Abdominal Pain - Cause

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

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What are the causes of abdominal pain?

There are several causes of abdominal pain or discomfort. The following are lists of causes of abdominal pain (not all inclusive), grouped into the area of the abdomen were patients often say their pain is mainly localized:

Upper abdominal pain (right, left, both sides, center, or pelvic indicated by R, L, B, C or P)-

  • Angina (reduced blood flow to the heart) - RLBC
  • Cholangitis (bile duct inflammation) - RC
  • Cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation) - RC
  • Duodenitis (upper small intestine inflammation) - RC
  • Food Poisoning - C
  • Gallstones - R
  • GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) - C
  • Heart attack - RLBC
  • Hepatitis - RC
  • Hiatal hernia - C
  • Intestinal obstruction - RLBC
  • Injury - RLBC
  • Liver cancer - RC
  • Mesenteric ischemia (decreased blood flow to the intestines) - RLBC
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma RLBC
  • Non-ulcer stomach pain - C
  • Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation, cysts) CRLB
  • Peptic ulcer - C
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the heart's covering tissue) - C
  • Pleurisy (inflammation of the lung's membrane) - RLBC
  • Pneumonia - RLB
  • Pneumothorax (lung collapse) - RL
  • Pyloric stenosis (in infants) - RC
  • Shingles - RL
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm - LC

Readers should note that many causes of perceived abdominal pain do not come from sites in the abdomen. This is especially evident with upper abdominal pain that occurs in an organ and/or organ systems close to the upper abdomen like the lower part of lungs (pneumonia) or occasionally heart problems [angina, heart attack] especially in women).

Lower abdominal pain (right, left, both sides, center or pelvic indicated by R, L, B, C, P)

  • Appendicitis - RC
  • Cancer - RLCP
  • Crohn's Disease - LC
  • Diverticulitis - RLB
  • Ectopic pregnancy - RL
  • Endometriosis - CRLBP
  • Inguinal hernia - RLB
  • Intestinal obstruction - RLC
  • Injury - RLBCP
  • Kidney Infection - RL
  • Kidney Stones - RLBP
  • Mittelschmerz (pain- associated with ovulation) - RLCP
  • Ovarian cysts - RL
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) (infection of the female reproductive organs) - CRLP
  • Pregnancy - CP
  • Salpingitis (inflammation of the Fallopian tubes) - RL
  • Seminal vesiculitis (inflammation of the seminal vesicles) - RLBP
  • Shingles - RL
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm - LC

Unfortunately, some of the above causes are not well localized and the patients only say the pain is "'everywhere." A significant number of patients have this diffuse pain and yet may have a cause that is usually localized in other patients (for example, appendicitis, diverticulitis and others). However, there are causes that result in diffuse abdominal pain:

  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Intussusception
  • Irritable Bowel disease
  • Mesenteric ischemia
  • Mesenteric lymphadenitis
  • Peritonitis
  • Pregnancy (unknown to patient but delivering!)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Uremia

The above lists are examples of many (not all) causes of abdominal pain. The doctor makes use of the location, type, and intensity of pain to try to arrive at a diagnosis. For example, if an older patient has acute pain (a few hours) that is relatively constant, located in the left and or center of the lower abdomen with pain score of 9 out of 10, that is sharp or tearing, the doctor would likely place a thoracic aortic aneurysm high on the list of suspected causes.

Return to Abdominal Pain (Causes, Remedies, Treatment)

See what others are saying

Comment from: jjones8379, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 07

I have abdominal pains quite often. They feel like cramps, but since I"ve had a hysterectomy they have continued. I have a history on endometriosis and cysts but my obstetrician/gynecologist doesn"t think it's related. I had a colonoscopy and they didn"t find anything. The gastroenterologist seems to still think it's endometriosis but since they can"t find anything the obstetrician/gynecologist won"t operate to make sure. I"m all out of thoughts on what it can be.

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Comment from: Lisa, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 09

My diarrhea was caused by taking more than 1 powerful antibiotic at the same time. I have severe stomach pain and bloating along with a slightly elevated fever.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


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