Abdominal Pain (Causes, Remedies, Treatment)

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Author: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Quick GuideWhat's Causing Your Abdominal Pain?

What's Causing Your Abdominal Pain?

What is abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain is pain that is felt in the abdomen. The abdomen is an anatomical area that is bounded by the lower margin of the ribs and diaphragm above, the pelvic bone (pubic ramus) below, and the flanks on each side. Although abdominal pain can arise from the tissues of the abdominal wall that surround the abdominal cavity (such as the skin and abdominal wall muscles), the term abdominal pain generally is used to describe pain originating from organs within the abdominal cavity. Organs of the abdomen include the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas.

Technically, the lowermost portion of the area described previously, is the pelvis, which contains the urinary bladder and rectum, as well as the prostate gland in men, and the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries in women. Often, it can be difficult to know if lower abdominal pain is coming from the lower abdomen or pelvis.

Occasionally, pain may be felt in the abdomen even though it is arising from organs that are close to, but not within, the abdominal cavity. For example, conditions of the lower lungs, the kidneys, and the uterus or ovaries can cause abdominal pain. On the other hand, it also is possible for pain from organs within the abdomen to be felt outside of the abdomen. For example, the pain of pancreatic inflammation may be felt in the back. These latter types of pain are called "referred" pain because the pain does not originate in the location that it is felt. Rather, the cause of the pain is located away from where it is felt (i.e., it is referred to a different area). Continue Reading

Picture of the organs and glands in the abdomen

Reviewed on 5/1/2015
References
Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCES:

Fauci, Anthony S. et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Time.com. Why Belly Pain Is Such a Headache for ER Doctors.

UpToDate.com. Differential diagnosis of abdominal pain in adults.

IMAGES:

1. iStock

2. iStock

3. iStock/MedicineNet

4. iStock

5. iStock

6. iStock

7. iStock/MedicineNet

8. iStock

9. iStock

10. iStock

11. iStock

12. Getty Images

13. Getty Images

14. iStock

15. iStock

16. Getty Images

17. iStock

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Abdominal Pain - Experience

    Please describe your experience with abdominal pain.

    Post View 43 Comments
  • Abdominal Pain - Cause

    What was the cause(s) of your case of abdominal pain?

    Post View 37 Comments
  • Abdominal Pain - Diagnosis

    How was your case of abdominal pain diagnosed?

    Post View 9 Comments
  • Abdominal Pain - Medications

    What medications were prescribed for your case of abdominal pain?

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Abdominal Pain - Symptoms

    What symptoms were associated with your case of abdominal pain?

    Post View 7 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors