Condition. Abdominal pain

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Many different names can describe abdominal pain:

  • Bellyache
  • Tummy ache
  • Stomach ache
  • Gut ache

Just about everyone has experienced abdominal pain, and it can range from mild to very severe. It can be a symptom of many conditions, and some of these are serious. The treatment of stomach pain depends on the underlying cause.

Causes of lower abdominal pain

Some conditions usually cause abdominal pain that locates in the lower part of the belly, toward the pelvic region. These conditions include:

  • Appendicitis: Inflammation of the appendix
  • Bladder irritation or infection also called cystitis
  • Diverticulitis: This condition is characterized by the formation of small pouches in the intestinal wall, usually in the large intestine. These pouches become inflamed and cause lower abdominal pain
  • Inflammation or infection of the cervix uteri or abnormal growths on the cervix uteri (in women)
  • Endometriosis: This is a disorder that causes abdominal pain due to the growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus (in women)
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Pain with ovulation: also called mittelschmerz (in women)
  • Ovarian cysts (in women)
  • Inflammation of the fallopian tubes: also called salpingitis (in women)

Causes of upper abdominal pain

The causes of upper abdominal pain may be the following:

  • Gallbladder inflammation: Also called cholecystitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux: Also called GERD
  • Myocardial infarction: Also called a heart attack
  • Inflammation of the liver or hepatitis
  • Obstruction of the intestines
  • Decreased blood flow to the intestines: Also called mesenteric ischemia
  • Inflammation of part of the small intestine: Also called duodenitis
  • Angina: A reduced flow of blood to the heart
  • Appendicitis: Inflammation of the appendix
  • Stomach ulcer: Also called peptic ulcer
  • Inflammation of the pancreas: Pancreatitis
  • Inflammation of the lining around the lungs: Also called pleurisy
  • Inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart: Also called pericarditis
  • Collapsed lung: Also called pneumothorax
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm: An enlargement of the large blood vessel of the heart
  • Pneumonia: An infection of the lungs
  • Inflammation of the bile ducts (also known as cholangitis)
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A type of cancer that begins in the lymph system of the body

Causes of mid-abdominal pain

When stomach pain locates in the middle of the abdomen, the following reasons may be suspected:

  • Inflammation of the pancreas: Pancreatitis
  • Inflammation of the appendix: Appendicitis
  • Bowel obstruction
  • A blood clot in one of the veins that carry blood from the intestines back to the heart
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis: Elevated levels of ketones in the blood
  • A buildup of waste products in the blood which is usually due to kidney failure

Causes of lower left abdominal pain

Lower abdominal pain located in the left portion of the belly may be caused by:

  • Problems with the female reproductive system, such as:
    • Problems with the cervix
    • Endometriosis
    • Pain with ovulation
    • Ovarian cysts
    • Problems with the fallopian tube
  • Crohn’s disease: an inflammatory disease of the intestines
  • Cancer
  • Inflammation of the appendix: Appendicitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Kidney stones or kidney infection
  • Inguinal hernia
  • Inflammation of the seminal vesicles (in men)
  • Ulcerative colitis: an inflammatory disease of the intestines

Causes of right lower abdominal pain

Lower abdominal pain located in the right bottom part of the stomach may be caused by:

  • Cancer
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder: Cholecystitis
  • Appendicitis: Inflammation of the appendix
  • Diverticulitis
  • Problems with the female reproductive organs, such as:
    • Problems with the cervix
    • Endometriosis
    • Pain with ovulation: Mittelschmerz
    • Ovarian cysts
    • Inflammation of the fallopian tubes: Salpingitis
  • Inflammation of the seminal vesicles (in men)
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Inguinal hernia
  • Kidney stones or kidney infection
  • Viral infections

Abdominal pain symptoms

It is essential to seek medical help when you notice the symptoms of abdominal pain. Call 911 or get emergency medical care if you have a severe stomachache or if it is associated with:

  • An injury or accident
  • Pain or pressure in your chest area

Also, get medical care right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of abdominal pain:

  • The pain in your abdomen or belly is so extreme you can’t move
  • Your pain is so severe you can’t sit still
  • Your abdominal pain is accompanied by:
    • Blood in your stools
    • Uncontrolled vomiting
    • Persistent, bloody, or dark-colored vomiting
    • Severe pain when your belly is touched
    • Swelling of your abdomen
    • Yellowish color of your skin
    • A high fever

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