and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.
Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Abdominal Pain include:
See full list of 22
Clinical Trials for Abdominal Pain
Abdominal Pain: Broader Related Topics
Types of Abdominal Pain
User Interactive Forums
Read about other experiences, ask a question about Abdominal Pain, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:
Definitions of Abdominal Pain:
Sensation of discomfort, distress, or agony in the abdominal region; generally associated with functional disorders, tissue injuries, or diseases.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Contents for Abdominal Pain:
» Next page: What is Abdominal Pain?
Medical Tools & Articles:
Tools & Services:
Forums & Message Boards
- Ask or answer a question at the Boards: