"Abdominal Pain," "Stomach Ache," "Pain in the Abdomen," "Tummy Ache," "Stomach Pain,"…. we are so familiar with these words, as almost all of us have had it, not just once, but many times in our life; from infants, toddlers, young children, teenagers, adults, old ages….I am sure almost all of us have had abdominal pain or stomach ache at some time in our lives and in these age groups.
Sometimes the pain can be mild and other times it can be quite severe. The causes for abdominal pain or stomach ache are many; and symptoms and treatment depend on the underlying cause. Pain could arise from simple causes such as constipation or trapped wind and can be relieved by taking laxatives, fiber rich diet, lots of water and avoiding certain types of foods. This type of abdominal pain is not a major cause for worry and is quite common. Severe, persistent pain which hinders our daily activities should never be ignored, as it could arise from serious conditions such as gallstones, kidney stones, pancreatitis, appendicitis etc. Abdominal pain or Stomach Ache accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stools, blood in the vomit, racing pulse, pallor, dizziness, pain radiating to other regions, requires immediate medical attention. There are other serious, but not that common, causes of abdominal pain, such as heart attack, aortic aneurysm dissection; YES even these conditions could cause upper abdominal pain (along with other symptoms) and can be life threatening if not immediately treated.
Mild pain or discomfort in the abdomen in pregnancy need not be serious; however, if the pain is severe and is accompanied by other symptoms, such as cramping pain, vaginal bleeding/spotting, contractions, decreased fetal movements, hypertension, shock, then it is very very serious, as it could indicate other serious underlying conditions such as placental abruption, miscarriage, premature labor or preeclampsia and needs immediate medical attention.
So, as you can see there are many causes for abdominal pain ranging from mild to serious. It is very important to recognize the symptoms for what they stand for and arrive at the right diagnosis, so that correct treatment can be administered. Most of the causes of pain in the abdomen can be identified and treated easily, but some are tricky and require a wide spectrum of investigations before arriving at a conclusion/diagnosis.
Then again, we have different types of abdominal pain, as it can occur in any of the quadrants of the abdomen. So, we have upper right, central and left abdominal pain with its own set of causes, investigations and treatment. Then we have lower right, central and left abdominal pain, again with its different causes, investigations and treatment. We have also covered "Stomach Ache after Eating," "Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache in Children" and "Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache during Pregnancy."
In our section "ABDOMINAL PAIN," we have covered all this and more. You will find different types of abdominal pain, with their causes, investigations and treatment. Please refer to our left side menu for all the information.
Below we have given a brief overview on some of the types of abdominal pain, its common causes, associated symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please refer to our left side menu under the heading "ABDOMINAL PAIN" where you can find all the information about the different types of abdominal pain, their causes, associated symptoms, investigations and treatment in extensive detail.
Read More About What is Abdominal Pain, Its Types, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis From the Below Links:
- What is Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache?
- Pathophysiology of Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
- Types of Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache Based on Organ Systems
- Causes of Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
- Symptoms of Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
- Physical Examination for Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
- Treatment Options for Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
- Differential Diagnosis for Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
This is quite a common complaint in children and is one of the major reasons for parents to take their kids to their pediatrician. Some of the common causes include: Infections like gastroenteritis, food poisoning, drug over dosage (acetaminophen), and accidental swallowing of tablets, coins etc.… all these cause pain in the abdomen in the children. Treatment depends on the cause of the pain. Conservative treatment such as lots of fluids, rest, and liquid diet can be followed. For more details on causes, symptoms, investigations and treatment for abdominal pain in children, please refer to our left side menu "ABDOMINAL PAIN OR STOMACH ACHE IN CHILDREN, where you can find all the information you need.
Mild abdominal pain or discomfort is common in pregnancy; however, if there is severe, crampy and persistent pain, accompanied by vaginal bleeding/spotting, contractions, persistent vomiting, pallor, racing pulse, then it indicates some serious problem. Some of the causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy are: Ectopic pregnancy, premature labor, placental abruption, miscarriage, UTIs and preeclampsia. Treatment depends on the cause. For detailed information on treatment please refer to our left side menu under the topic "ABDOMINAL PAIN OR STOMACH ACHE DURING PREGNANCY" where you can find detailed information about causes, associated symptoms, investigations and treatment.
We have experienced pain in the abdomen after eating at some point or other. There are many causes for this. Simple causes include overeating; whereas other causes are food poising, food allergies, IBS, ulcers, heartburn and gallstones. Treatment depends on the cause. For detailed information on causes, associated symptoms, investigations and treatment, please refer to our left side menu under the topic "STOMACH ACHE AFTER EATING."
Upper abdominal pain may occur due to some transient conditions or serious ones. It is very important to make correct diagnosis so that the right treatment can be administered. Some of the common causes for upper abdominal pain are: Indigestion, hiatus hernia, gastritis, gallstones and stomach ulcers. Serious causes include: acute pancreatitis, perforated duodenal ulcer, heart attack and dissecting abdominal aortic aneurysm etc. Please refer to the left side menu under the topic "UPPER ABDOMINAL PAIN" where we have detailed information on not only upper abdominal pain, but also right upper abdominal pain, left upper abdominal pain, central upper abdominal pain along with their causes, other symptoms and treatment.
Common Causes of Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
- Stomach flu
- Pain from menstrual cycle
- Allergy to certain foods
- Food poisoning
- Lactose intolerance
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Kidney stones
- Urinary tract infection
- Crohn's disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Associated Symptoms of Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache Which Should Not Be Ignored
- High grade fever
- Unrelenting abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Not having bowel movements
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Extreme abdominal tenderness to touch
- Abdominal injury resulting in pain
Serious/Life Threatening Symptoms of Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
- Hematemesis (blood in the vomit)
- Hematuria ((blood in the urine)
- Hematochezia (blood in the stools)
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Pain during pregnancy with heavy vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding/spotting, hypertension, contractions, decreased fetal movements.
Diagnosis/Investigations for Determining the Underlying Cause of Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
As we have mentioned before, there are many causes for abdominal pain; and diagnosis requires complete medical history, physical exam and careful assessment of symptoms. Some of the important questions to be addressed are:
- The nature of the pain experienced; whether it is achy, dull, sharp, spasmodic, continuous etc.
- The location of the pain is important; whether it's in the upper right, central, left abdomen or lower right, left central abdomen. Whether it is confined to a specific region or radiates to other areas such as shoulders, lower back, buttocks or groin?
- The timing of the pain is also important. Does the pain occur after or before a meal? At night or in the morning? Does it get alleviated or worse with movement? Do certain foods cause it?
- The duration of the pain is also important for diagnosis. How long does the pain last? Few minutes? Few hours? Whole day?
- Do you suffer from any other medical conditions? Are you pregnant? Are you on your menstrual cycle?
- Are you taking any medications or other supplements?
- Have you suffered from any recent trauma or injury?
Investigations for Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
- Blood tests
- Stool tests
- Urine tests
- Barium swallows
- Barium enema
- CT scan
- Lactose intolerance tests
- Pelvic exam
- Fecal occult blood test
- Double balloon endoscopy
- Small bowel imaging
- Intravenous pyelography
- Anal manometry
- Liver function tests
- Blood cultures
- Lead levels
- Amylase/lipase levels
- Hydrogen breath tests
- Stool acidity test
- HIDA scan
- ERCP- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
- esophageal motility test
- Ambulatory acid (pH) probe tests...and many more.
Treatment Options for Abdominal Pain or Stomach Ache
Treatment for abdominal pain depends on the underlying cause and can be anything from medications, such as antacid, proton pump inhibitors for ulcers, GERD; antibiotics, antidiarheals are given for infections, such as pancreatitis; if pain is from allergy to certain foods then they should be avoided. Surgery is required for some causes such as hernia, appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, kidney stones etc. Sometimes, conservative measures, such as taking rest, avoiding certain activities and foods, drinking lot of fluids, lifestyle and dietary changes are sufficient to relieve abdominal pain.
In our topic "Treatment Options for Abdominal Pain" we have covered everything from medications given according to different types of conditions; such as:
- Antispasmodics like Buscopan.
- Antacids like Tums, Maalox and Pepto-Bismol.
- Antidiarrheals like loperamide to control diarrheal.
- Different types of antibiotics according to different organisms.
- Surgery with different surgical procedures for different systems such as Female Reproductive System and Pregnancy, Kidney and Urinary System etc.
- General surgery for different organs such as splenectomy for spleen conditions, colectomy for tumour excision, laparotomy with bowel resection for intestinal obstruction and many more.
Other Abdominal Pain Topics Which are Covered in This Section:
- Lower Abdominal Pain
- Lower Right Abdominal Pain
- Left Side Abdominal Pain
- Right Side Abdominal Pain
- 19 Safe and Natural Home Remedies for Abdominal Pain
- My Abdominal Pain is Excruciating, Am I Suffering with Pancreatitis
- Retroperitoneal Mass or Tumor
- Diagnosis of Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain
- Treatment For Belly Button Pain Caused By 12 Different Medical Conditions
- Frequent Bowel Movements
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