Abdominal Pain - Diagnosis

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How was your case of abdominal pain diagnosed?

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What are the methods used to diagnose abdominal pain?

The key to diagnosing abdominal pain is to identify the underlying cause of the pain. To reiterate, the patient's history and physical exam will help to narrow the choices and further tests to get a preliminary or even final diagsis.

Blood tests to look for signs of infection, liver, and renal problems are usually ordered.

Depending on the possible causes, other tests such as a chest and/or abdominal X-ray(s), EKG, D-dimer, or pregnancy test may be ordered. Often, a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis also is ordered or a sonogram is ordered. Although these tests often identify the cause, sometimes they do not.

Other studies, usually done by appointment and often in consultation with a specialist, may include an MRI, barium X-rays (upper and lower), various types of endoscopic procedures and biopsy of tissues. Infrequently, a surgeon may need to examine the abdominal cavity with a laparoscope or open the abdomen surgically.

Return to Abdominal Pain (Causes, Remedies, Treatment)

See what others are saying

Comment from: informed patient, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 22

Pain started right away after a colonoscopy 6 years ago, when a biopsy and polyp snare was taken. I had increasing abdominal pain with lower left lump sticking out but usually reducible. Many physicians either ignored pain symptoms, if the lump didn"t show up (It hides internally, but much less so now after all the years of pain), or offered exploratory surgery, or nothing. Visits to emergency room proved futile, by the time I got there, and a doctor finally came to see me, either intravenous pain killers or time had reduced symptoms. Yes, very frustrating. Even now after years of trying to find answers it feels more like an obstruction in my bowel, which presses on and affects my urinary tract. The pain is excruciating and difficult for me to tolerate to the point that I have to do something, but need it to be safe, the right choice; and most important, a good surgeon.

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Comment from: keytolife, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

I had pain in my left side. X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans didn't reveal anything. Finally, I went to a gastroenterologist, who listened to me and didn't say it was a psychiatric issue. He did a colonoscopy, which came back normal. I was adamant about my pain, so he decided to look into my ileum, where he found cancer. He said this changed the way he does colonoscopies, especially if a patient has other symptoms like pain and fatigue. Since then he has found others who had cancer in ileum.

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