Possible Causes Of Abdominal Pain
There are several causes of abdominal pain or discomfort. The following are lists of causes of abdominal pain , grouped into the area of the abdomen where patients often say their pain is mainly localized.
Upper Abdominal Pain
Upper abdominal pain –
The above lists are examples of many causes of abdominal pain. The doctor makes use of the location, type, and intensity of pain to try to arrive at a diagnosis. For example, if an older patient has acute pain that is relatively constant, located in the left and or center of the lower abdomen with a pain score of 9 out of 10, that is sharp or tearing, the doctor would likely place a thoracic aortic aneurysm high on the list of suspected causes.
Lower Abdominal Pain: Lifestyle And Prevention Tips
While some forms of lower abdominal pain are out of our control, we do have the ability to take good care of our tummies and to prevent discomfort. For example, a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet and drinking plenty of water can help us avoid channel infections. It can also control constipation, which may lead to lower abdominal pain.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
- Wear cotton undergarments
- Avoid perfumed merchandise around the vagina, such as body washes
- Try drinking lemon juice and ginger juice to control and prevent PMS and menstrual pain.
- Take pain medications as prescribed
- Donât self-diagnose
While most people who experience lower abdominal pain have nothing to be concerned about, when symptoms donât go away or are severe, it could be a sign of something serious. If you find yourself in one of these situations, donât hesitate to seek medical attention. In many cases, the sooner proper treatment begins, the less chance there is of sustaining long-term damage or needing surgery.
Related Conditions Of Abdominal Pain
Some of the most common conditions associated with abdominal pain include the following:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome This condition is characterized by symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
Constipation If you arent having regular bowel movements, you may feel bloated and full and experience sharp gas pains in your abdomen.
Peptic Ulcer When a sore develops in the lining of your stomach or upper small intestine, you may experience a burning sensation similar to hunger pangs, along with nausea, vomiting, or heartburn.
Pancreatitis Inflammation of your pancreas may cause sharp, severe pain in the upper middle area of your abdomen, along with nausea, vomiting, or fever. This condition can be either acute or chronic.
Duration Of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can be brief or long-lasting, depending on its underlying cause. It can be ongoing or recurring, coming and going at what seem like random intervals or with certain activities or behaviors.
How long your abdominal pain lasts, or whether it comes and goes, doesnt necessarily correspond to how severe the underlying condition is.
After The Visit To The Doctor
Do not expect an instant cure or immediate diagnosis. Multiple office visits and tests are often necessary to establish the diagnosis and/or to exclude serious illnesses. Doctors may start you on a medication before a firm diagnosis is made. Your response to that medication sometimes may provide your doctor with valuable clues as to the cause. Therefore, it is important for you to take the medication prescribed.
Notify your doctor if your symptoms worsen, if medications are not working, or if you think you are having side effects. Do not self-medicate without discussing it with your doctor. Even the best physician never bats 1000, so do not hesitate to openly discuss with your doctor referrals for second or third opinions if the diagnosis cannot be firmly established and the pain persists. Self-education is important, but make sure what you read comes from credible sources.
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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.
Lower Abdominal Pain In Women: 15 Possible Causes And Treatments
Lower abdominal pain can indicate a series of problems. Read our guide to work out what might be causing your pain.
Lower abdominal pain in women generally refers to pain, discomfort or cramps below the belly button. From appendicitis to period cramps, there are a number of potential causes for lower abdominal pain in women and the right treatment depends on the correct diagnosis.
Dr Juliet McGrattan looks at 15 possible causes of lower abdominal pain in women, so you know when to reach for the hot water bottle or when to call your doctor:
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What Home Remedies Soothe Abdominal Pain In Adults
Abdominal pain without fever, vomiting, vaginal bleeding, passing out, chest pain, or other serious symptoms often get better without special treatment.
- If the pain persists or if a person believes the pain may represent a serious problem, they should see a doctor.
- A heating pad or soaking in a tub of warm water may ease the pain.
- Over-the-counter antacids, such as Tums, Maalox, or Pepto-Bismol, also can reduce some types of abdominal pain. Activated charcoal capsules also may help.
- Acetaminophen may help. This product should be avoided if liver disease is suspected. Patients should try to avoid aspirin or ibuprofen stomach or intestinal ulcer disease is suspected these drugs can make the pain worse.
Severe Stomach Pain After Eating A Fatty Meal
If you find yourself doubled over after eating a high-fat meal, you may be experiencing a gallbladder attack. “Women are especially prone to gallbladder disease,” says Hardeep Singh, MD, gastroenterologist from St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA. “Overweight women in their 40s are at highest risk.” The pain becomes worse after eating, lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and may come and go, becoming more constant and severe over time, says Singh.
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Treating Lower Abdominal Pain In Women
The most common treatment for lower abdominal pain in women is a heating pad and mild pain medicationsâthis is for PMS or actual menstrual cramping. In cases where the pain is severe, a doctor might prescribe medications that will control hormones, reducing the possibility of inflammation and pain in subsequent months. When a woman experiences sharp pelvic cramps and pain, especially those that are felt on one side, it may be an ectopic pregnancy. This is urgent and requires emergency care. Pelvic inflammatory disease also calls for medical attention, as advanced cases of this condition usually mean surgery is needed.
It is not unusual for women to get cysts or fibroids. While the majority are harmless, others can cause a lot of discomfort and require surgical removal. Meanwhile, polycystic ovary syndrome is often treated with oral contraceptive pills to help regulate a womanâs cycle. However, surgery is still a treatment option.
In cases where a person is suffering from appendicitis, surgery may be required to remove the appendix. Thankfully, in the case of bladder infections, surgery is not the protocol. Antibiotics are the main treatment for UTIâs.Clearly, the treatment depends on the cause and it is dangerous to self-diagnose. Seeing a doctor will allow for proper investigation into what is causing the lower abdominal pain so that an appropriate treatment can be administered.
Diagnosis Of Abdominal Pain In Adults
If examinations and tests are needed, these may include:
- a rectal exam to check for hidden blood or other problems
- if you are a man, the doctor may check your penis and scrotum
- if you are a woman, the doctor may do a pelvic exam to check for problems in your womb , fallopian tubes and ovaries, and do a pregnancy test
- a blood test to look for infection or bleeding
- other blood tests may look at enzymes in the liver, pancreas and heart to sort out which organ may be involved
- a urine test to look for a urine infection or blood
- an ECG to rule out a heart attack
- other tests, including x-ray, ultrasound or CT scan
- sometimes you may be referred to another doctor to help find the cause of the problem.
- endoscopy is an examination where a flexible tube with a light and video camera at the tip is used to examine some internal organs without the need for surgery. Different names are used depending on which organ is being looked at.
If you do have tests, the doctor will explain the results to you. Some results may take a number of days to come back and these will be sent to your local doctor.
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When To Call The Doctor About Abdominal Pain
If your abdominal pain is serious, doesn’t go away, or keeps coming back, talk to your doctor. Call 911 right away if your belly hurts because you had a recent injury there or if you have any chest pain.
You should also contact your doctor as soon as you can if you have symptoms along with the pain, such as:
- Can’t keep food down for more than 2 days
- Signs you’re getting dehydrated, including not urinating frequently, dark-colored urine, and being very thirsty
- Can’t have a bowel movement, especially if you’re also vomiting
- Pain when you pee, or you need to urinate often
Also call your doctor if:
- Your belly is tender to the touch
- Pain lasts more than a few hours
You may have other symptoms that could be a sign of a problem inside your body that needs treatment as soon as possible. Get medical care right away if you have abdominal pain and you also:
- Have unexplained weight loss
Where Is That The Pain Located
There are several areas at intervals in the abdominal region. Identifying the origin of the pain will aid in discovering the cause. Acute pain on the lower right side of the abdomen can be from the appendix. Whereas pain on the lower left side may indicate diverticulitis, constipation, or a variety of different bowel issues.
Although this is not a comprehensive list, here are some common causes of abdominal pain:
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Causes Of Recurrent Stomach Pains
- Stress or Worries. The most common cause of frequent stomach pains is stress. Over 10% of children have a “worried stomach.” These children tend to be sensitive and too serious. They often are model children. This can make them more at risk to the normal stresses of life. Examples of these events are changing schools, moving or family fights. The pain is in the pit of the stomach or near the belly button. The pain is real.
- Abdominal Migraine. Attacks of stomach pain and vomiting with sudden onset and offset. Often occur in children who later develop migraine headaches. Strongly genetic.
- Functional Abdominal Pains. Functional means the stomach pains are due to a sensitive GI tract. The GI tract is free of any disease.
- School Avoidance. Stomach pains that mainly occur in the morning on school days. They keep the child from going to school.
Severe Acute Pain In The Lower Right Side Of The Abdomen
A sudden pain in the lower part of the abdomen may be a sign of appendicitis. It may also be accompanied by a fever. Pain often begins around the belly button area and becomes worse with time. Vomiting or constipation or diarrhea along with the pain also indicate it’s time to go to the emergency room. Physicians recommend seeing a doctor right away if the pain comes on suddenly over several hours or is persistent. Appendicitis often requires surgery. If left untreated, a ruptured appendix can be deadly.
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Characteristics Of The Pain
When does the pain occur? Always? More often in the morning or at night? If the pain comes and goes, about how long does it last each time? Does it occur after eating certain types of foods or after drinking alcohol? Abdominal pain that occurs after eating may be due to indigestion. Does pain occur during menstruation? These are typical questions your doctor may ask that may help determine the cause. For example, abdominal pain that comes on suddenly may suggest a sudden event such as the interruption of the supply of blood to the colon or obstruction of the bile duct by a gallstone .
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.
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Lower Abdominal Pain In Women When To See A Doctor
Because abdominal pain in women has many causes, you shouldnt ignore pelvic cramping or lower stomach discomfort that doesnt go away. Pains in your lower abdomen could be something as simple as mild digestive discomfort or as serious as a kidney infection or appendicitis.
Dr. Jerry Balentine on eMedicineNet advises women to see a doctor for abdominal pain in the following circumstances:
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Abdominal Pain Treatment Online
If youâre struggling with abdominal pains after having COVID-19, you may not need to see a doctor in person. You may be able to get a diagnosis and pain relief after a video or phone appointment with one of the trusted PlushCare doctors.
If the doctor thinks that you would benefit from prescription medication, they can electronically send it to your local pharmacy, where you can pick it up once itâs ready.
Note that, based on your symptoms, the doctor may recommend that you go to an urgent care clinic or hospital for imaging or other testing to determine the cause of your abdominal pain.
Schedule an appointment for abdominal pain treatment online by .
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Pain In Lower Part Of Stomach What Can It Be
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Investigations To Diagnose Appendicitis
White Blood Cell Count -Increased WBC count indicates presence of infection.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate – The ESR is increased. The blood is collected in a special test tube. The ESR is a time taken by cells in blood to settle at the bottom of the tube. The faster ESR suggest presence of infection and tissue inflammation.
Electrolyte and Urea-In most cases electrolytes and blood urea nitrogen level are normal. Occasionally patient may suffer with severe dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities because of severe nausea and vomiting. In such cases abnormal level of sodium, potassium and blood urea nitrogen is found in blood examination.
C Reactive Protein – CRP is increased in patient suffering with most infection such as appendicitis.
Ultrasound Scan- Ultrasound scan images show soft tissue abnormalities. Infected appendix is seen as a swollen finger like organ close to cecum and terminal part of small intestine. Ultrasound image can differentiate ruptured appendix and surrounding issue inflammation.
Laparoscopy- Laparoscopy study involves skin incision and then insertion of tubular camera known as laparoscope in to abdominal cavity. Surgeon then can see the color image of appendix on television. The study is performed in outpatient or hospital surgery room.
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When Should My Child See A Doctor
Many children recover from abdominal pain quickly and dont need to see a doctor.
Take your child to a doctor immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency department if they:
- are in pain that goes on for longer than 24 hours or if youre worried about them
- have pain that is severe or debilitating even though they have taken pain medicine
- are hard to wake and are unwell
- vomit for more than 24 hours, or they are unable to keep any fluids down, refusing to drink any fluids and their vomit is green
- have blood in their poo or vomit
- are having trouble doing a wee
- have pain and lumps in the groin
- were recently injured for example, falling onto the handlebars of a bike
If your child is still a baby and they have fewer than 4 wet nappies per day, as well as their abdominal pain, you should take them to a doctor immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.