How Is The Cause Of The Abdominal Pain Diagnosed
Physical examination will include a careful examination of the patient’s abdomen, heart, and lungs in order to pinpoint the source of the pain.
- The doctor will touch different parts of the abdomen to check for tenderness or other signs that indicate the source of the pain.
- The doctor may do a rectal exam to check for small amounts of blood in the stool or other problems, such as a mass or internal hemorrhoids.
- If the patient is a woman, the doctor may do a pelvic exam to check for problems in the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
- The doctor also may look at the patient’s eyes for yellow discoloration and in the mouth to be sure the patient is not dehydrated.
Laboratory tests may or may not help to determine the cause of the abdominal pain. Combined with the information gained from the questions the patient was asked and the physical examination performed by the doctor, certain blood or urine tests may be ordered and could assist in determining the diagnosis.
Radiology studies of the patient’s abdomen can be useful, but are not always necessary or helpful.
- Occasionally, an X-ray will show air outside of the bowel, meaning that something has ruptured or perforated.
- An X-ray also can help diagnose bowel obstruction.
- Sometimes X-rays can show a kidney stone.
Ultrasound is a painless procedure useful in finding some causes of abdominal pain.
What Causes Stomach Ulcers
The two most common causes are:
- H. pylori infection. This common bacterial infection affects up to half of people worldwide. It primarily lives in the stomach. In many people, it doesnt seem to cause problems. Their gut immune systems keep it in check. But a portion of those infected have H. pylori overgrowth. The bacteria continue to multiply, eating into the stomach lining and causing chronic inflammation and peptic ulcer disease. H. pylori infection is associated with about 60% of duodenal ulcers and 40% of gastric ulcers.
- Overuse of NSAIDs. NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.” These include common over-the-counter pain relief medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. NSAIDs contribute to ulcers in several ways. They irritate the stomach lining on contact and repress some of the chemicals that defend and repair the mucous lining. Up to 30% of people who take NSAIDs regularly develop peptic ulcers. Up to 50% of all peptic ulcers are caused by the overuse of NSAIDs.
Less common causes of stomach ulcers include:
- Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. This is a rare condition that causes your stomach to produce too much gastric acid.
- Severe physiological stress. Severe illness, burns or injuries can produce stress ulcers in the stomach. Physiological stress changes your bodys PH balance, increasing stomach acid. Stress ulcers develop very quickly in response to stress, unlike normal stomach ulcers that develop gradually.
Upper Abdominal Pain Between The Ribcage
If you develop an aching or stabbing pain or pressure in the upper abdominal area just under the ribs, this may indicate a heart-related problem. Physicians say this pain is often accompanied by shortness of breath and is concerning if the pain persists. People often assume this type of pain is indigestion, and while that may be the case, anyone with risk factors such as diabetes or hypertension should see a doctor as soon as possible.
If you do struggle with acid reflux, it may be time to talk to a gastroenterologist. They can help you manage your symptoms through medications, lifestyle changes and diet.
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What Is Kidney Infection Back Pain
Lifestyle choices can also contribute to lower back pain, including:
- Long periods of immobility
However, if you are experiencing lower back pain along with frequent urination, blood in the urine, fever, or chills, you may have a kidney infectionback pain. This is a condition where the cause of the back pain is a kidney infection, also known as Pyelonephritis.
Under normal conditions, the urinary tract works as part of the system that cleans the blood. The kidneys are capable of filtering 150 quarts of water and waste from the blood each day. The filtering process produces one to two quarts of urine which are stored in the bladder until removed through urination.
To avoid potentially serious complications, an infection of the kidneys should receive immediate medical attention.
What Causes Abdominal Pain
There are many underlying causes of abdominal pain. Some of these are short-term causes that arent serious the symptoms may last only hours or days, and may clear up by themselves. Others are longer lasting and may be more serious.
There are also causes of abdominal pain that require urgent medical attention and may be life-threatening.
Some causes of abdominal pain are more common or less likely in certain age groups or genders.
Children often get stomach or abdominal pain. Some of the most common causes are gastroenteritis, wind or indigestion. Some causes of abdominal pain apply mainly to children, such as colic, intussusception, and testicular torsion. For more information on these, see abdominal pain in children.
Women may experience abdominal pain associated with their periods, pregnancy or problems with their urinary or reproductive system.
Older people are more likely than younger people to have abdominal pain due to heart or lung problems, bowel obstruction, or conditions such as diverticulitis or gallstones.
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Can A Kidney Infection Cause No Appetite
Symptoms of a kidney infection include: Blood or pus in your pee. Fever and chills. Loss of appetite.
Can your back hurt from a bladder infection?
When bladder infections spread, they can also cause mid-back pain. This pain is associated with an infection in the kidneys. Unlike muscular back pain, this pain will be persistent regardless of your position or activity.
Taking Care Of Yourself At Home
Most abdominal pain goes away without special treatment. Be guided by your doctor, but there are some things you can do to help ease the pain, including:
- Place a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag on your abdomen.
- Soak in a warm bath. Take care not to scald yourself.
- Drink plenty of clear fluids such as water.
- Reduce your intake of coffee, tea and alcohol as these can make the pain worse.
- When you are allowed to eat again, start with clear liquids, then progress to bland foods such as crackers, rice, bananas or toast. Your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Try over-the-counter antacids, to help reduce some types of pain.
- Take mild painkillers such as paracetamol. Please check the packet for the right dose. Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs unless advised to take them by a doctor. These drugs can make some types of abdominal pain worse.
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Stomach Or Peptic Ulcers
Ulcers or wounds that will not heal tend to cause severe and persistent abdominal pain. It can also lead to bloating, indigestion, and weight loss.
The most common causes of stomach and peptic ulcers are the bacteria H. pylori and the overuse or continued use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications .
If you would like to know more about stomach ulcers, click here.
Abdominal Pain Treatment And Home Remedies
The treatment for abdominal pain depends on its cause, and may include:
- Medications to lower inflammation, prevent acid reflux, or treat ulcers or infection
- Surgery to treat a problem with an organ
Over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen can irritate your stomach and worsen your pain. Donât take them unless a doctor has diagnosed the cause of your belly pain and recommends their use.
Some diet and lifestyle changes may help belly pain caused by gas and indigestion. Here are some things you can try:
- Eat smaller portions at more frequent meals
- Eat slowly
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Support For People Living With Chronic Pancreatitis
Any long-term health condition, particularly one that causes recurring episodes of pain or constant pain, can affect your emotional and psychological health.
See a GP if youre experiencing psychological and emotional difficulties. There are medicines available that can help with stress, anxiety and depression.
Talking to other people with the same condition can often reduce feelings of isolation and stress.
The charity Guts UK, may be able to put you in touch with a local support group.
Page last reviewed: 26 May 2022 Next review due: 26 May 2025
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How Can You Help Prevent An Ulcer
Dr. Simpson advises, “First you shouldn’t try to treat an ulcer on your own. If you think you have one see your doctor, and you should undergo a test called an endoscopy where they look into your stomach to see if you have a problem. When they look in your stomach they will take a biopsy to see if you have the bacteria, and if you have it they will use antibiotics to treat it. Drinking more than two drinks a day can also cause an ulcer, by disrupting the mucosa of the stomach.”
According to Dr. Lalezari, “As always an ounce of prevention is better than a gallon of cure so it’s best to follow a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and a diet high in healthy fiber to prevent ulcer disease. Avoiding prolonged use of NSAIDS, and smoking will also help prevent ulcers from forming. Lastly, taking a few minutes each day to meditate and exercise can help decrease stress levels and help prevent a pesky ulcer from developing.”
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When To See A Doctor About Abdominal Pain
Go straight to your doctor or the emergency department of the nearest hospital if you have any of the following:
- severe pain
- pain lasting for several hours
- pain or vaginal bleeding if you are pregnant
- pain in your scrotum if you are a male
- pain and vomiting or shortness of breath
- pain and vomiting blood
- blood in your bowel motions or urine
- pain that spreads to your chest, neck or shoulder
- unable to move your bowels or pass gas
- any other concerns.
An Overview Of Gynecologic Abdominal Pain
As a woman, you will experience some discomfort or pain in your abdomen from time to time. It could be because of poor sleeping habits or something you ate that is distressing your stomach. However, issues arising from the digestive tract are not always the root cause of abdominal pain. For women, gynecological problems may manifest as abdominal pain arising from the pelvic area and at times, the back.
The symptoms of abdominal pain may vary from one woman to another. Some women feel a mild irritation, while others experience severe pain that makes it difficult to manage everyday responsibilities. In essence, abdominal pain may be:
- A dull ache
- A sharp, cramping sensation
The discomfort may also feel like pressure, fullness, or heaviness in the lower abdomen. Symptoms of abdominal pain may worsen during urination or bowel movements, intercourse, or long periods of standing or sitting.
Discussed below are conditions that could cause abdominal pain in women.
If you have not gone through menopause and your ovaries are still intact, you may get cramps about 10-14 days before your period. This occurs when an egg is released to prepare your body for a possible pregnancy. Physicians depict painful ovulation as mittelschmerz, which means middle pain.
- Sharp pelvic pain
- Heavy vaginal bleeding in between periods
PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE
PELVIC-FLOOR MUSCLE DYSFUNCTION
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What Types Of Pain Are There
Doctors have different words to describe the different types of pain you can feel in the gut. Very broadly, pains may be sharp or stabbing, crampy, colicky or a general dull ache. Colicky means gradually becoming worse, then easing off again. This may happen repeatedly.
Doctors may also be interested in where the pain is and whether the pain seems to be travelling in a certain direction. Having this information and putting it together with other information, such as whether you have been being sick or have had diarrhoea, will help the doctor work out what is wrong.
Pain that comes on suddenly may be called acute. Longer-standing pain is called chronic.
What Causes Lower Abdominal Pain In Women
- Reviewed by:
Lead GP at Livi
Need to speak to a GP today?
There are lots of reasons why women of all ages might experience abdominal pain. Its extremely common and generally easy to manage if you know the cause.
Most lower abdominal pain in females isnt a sign of a serious condition, but occasionally there can be something that needs investigating. If you do experience this type of pain, its helpful to familiarise yourself with the area of the tummy that hurts and how to manage the different types of pain, says Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi.
The lower abdomen refers to the part of your tummy below the belly button. Pain in that area might also be referred to as pelvic pain.
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What Should You Take For Uti Pain
UTIs are best treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. However, there are some preventative and comfort measures you can do at home to alleviate UTI pain while you wait for antibiotics to kick in.
Drinking liberal amounts of fluids daily will flush out the bacteria. It may be helpful to drink pure cranberry juice because it contains an ingredient called A-type proanthocyanidins that can prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.
It is best to avoid coffee, tea, colas, alcohol, and other fluids that are known to irritate the urinary system.
Taking a vitamin C supplement may also help with UTIs because it makes your urine more acidic.
How Is Intestinal Gas Managed Or Treated
- Alpha-galactosidase , an enzyme to break down hard-to-digest foods.
- Bismuth subsalicylate for adults with upset stomach and diarrhea.
- Lactase enzymes for lactose intolerance .
- Probiotics to get rid of bad gut bacteria.
- Simethicone to reduce intestinal gas buildup that causes bloating.
Prescription medications may help if you have a motility problem like IBS. Antibiotics can treat bacterial overgrowth in the intestines that cause excess gas and bloating.
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What Causes Sudden And Severe Abdominal Pain
Sudden and severe abdominal pain should never be ignored. Steadily worsening abdominal pain may also be a sign of a serious condition.
If you have these symptoms, go immediately to your nearest hospital emergency department or call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.
Some of the causes of serious abdominal pain include:
Menstrual Cramps Or Endometriosis
Menstruation can cause inflammation and pain in the abdomen. Bloating, gas, cramping, and constipation can also occur during menstruation, causing abdominal discomfort.
Women who have endometriosis may experience more severe or chronic inflammation and pain. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally grows in the uterus develops in other parts of the body, usually in the pelvic area but sometimes elsewhere.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Abdominal Pain
While we dont usually feel the inner workings of our abdomen, pain can occur when there is a disruption of the normal functioning of an organ or area of tissue inside.
Abdominal pain can be caused by inflammation , organ distention or stretching , or loss of blood supply .
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as dietary supplements, can cause stomach pain. Medications can do this by irritating the stomach, leading to nausea, pain, and diarrhea, or by slowing digestion, leading to constipation. Be sure to check the label of any drug you take to see if abdominal pain is listed as a possible side effect.
- Lead poisoning, often from eating paint chips
- Emotional upset
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