What Causes Abdominal Pain?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

My sister had the following experience recently. She studied hard at night, then she felt headache and nausea in the morning, with intermittent abdominal pain in the periumbilical area. What could be the cause of her symptoms?

Doctor's response

Abdominal pain can have numerous possible causes. Some examples include severe constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease (with intestinal inflammation, ulceration and obstruction), diverticular disease, bowel cancer, parasites, intestinal infections, food intolerance (such as lactose intolerance), peptic ulcers, gallstone disease, and many others.

The only way to determine what is causing your sister's problem is through a physician, who will talk with your sister, examine her, and then perform the appropriate tests. Only when the cause of the problem has been determined can appropriate treatment be given. If necessary your sister should see a gastroenterologist to begin the evaluation.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018