What Causes Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is frequently caused by a problem in the digestive tract . However, it can also be caused by other organs located in the abdomen, such as the kidneys. Large blood vessels, such as the aorta are also found in the abdomen and may give rise to pain. Abdominal pain can even be caused by some medicines.
Causes of abdominal pain connected to the gut include:
- trapped wind or indigestion
- gallstones, gallbladder problems, liver problems
- medicines to help manage the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
Some of the causes of abdominal pain are short-term , whereas others are long-term or ongoing conditions. Find more information about the underlying causes of abdominal pain here.
When To Contact A Doctor
If a person is experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack, they need medical attention immediately.
A person should also seek medical attention as soon as possible if they are experiencing any symptoms of a kidney infection. If they do not receive treatment, the infection can worsen and lead to sepsis.
In general, it is important to consult a doctor if the pain does not go away with home treatment or disrupts daily life.
Depending on a persons symptoms and medical history, a doctor may recommend a visit to a specialist for a more thorough investigation.
What Causes Mild To Moderate Abdominal Pain
Most Australians will experience mild or moderate abdominal pain from time to time. Often these episodes last only a few hours or days. They may clear up without the need for treatment. However, you may be more comfortable managing the symptoms with medicines from your pharmacy or doctor.
Some of the causes of short-term abdominal pain are:
Don’t Miss: What To Eat To Tighten Your Stomach
Treatment For Chronic Pancreatitis
The damage to the pancreas is permanent, but treatment can help control the condition and manage any symptoms.
People with chronic pancreatitis are usually advised to make lifestyle changes, such as stopping drinking alcohol and stopping smoking. They’re also given medicine to relieve pain.
Surgery may also be an option for those experiencing severe pain.
Sudden And Severe Onset Stomach Pain
When mid-abdominal pain occurs suddenly especially in people with a history of peptic ulcer disease or in those who take excessive amounts of aspirin or NSAIDs it may be a sign of a perforation that could require emergency surgery. A tear could leak air and gastric content which can lead to a condition called peritonitis, and eventually, septic shock. Surgery would be required to seal the perforation.
If you’re experiencing chronic stomach pain, take steps now to head off any bigger problems down the road. Your primary care provider can help get to the bottom of what’s causing your issues and create a plan to help improve your gut health. Your plan may include medication, lifestyle changes, a healthier diet and stress management techniques.
7. Right or left lower abdominal pain in women
Sudden onset of right lower abdominal pain or left lower abdominal pain can indicate a ruptured ovarian cyst in a woman who is in the middle of her menstrual cycle. This kind of pain could also be a sign of ovarian torsion, which is the rotation of the ovary and part of the fallopian tube, or possibly a twisting of the ovary due to reduced blood supply. Seek treatment immediately at the nearest emergency department. Surgery to remove the ovary may be required.
Also Check: Can Stomach Cancer Cause Chest Pain
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.
How To Treat Lower Left Abdominal Pain
There are many different conditions that can cause abdominal pain. Making matters even more complicated, they often share more than one symptom. The first step in treatment is an accurate diagnosis.
Also Check: Can Smoking Cause Stomach Cancer
Organs On The Left Side Of The Abdomen
On the left side of your abdomen you can find some of the most important internal organs in your body:
Left lung The lower part of your left lung is located behind your heart and both of your lungs play a vital function in the respiratory system.
Spleen, pancreas, and part of the liver Although your liver is located under the right rib cage, part of it is located on the left side just under your heart. Below your heart under the left part of your rib cage are your liver, spleen, and pancreas. These organs, along with your liver, are an important part of your digestive system and help to break down food to extract nutrients and filter out waste products.
Left kidney Your left kidney is located towards your back and, just like the liver, helps to filter blood and keep you healthy.
Part of the stomach, intestines, and colon Part of your stomach, intestines, and colon are also located on the left side of your abdomen. The last part of your colon is located in the lower left side of the abdomen. If you have any digestive problems, the digestive-related pain might be felt on the left side.
Womens reproductive system Women also have part of their reproductive system on the left side of their body: part of the womb, left fallopian tube and the left ovary.
Organs on the Left Side of the Abdomen
When To Get Medical Advice
See a GP immediately if you’re experiencing severe pain, as this is a warning sign that something is wrong.
If this is not possible, contact NHS 111 for advice.
You should also see a GP as soon as you can if:
- your skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow
- you keep being sick
Jaundice can have a range of causes other than pancreatitis, but it’s usually a sign there’s something wrong with your digestive system.
You May Like: What To Take To Clean Your Stomach
Reproductive Causes In Men
The reproductive organs in men are within or very close to the lower left abdomen. Problems with these organs often cause referred pain to the lower left quadrant. In men, this may include a condition called testicular torsion. The freely mobile testes can rotate around themselves, obstructing blood flow. The lack of blood flow results in sudden, severe scrotal pain and swelling that often includes the left lower quadrant and other quadrants of the abdomen.
Treatment For Abdominal Pain In Adults
Your treatment depends on what is causing your pain, but may include:
- Pain relief â your pain may not go away fully with painkillers, but it should ease.
- Fluids â you may have fluids given into a vein to correct fluid loss and rest your bowel.
- Medicines â for example, you may be given something to stop you vomiting.
- Fasting â your doctor may ask you not to eat or drink anything until the cause of your pain is known.
Recommended Reading: Is There Treatment For Stomach Cancer
What Causes Lower Left Abdominal Pain In Women
Learn about causes of abdominal pain specific to women, as well as other potential causes that can affect both men and women.
Menstruation is the most common cause of abdominal pain in women. If your menstrual cycle is accompanied by painful cramps, the condition is called dysmenorrhea. Most women experience menstrual cramps at some point in their lives, and it typically is not something to worry about unless the pain is so severe that it hinders your daily activities.
Management includes conservative treatment such as heat pads, moderate exercise, and rest. Some people may need to take analgesics for pain relief.
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac inside an ovary. Although most ovarian cysts dont cause symptoms, large ovarian cysts can cause abdominal pain and frequent urination if they compress the bladder.
An ovarian cyst that ruptures can cause severe pain and internal bleeding. You should seek medical help if you experience sudden severe abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, lightheadedness, or signs of shock.
- Abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding or watery discharge
- Discomfort during urination and bowel movements
Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Abdominal pain
Causes Of Lower Left And Right Abdominal Pain
The various causes oflower left and right abdominal pain include the following:
- Cancer of the womb or fallopian tubes
- Pelvic pain syndrome
- Bowel polyps
Because there are so many possible causes of lower abdominal pain, it helps to name where the pain is the found in the magic box. The patient can then describe lower left abdominal pain or lower right abdominal pain.
The symptoms of lower left and right abdominal pain including the location and other signs are carefully noticed to identify the specific medical disorder causing the pain.
Also Check: Why Do Cigarettes Make Me Sick To My Stomach
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.
What Causes Lower Left And Right Abdominal Pain
Did you know that many physicians refer to the abdomen as the magic box? That is because abdominal pain is difficult to diagnose. It could be pain in your lower abdomen. Or it could be more specific. Often the only way to correctly diagnose abdominal pain is with clinical test results, and sometimes during an operation, known as an intra-operative diagnosis.
To help clarify where abdominal pain is happening, health care practitioners divide the abdomen into either 9 parts or 4 quadrants with imaginary lines. That helps them to communicate with each other about the pain and to minimize the difficulty in diagnosis. Is the pain in the lower right abdomen or the lower left abdomen? Those are good questions to help with the diagnosis of the pain. Identify where it is.
There are many causes of lower left and right abdominal pain. Each can have various factors linked and influence the selection of the best treatment plan.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Crepey Skin On Stomach
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About My Abdominal Pain
Always see your doctor if your pain is unexplained, persistent or severe, or if you have been injured or are pregnant.
Also, see your doctor if your pain is accompanied by any of these symptoms:
- Persistent fever.
- Blood in your stools, urine or vomit.
- Swelling and tenderness to the touch.
- Jaundice .
- Pain in any other part of your body.
- Shortness of breath or symptoms that get worse with exertion.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
So many things can cause abdominal pain that its inevitable well all experience it from time to time. Common causes, such as gas and indigestion, menstrual cramps, or even food poisoning and the flu may be instantly recognizable. Other causes may be more mysterious. And sometimes stomach pain is a sign of an unsuspected or serious condition.
Your healthcare provider will always be interested in your abdominal pain, especially if its unexplained. Common causes are often easy to treat, and having your condition diagnosed can help you find relief. Even if your stomach pain is mild, make sure you see your healthcare provider if it doesnt go away, keeps coming back or gets worse.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/18/2022.
Common Causes Of Abdominal Pain On The Left Side Of Your Body
It can be easier to self-diagnose left side pain when you know what organs are on the left side of your body. The organs located in your left abdomen include your colon, left kidney, spleen, stomach, and pancreas. If youre not struggling with gas or indigestion, pain on this side is typically a sign that something is off in one of these organs or organ systems.
If your pain in the lower left abdomen continues, look for symptoms of the following conditions:
Don’t Miss: What Helps Clean Out Your Stomach
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:
Left Side Stomach Pain
Also Check: How To Test For Stomach Cancer
Common Causes Of Lower Left Abdominal Pain In Men
Almost every man will experience abdominal pain at some time during his life, especially on the lower left side. This area is home to myriad organs, including the stomach, small and large intestines, kidneys, pancreas, liver and gallbladder.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
For this reason, lower-left abdominal pain could be indicative of several different ailments, ranging from excess gas to kidney stones or appendicitis 6.
The concern for men, however, is that they are less likely to seek medical assistance than their female counterparts, says Rusha Modi, MD, a Los Angeles-based board-certified physician in internal medicine, gastroenterology and hepatology, and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California 3.
Fear of physicians, embarrassment or stigma, as well as a desire to be stoic or strong can sometimes be reasons that limit men’s ability to get help for pain, he tells LIVESTRONG.com.
One general rule of thumb Dr. Modi uses with patients is to ask them if the pain they are experiencing is interrupting their daily routine. If they have to regularly move, eat or sleep differently or with difficulty because of the pain, then it’s worth investigating, he says. Pain, while unpleasant, is a useful signal that may indicate underlying health problems, so it is best not to ignore it.
What Questions Will My Doctor Ask About My Abdominal Pain
Diagnosing the cause of abdominal pain is one of the hardest tasks for a doctor. Sometimes all that the professional can do is be sure that the pain does not require surgery or admission to the hospital.
The healthcare professional may ask these or similar questions to try to determine what is causing the patient’s pain. Some may seem unrelated to the patient’s current condition, but it is important to try to answer them as completely as possible. The answers to these questions can help the healthcare professional find the cause of the patient’s pain more quickly and easily.
- How long have you had the pain?
- What were you doing when it started?
- How did you feel before the pain started?
- Have you felt OK over the last few days?
- What have you tried to make the pain better? Did it work?
- What makes the pain worse?
- Where is the pain located?
- Right side?
Don’t Miss: What Foods Help With Stomach Pain