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 medications can be used to treat certain causes of abdominal pain?

Medications that are used to treat the underlying cause(s) of abdominal pain are the medications of choice. For example, medications are not needed to treat simple viral gastroenteritis, while surgery and/or chemotherapy may be the best approach to treat certain cancers in the abdomen. Other causes may require antispasmodics, antimicrobials, H2 blockers, or even nitrates or morphine. The diagnosed cause usually narrows the choice of medications. A few causes can only be treated by surgery (for example appendicitis, hernia [incarcerated], and certain abdominal injuries), although some medications may be used (for example, morphine) while the person is awaiting surgery.

What lifestyle choices can I make to prevent abdominal pain?

Lifestyle changes really depend on the cause of the abdominal pain.

  • Eat a good diet, exercise, and avoid smoking and excess alcohol consumption to reduce the chances that you will experience certain causes of abdominal pain.
  • Good hygiene, especially hand washing and avoiding materials and foods contaminated with viruses and bacteria will reduce your chances of developing illness and abdominal pain from many infectious causes.
  • For other specific suggestions, the reader should determine what is suggested to prevent or reduce the chance of getting one of the many specific causes of abdominal pain presented in this article.

When should I call my doctor about abdominal pain?

Some doctors suggest that if you have a "less serious" cause of abdominal pain (see above section on topic), especially if it is likely food poisoning (viral or bacterial) and you have had discomfort but are not dehydrated, you will likely not need medical care as the symptoms should resolve in about 24 to 48 hours. If you have a chronic problem that occasionally causes abdominal pain, most doctors suggest you contact the person treating you for the ailment for an appointment or prescription (refill). However, if you have any of the problems or symptoms listed in the "serious abdominal pain "section above, you should seek immediate medical care.

Reviewed on 5/1/2015
References
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.

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