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There are numerous causes of abdominal pain, some more serious than others. What appears to be a stomachache could be originating from another organ in the abdomen or from outside the digestive system. If you are experiencing abdominal pain that is unexplained, persistent, or severe, you should always seek medical attention.

 

What is Abdominal Pain?

Abdominal pain is discomfort anywhere between the ribs and the pelvis in the belly region. We commonly refer to abdominal pain as "stomach pain" or a "stomachache," but abdominal pain can also originate from other organs.

Your abdomen contains your:

  • Stomach

  • Liver

  • Gallbladder

  • Pancreas

  • Small intestine

  • Large intestine

These are all digestive system organs, but abdominal wall pain (skin, muscles) is also a potential source of discomfort. And occasionally, the pain you feel in your abdomen may originate elsewhere, such as your chest, pelvis, or back.

Abdominal pain can take various forms and have various causes.

It may feel:

  • Mild or severe

  • Dull or acute

  • Itching or stinging

  • Colicky or crampy

  • Constant or irregular

     

What Four Types of Abdominal Pains are There?

Since your abdomen is home to numerous organs, your healthcare provider may want to narrow down the type of pain you're experiencing by focusing on a specific area. Typically, healthcare professionals divide the abdomen into 4 sections or quadrants. They may inquire whether your pain is in the:

  • Right upper quadrant

  • Left upper quadrant

  • Lower right quadrant

  • Left lower quadrant

 

1. Right Upper Quadrant

The liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts are found in the upper right abdomen. Your right kidney is located behind. Additionally, the initial portions of your small and large intestines pass through.

Pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen is most likely due to liver disease or gallbladder disease, such as:

  • Hepatitis (alcoholic, toxic, metabolic, viral or autoimmune)

  • Gallstones

  • Cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation)

  • Cancer of the bile duct, stones, and structures

  • Gallbladder cancer

  • Liver malignancy

 

2. Left Upper Quadrant

The stomach, pancreas, and spleen reside in the upper left abdomen. Your left kidney is located in the back of your abdominal cavity, directly above your heart and left lung.

Upper left abdominal discomfort may indicate:

  • Pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas) (inflamed pancreas)

  • Cancer of the pancreas

  • Splenomegaly (enlarged spleen) (enlarged spleen)

  • Gastritis

  • Stomach ulcer

  • Bile reflux

  • Gastric cancer

  • Renal infection

  • Kidney calculus

If your chest pain is referred, it could be caused by:

  • Heartburn

  • Angina

  • Noncardiac chest discomfort

  • Cardiac attack

  • Pericarditis

  • Pneumonia

  • Pleurisy

  • Pneumonic embolism

 

3. Lower Left Quadrant

The majority of your small intestine and large intestine reside in your lower abdomen. This discomfort is most likely caused by digestive disorders. It may also involve the ureters, ovaries, or uterus.

Pain in the lower left abdomen is most frequently caused by diverticulosis and diverticulitis of the colon. Diverticula (small outpouchings in the bowel wall) can develop anywhere in the colon, but typically in the lower left section.

 

4. Lower Right Quadrant

Pain in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen may be caused by the appendix. It could be inflammation (appendicitis) or, less frequently, cancer of the appendix.

 

Causes of Abdominal pain:

There are numerous conditions that can result in abdominal pain. However, infection, abnormal growths, inflammation, blockage, and intestinal disturbances are the most common causes.

Infections of the throat, intestines, and blood can lead to the entry of bacteria into the digestive system, resulting in abdominal pain. These infections can also cause metabolic changes, such as diarrhoea or constipation.

Menstrual cramps can also cause lower abdominal pain, but they are more commonly associated with pelvic discomfort.

Other frequent causes of abdominal discomfort include:

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhoea

  • Gastroenteritis 

  • Acid reflux

  • Vomiting

  • Stress

Also causing chronic abdominal pain are diseases that affect the digestive system. The most prevalent are:

  • Gastrointestinal reflux illness (GERD)

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Colon Spasms

  • Crohn's illness

  • Lactose intolerance

     

Tips to Avoid Abdominal Discomfort:

The majority of cases of abdominal pain resolve without treatment. Follow your doctor's instructions, but there are some things you can do to alleviate pain, including:

  • Place a heated water bottle or wheat bag on the abdomen.

  • Indulge in a warm bath. Be careful not to burn yourself.

  • Plenty of clear fluids, such as water, should be consumed.

  • Reduce your consumption of coffee, tea, and alcohol, as they can exacerbate pain.

  • When you are permitted to eat again, begin with clear liquids and progress to bland foods like crackers, rice, bananas, and toast. Your physician may recommend that you avoid certain foods.

  • Additionally, abdominal binders can be worn to alleviate abdominal pain. Abdominal belts are extraordinarily effective for regaining fitness after pregnancy. They provide abdominal, pelvic, hip, and lower back regions with the ideal amount of compression, stability, and support.

     

Conclusion

There are so many causes of abdominal pain that it is inevitable that we will all experience it on occasion. Common causes, such as gas and indigestion, pregnancy, menstrual cramps, food poisoning, and the flu, are readily identifiable. Other causes could be more baffling. And occasionally stomach pain is an indication of an undiagnosed or serious condition.

Your healthcare provider will always be interested in your abdominal pain, particularly if the cause is unknown. Common causes are frequently treatable, and a proper diagnosis can help you find relief. Even if your stomach pain is mild, you should see a doctor if it persists, worsens, or returns if it does not go away.

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