Abdominal Pain Definition

Discomfort in the trunk region that can range from mild cramping to severe PAIN. Abdominal pain requires emergency medical attention when:

  • PAIN is sudden, sharp, and unrelenting
  • Pain radiates into the shoulder or jaw
  • The abdomen is tense and tender to the touch
  • There is bloody VOMITING or DIARRHEA

Causes of Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. Numerous health conditions can cause abdominal pain, from DYSPEPSIA (indigestion) and FLATULENCE (gas) to APPENDICITIS and GALLBLADDER DISEASE. Advanced or metastatic CANCERLIVER disease, and HEART ATTACK also can involve abdominal pain, among other symptoms.

Common Causes of Abodminal Pain
APPENDICITIScholecystitis
cholelithiasis (gallstones)CONSTIPATION
dissecting abdominal ANEURYSMDYSPEPSIA (indigestion)
ECTOPIC PREGNANCYFECAL IMPACTION
GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISORDER (GERD)HEART ATTACK
HERNIAILEUS (intestinal obstruction)
INTUSSUSCEPTIONNEPHROLITHIASIS (KIDNEY stones)
PANCREATITISPELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE (PID)
PERITONITISURETHRITIS
URINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI)viral GASTROENTERITIS

It is difficult to gauge the severity of the underlying cause of pain on the basis of the pain’s qualities. Intestinal gas can cause immobilizing pain, while heart attack may initially manifest as vague discomfort. FEVER (body temperature above 100º F) often accompanies bacterial infections, which require treatment with ANTIBIOTIC MEDICATIONS. Most abdominal discomfort is transitory and benign. Abdominal discomfort requires medical attention when pain is debilitating or continues for longer than five days without improvement, there is discharge from the PENIS or VAGINA, or there is accompanying VOMITING or DIARRHEA for longer than three days.

See also ABDOMINAL DISTENTION.

Abdominal Pain – causes and definition
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