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Abdominal Pain in Adults (cont.)

Abdominal Pain in Adults Diagnosis

Diagnosing the cause of abdominal pain is one of the hardest tasks for a health care professional. Sometimes all that the professional can do is be sure that the pain does not require surgery or admission to the hospital.

The health care professional may ask these or similar questions to try to determine what is causing the patient's pain. Some may seem unrelated to the patient's current condition, but try to answer them as completely as possible. The answers to these questions can help the health care professional find the cause of the patient's pain more quickly and easily.

  • How long have you had the pain?
  • What were you doing when it started?
  • How did you feel before the pain started?
  • Have you felt OK over the last few days?
  • What have you tried to make the pain better? Did it work?
  • What makes the pain worse?
  • Does the pain make you want to stay in one place or move around?
  • How was the ride to the hospital? Did riding in the car hurt you?
  • Is the pain worse when you cough?
  • Have you thrown up?
  • Did throwing up make the pain better or worse?
  • Have your bowel movements been normal?
  • When was your last bowel movement?
  • Are you passing gas?
  • Do you feel you might have a fever?
  • Have you had a pain like this before? When? What did you do for it?
  • Have you ever had surgery? What surgery? When?
  • Are you pregnant? Are you sexually active? Are you using birth control?
  • Have you been around anyone with symptoms like this?
  • Have you traveled out of the country recently?
  • When did you eat last? What did you eat?
  • Did you eat anything out of the ordinary?
  • Did your pain start all over your stomach and move to one place?
  • Does the pain go into your chest? Into your back? Where does it go?
  • Can you cover the pain with the palm of your hand, or is the hurting area bigger than that?
  • Does it hurt for you to breathe?
  • Do you have any medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, or AIDS?
  • Do you take steroids? Pain medicine such as aspirin or Motrin?
  • Do you take antibiotics? Over-the-counter pills, herbs, or supplements?
  • Do you drink alcohol? Coffee? Tea?
  • Do you smoke cigarettes?
  • Do you use cocaine or other drugs?
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2014

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Abdominal Pain (Adults):

Abdominal Pain - Self-Care

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

Abdominal Pain - Symptoms

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Abdominal Pain - Medical Treatment

Please describe the cause and treatment of your abdominal pain.





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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