- Abdominal pain:
Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
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 pain is a symptom of many different conditions, some potentially life threatening, so recurrent abdominal pain should be medically evaluated to ensure an accurate diagnosis of the reason for abdominal pain.
There are literally hundreds of causes of abdominal pain, and many are difficult to diagnose. Many can be serious or even life threatening, so seek prompt medical attention by a qualified professional.
The classic misdiagnosis in children for abdominal pain is appendicitis, and this can also afflict adults. Physicians will expend a lot of effort trying to rule out appendicitis because it can be potentially fatal (see misdiagnosis of appendicitis). Delayed diagnosis of appendicitis is one of the most common types of malpractice lawsuit.
Chronic abdominal pain can have numerous causes. A number of chronic digestive causes are possible, and often misdiagnosed. The list includes celiac disease, Crohn's disease, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), digestive parasites, carcinoid of the digestive tract and others (see also misdiagnosos of chronic digestive disorders), but there are many, many other possibilities; see causes of chronic abdominal pain or causes of abdominal pain.
Abdominal pain can also arise from many body systems, not just the digestive tract. Disorders of organs such as the liver, kidneys, and so on can cause abdominal pain. See causes of abdominal pain for the long list.
Seek prompt professional diagnosis by a qualified physician for any abdominal pain symptoms.
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 cause of death, and indeed of malpractice lawsuits, in the medical industry. That it is often overlooks is somewhat understandable. Compared to other causes of abdominal pain, it is less common than simple explanations like gastroenteritis or food poisoning. The hallmark symptom of appendicitis, abominal pain located right at the navel, is also the way that young children report almost any type of abdominal discomfort. See the introduction to appendicitis and misdiagnosis of appendicitis.
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 syndrome, is over-diagnosed, whereas other causes that are less known may be overlooked or misdiagnosed: celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis (both are called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)), diabetic gastroparesis, diabetic diarrhea. Other possibilities include giardia, colon cancer, or other chronic infections.
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. The digestive system contains a variety of "good" bacteria that aid digestion, and they can decline for various reasons, leading to digestive symptoms such as diarrhea. The main treatment is to eat foods containing probiotics, typically yoghurt cultures. See intestinal imbalance and probiotics.
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 the "good" bacteria in the gut. This leads to "digestive imbalance" where there are too few remaining "good" bacteria in the digestive system. The treatment is typically to use "probiotics", such as by eating yoghurt cultures containing more of the good bacteria. See digestive imbalance and probiotics.
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, it's more likely to be an infectious diarrheal illness (i.e. infectious diarrhea), that has been caught from another person. Such conditions may be transmitted via the fecal-oral route.
Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed with fatal effect). One of the most common misdiagnosed is for children with mesenteric adenitis to be misdiagnosed as appendicitis. Fortunately, thus misdiagnosis is usually less serious than the reverse failure to diagnose appendicitis.
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 causes of leg cramps or misdiagnosis of diabetes.
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 variety of other chronic digestive disorders tend to be diagnosed rather than this condition. See introduction to celiac disease or misdiagnosis of celiac disease.
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 of hypertension that can be overlooked include chest pain, headaches, abdominal pain, etc. See symptoms of hypertension or misdiagnosis of hypertension.
Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency or misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcer, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, or GERD. Other sometimes overlooked possibilities include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic appendicitis, Celiac disease, Carcinoid syndrome, gastroparesis, and others. See all types of chronic digestive diseases.
Some of the causes, which may potentially be dangerous or fatal if left undiagnosed, may include:
The following list of conditions have 'Abdominal pain' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Abdominal pain or choose View All.
The following list of medical conditions have 'Abdominal pain'
or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.
Search Specialists by State and City