Abdominal pain : symptoms, causes , diagnosis and management

Abdominal pain : symptoms, causes , diagnosis and management

Abdominal pain can be felt anywhere between thorax ( chest ) and pelvis.  Pain could be mild, moderate or severe. It may be dull or acute. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal pain, one time or other.  Most of the time, stomach pain is not serious, but severe abdominal pain is a cause of concern.  If pain starts suddenly and unexpectedly, it should be regarded as an emergency, and investigated accordingly.


Pain in abdomen can be of various intensities and nature, It can be:

  • Sharp, stabbing cramp like pain
  • Brief pain that may come or go
  • Pain associated with vomiting


Various conditions are associated with abdominal pain . Causes of abdominal pain include:

  • Constipation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Food allergy
  • Food poisoning
  • Menstrual pain

Sudden, severe abdominal pain:

  • Abdominal infection
  • Appendicitis
  • A perforated peptic ulcer
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney stones
  • Diverticulitis : Inflammation of small pouches that are part of the bowel

Other common causes in adults are:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Long term Peptic ulcer
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn and acid reflux

Common Causes in children

  • Constipation
  • Urinary tract Infection
  • Anxiety
  • Heartburn and acid reflux


Generally abdominal pain goes with time, but if the pain does not subside, then one should seek medical help:

  • Abdominal discomfort that lasts 1 week or longer
  • Abdominal pain that does not improve in 24 – 48 hours, or becomes more severe and frequent and occurs with nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating that persists for more than 2 days
  • Burning sensation or increase in frequency on urination
  • Diarrhea for more than 5 days
  • Fever (over 100°F for adults or 100.4°F for children) with pain
  • Prolonged poor appetite
  • Prolonged vaginal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss


  • Generally, treatment for abdominal pain depends upon its cause. Treatment usually is with medications for inflammation of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or Ulcers
  • Use antibiotics in case of infections
  • Modify your eating habits
  • Surgical treatment is indicated in conditions like appendicitis  or hernia (inguinal and umbilical)
  • Seek doctors advice before going in for any treatment.

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