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Abdominal Pain in Adults

Abdominal Pain in Adults Quick Overview

  • Abdominal pain is the feeling of pain in a person's stomach, upper or lower abdomen, and can range in intensity from a mild stomach ache to severe acute pain.
  • Causes of symptoms of abdominal pain vary and may include gallbladder disease, ulcers of the stomach, food poisoning, diverticulitis, appendicitis, cancers, female diseases or problems (for example, fibroids, cysts, STDs), and vascular problems.
  • Some women experience abdominal pain during pregnancy.
  • Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic and include sharp pain as well as dull pain.
  • The location of the abdominal pain may be in the upper right or left side (quadrant), lower right or left side, and upper, middle, and lower.
  • The cause of abdominal pain is diagnosed by a combination of history (questions the doctor asks you about your problem), physical examination (examination by a doctor), and testing (for example, X-rays and blood tests).
  • Treatment for abdominal pain depends upon the cause and may include anything from observation, medications and procedures that include endoscopy, and surgery.
  • The prognosis for abdominal pain depends on the cause and the promptness of medical care and diagnosis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2015
Medical Editor:

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Abdominal Pain (Adults):

Abdominal Pain - Medical Treatment

Please describe the cause and treatment of your abdominal pain.

Abdominal Pain - Self-Care

What self-care did you use on your abdominal pain?

Abdominal Pain - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your abdominal pain?

Abdominal Pain - Causes

What caused your abdominal pain?

Abdominal Pain - Physical Examination

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Abdominal Pain - Diagnosis

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Abdominal Pain Causes and Location (Right, Left, Lower, Upper)

Abdominal pain is caused by

  • inflammation (appendicitis, diverticulitis, colitis),
  • by stretching or distention of an organ (for example, gallstones, hepatitis), or
  • by loss of the supply of blood to an organ (for example, ischemic colitis).

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Abdominal Angina »

Although Schnitzler first described the clinical picture of postprandial clinical pain in 1901, the syndrome of postprandial abdominal angina generally is attributed to Baccelli or Goodman (1918).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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