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Abdominal pain

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: Abdominal pain causes can range from extremely severe life-threatening conditions (e.g. acute appendicitis, abdominal aneurysm), to various less serious conditions (e.g., heartburn, reflux, gastroenteritis, etc.) Any symptom of...more »

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 pain is a ...more misdiagnosis »

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.

Gastroenteritis is probably the most likely cause of abdominal pain. However, this can be over-diagnosed, when some other cause of abdominal pain is the actual cause.

The classic ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Abdominal pain:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Abdominal pain. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Abdominal pain: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Abdominal pain

Home medical tests possibly related to Abdominal pain:

Causes of Types of Abdominal pain:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Abdominal pain:

Review causes of types of Abdominal pain in more specific categories:

Review causes of more specific types of Abdominal pain:

Abdominal pain: Symptom Checker

Our database lists various combinations of symptoms associated with Abdominal pain. Visit the Abdominal pain: Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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 underlying causes, such as ...Abdominal pain Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Abdominal pain may include:

Review further information on Abdominal pain Treatments.

Abdominal pain: Animations

Stories from Users for Abdominal pain

Real-life user stories relating to Abdominal pain:


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