Abdominal pain

Stomach pain; Pain - abdomen; Belly ache; Abdominal cramps; Bellyache; Stomachache

Abdominal pain is pain that you feel anywhere between your chest and groin. This is often referred to as the stomach region or belly.

Anatomical landmarks, front view

There are three body views (front, back and side) that may be helpful if you are uncertain of a body area. Many areas are referred to by both descriptive and technical names. For example, the back of the knee is called the popliteal fossa. However, areas like the "flank" may not have both names, so the location may be unclear.

Abdominal organs

The process of digesting food is accomplished by many organs in the body. Food is pushed by the esophagus into the stomach. The stomach mixes the food and begins the breakdown of proteins. The stomach propels the food then into the small intestine. The small intestine further digests food and begins the absorption of nutrients. Secretions from the pancreas in the small intestine help neutralize the acid in the intestine to provide a proper environment for the enzymes to function. Bile from the gallbladder and liver emulsify fat and enhance the absorption of fatty acids. The large intestine temporarily stores and concentrates the remainder until it is passed out as waste from the body.

Abdominal quadrants

Since the abdominal area contains many different organs it is divided in smaller areas. One division method, uses one median sagittal plane and one transverse plane that passes through the umbilicus at right angles. This method divides the abdomen into four quadrants. Medical personnel can easily refer to these quadrants when describing pain or injury regarding a victim.

Appendicitis

The appendix is a small finger-shaped tube that branches off the first part of the large intestine. The appendix can become inflamed or infected causing pain in the lower right part of the abdomen.

Kidney function

Blood from the aorta reaches the kidneys so it can be filtered and cleaned. Among other functions, the kidneys remove toxins, metabolic waste, and excess ions from the blood which leaves the body in the form of urine.

You know that awful feeling: you’re nauseous; your stomach feels like it’s tied in a knot, and you don’t even want to move. What does your pain mean? Well, let’s talk today about abdominal pain. So, what causes abdominal pain? Almost everyone has pain in their belly at one time or another. Most of the time, a serious medical problem is not the cause, and how bad your pain is doesn’t always reflect the seriousness of the problem causing your pain. You may feel very bad pain if you are having gas or stomach cramps due to viral gastroenteritis, better known as a stomach virus. And some life-threatening conditions, such as colon cancer or a very early case of appendicitis, may cause only mild pain, or no pain at all. The important thing to know about abdominal pain is when you need immediate medical care. Less serious causes of abdominal pain include constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, and a stomach virus. Other, more serious, causes include appendicitis, an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a bowel blockage, cancer, and gastroesophageal reflux. Sometimes, you may have abdominal pain from a problem that isn’t in your belly, like a heart attack, menstrual cramps, or pneumonia. So, what do you do about abdominal pain? Well, if you have mild abdominal pain, here are some helpful tips: Try sipping water or other clear fluids. Avoid solid food for the first few hours. If you’ve been vomiting, wait 6 hours and then eat small amounts of mild foods like rice, applesauce, or crackers. If your pain is high in your abdomen and occurs after meals, antacids may help, especially if you are feeling heartburn or indigestion. You should seek medical attention if you have abdominal pain and are being treated for cancer, you can’t pass any stool, you’re vomiting blood, or you have chest, neck, or shoulder pain. Call your doctor if you have abdominal pain that lasts 1 week or longer, if your pain doesn’t improve in 24 - 48 hours, if bloating lasts more than 2 days, or if you have diarrhea for more than 5 days.

Considerations

Causes

Home Care

When to Contact a Medical Professional

What to Expect at Your Office Visit