Abdominal Pain

The abdomen is the part of the body located between the lower ribs and the pelvic bone and extends to the flanks on either side.

What is Abdominal Pain?

The abdomen is the part of the body located between the lower ribs and the pelvic bone and extends to the flanks on either side.
Pain in this area can be muscular, but usually, the term abdominal pain is reserved for discomfort originating from organs within the abdominal cavity which include: • Stomach
• Small Intestine
• Colon
• Liver
• Gallbladder
• Spleen, and
• Pancreas

What Causes Abdominal Pain?

There are several causes of abdominal pain,

1. Inflammation of an organ within the abdominal cavity such as:

  • Appendicitis
  • Colitis
  • Diverticulitis

2. Stretching or Distention of an Organ such as:

  • Obstruction of the intestine
  • Blockage of a bile duct due to gallstones
  • Swelling of the liver from hepatitis

3. Loss of Blood Supply to an Organ

  • Ischemic Colitis

4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), it is unclear what exactly causes the pain, but doctors believe it could be either of these:

  • Abnormal contractions or spasms of the intestinal muscles
  • Abnormally sensitive nerves within the intestines also known as visceral hypersensitivity

5. Crohn’s Disease

6. Food Poisoning

7. Ulcers

Caring Emergency Trained Physicians Prestige ER is Open 24/7 in Plano.

How to Prevent Abdominal Pain

There are many causes of abdominal pain, most can be prevented with a proper diet that includes plenty of vegetables and fruits which provide fiber, avoiding fried foods and for those with IBS avoiding spicy dishes.

In the event of a hepatitis outbreak, individuals should:

  • Wash their hands thoroughly
  • Only drink from clean water sources, avoid public water fountains
  • Avoid raw or undercooked meat and fish
  • Do not buy food from street vendors
  • Practice safe sex

To avoid developing ischemic colitis patients are advised to:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Control cholesterol levels
  • Seek medical attention to control heart disease that may cause blood clots
  • Avoid smoking

Symptoms of Abdominal Pain

The type and location of the abdominal pain vary depending on the cause.

Appendicitis

Intense pain in the lower right side of the abdomen usually starts as a vaguely uncomfortable feeling around the navel. The pain might be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and a mild fever.

Pancreatitis

Severe pain that starts in the upper abdomen and can spread to the sides and back. Pain crisis usually follows a heavy meal or heavy drinking. Other symptoms of pancreatitis include fever, nausea, vomiting, skin turning a yellowish color, and a racing heartbeat.

Gallstones

The pain manifests in the upper right side of the abdomen and radiates to the right upper back, chest, or shoulder. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and gas.

Intestinal Obstruction

Moderate to severe cramps that come and go, these may flare after a meal. Other symptoms may include vomiting that smells like stools, watery, ribbons like stools or no stools at all.

Diverticulitis

Pain or tenderness in the lower left side of the abdomen usually accompanied by fever. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, chills, stomach cramps, diarrhea, or constipation.

Viral Hepatitis

Chronic abdominal pain, yellowing skin, and eyes, accompanied by dark urine.

Stomach Ulcers and Gastritis

Dull stomach pain that comes and goes that becomes aggravated when the stomach is empty and seems to improve or disappear after a meal. Other symptoms include indigestion, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, gas, and dark stools.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Vague, widespread cramp-like pain accompanied by bloating, gas, tiredness, and occasional nausea. There could also be diarrhea, constipation, or bouts of both.

Crohn’s Disease

Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen, which could be accompanied by unexplained weight loss, skin rashes, tiredness, joint pain, fever, and mucus or blood in the stools.

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