Definition

What is abdominal pain?

Abdominal (belly) pain is pain or discomfort that you may feel in the part of the trunk below the ribs and above the pelvis. It comes from organs within the abdomen or organs adjacent to the belly. It is caused by inflammation, distention of an organ, or by loss of the blood supply to an organ.

Generally, everyone used to experience abdominal pain in their lives at least once. However, most of the causes seem not serious and can be readily diagnosed and treated. In some cases, pain can also be a sign or symptom of a serious condition. It’s essential to recognize signs and symptoms that are severe and make a call for a doctor to treat immediately.

How common is abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain is a type of disease can affect all people from children to the old, from men to women. However, Women seem to be more influenced by abdominal pain twice as often as men.

However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of abdominal pain?

Depending on what the cause of abdominal pain is, the severity of signs and symptoms of the condition can range from mild to severe:

If you feel that your abdominal pain is severe or if there is any accompanied following symptoms, please contact your health care provider as soon as possible to have a proper treatment:

  • Fever
  • Inability to keep food down for more than 2 days
  • Any signs of dehydration
  • Inability to pass stool, especially if you are also vomiting
  • Painful or unusually frequent urination
  • The abdomen is tender to the touch
  • The pain is the result of an injury to the abdomen
  • The pain lasts for more than a few hours

Because these symptoms can be an indication of an internal problem, it requires treatment as soon as possible.

Some other symptoms besides abdominal pain that you should seek emergency assistance:

  • Vomit blood
  • Have bloody or black tarry stools
  • Have difficulty breathing
  • Have pain occurring during pregnancy

When should I see my doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes abdominal pain?

Whether it’s a mild stomach ache, sharp pain, or stomach cramps, abdominal pain can have numerous causes. Some of the more common causes may include:

  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Stomach virus
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Food poisoning
  • Food allergies
  • Gas
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Ulcers
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Hernia
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney stones
  • Endometriosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Appendicitis

Risk factors

What increases my risk for abdominal pain?

You may have higher risks for this condition if you are experiencing these following conditions:

  • Drink too much alcohol
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Eat fast
  • Drink less water (lower than 2.5 liters a day)
  • Eat too much fat
  • Eat poisonous food

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is abdominal pain diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you experience abdominal pain, he/she will perform an exam thoroughly to determine this condition because there are so many potential causes of abdominal pain, your health care provider will perform a thorough physical exam, discuss with you the type of symptoms you are experiencing, and ask you several questions about the pain you are feeling.

Once an initial evaluation has been completed, your health care provider may have you undergo some tests to help find the cause of your pain. These tests may include stool or urine tests, blood tests, barium swallows or enemas, an endoscopy, X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan.

Ultrasound is useful in diagnosing gallstones, appendicitis, or ruptured ovarian cysts as the cause of the pain.

Computerized tomography (CT) of the abdomen is useful in diagnosing pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, appendicitis, and diverticulitis, as well as in diagnosing abscesses in the abdomen. Special CT scans of the abdominal blood vessels can detect diseases of the arteries that block the flow of blood to the abdominal organs.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is useful in diagnosing many of the same conditions as CT tomography.

How is abdominal pain treated?

Actually a proper treatment will be determined for abdominal pain depends on its cause.

Treatments can be medications for inflammation, GERD, or ulcers, to antibiotics for infections, to changes in personal behavior for abdominal pain caused by certain foods or beverages.

In some cases, such as appendicitis and a hernia, surgery may be required.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage abdominal pain?

Following these tips can help you to prevent abdominal pain, you should:

  • Eat less food
  • Take small amounts of baking soda
  • Use lemon and/or lime juice
  • Start a BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce and toast) for a day or so for symptom relief.
  • Stop smoking or drinking too much alcohol.

Some health care professionals recommend that you also should use:

  • Take ginger
  • Peppermint
  • Licorice
  • Chamomile tea

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: June 26, 2017 | Last Modified: June 26, 2017

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