Abdomen is an area between the thorax (chest) and pelvis. This region is also termed as the abdominal cavity. Abdominal pain is felt around the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas. There are some specific causes of pain in the abdomen such as UTIs, food allergies, gastritis, viral infection, indigestion, etc.
What is abdominal pain? Any discomfort which a person feels anywhere between the lower portions of the chest to the distal groin or the pelvis is supposed to be abdominal pain. Pain in the diaphragm, pelvis (and genitals) and the retroperitoneal space can also be associated with abdominal pain. Abdominal pain occurs all of a sudden and may require immediate medical assistance.
In most cases, the abdominal pain is bearable. The pain may occur due to indigestion or muscle strain but it can also be a sign of a serious illness.
Causes of abdominal pain Common causes which might initiate pain in abdominal portion:
Viral gastroenteritis Viral gastroenteritis is also known as the stomach flu. Stomach flu leads to inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It can be caused by many different viruses, such as rotavirus, adenovirus, norovirus, etc
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) Premenstrual syndrome leads to various emotional and physical symptoms. Menstrual pain causes discomfort and inflammation or swelling in the abdomen. PMS leads to bloating, cramps, constipation, etc. Women with endometriosis also go through severe or chronic inflammation and pain in the abdomen.
Food poisoning or indigestion Dyspepsia or indigestion causes problems in the digestive system. Food poisoning can be one cause of indigestion. Vomiting, bloating, gases, etc during indigestion also leads to abdominal pain.
In cases of food poisoning, harmful organisms can produce toxins that cause irritation in the lining of stomach and intestines. This can also result in pain. But the actual symptoms of food poisoning can vary. The exact symptoms and their severity will depend on the kind of bacteria or virus or parasite that’s responsible for the infection and for how much time it is in your system, and how well your immune system is fighting it with. In most cases, food poisoning pain will be associated with nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. Cramps and pain or discomfort in the stomach and gut, diarrhea, and vomiting can start as early as 1 hour after eating the food and as late as 10 days after the food with bacteria is taken.
Stomach or peptic ulcers Ulcers are wounds which lead to persistent abdominal pain. Bacteria H. pylori is the most common cause of ulcers. In some cases, overuse or continued use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) also leads to ulcers in the stomach.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) A very common sign of irritable bowel syndrome is abdominal pain. IBS also leads to constipation and diarrhea. Women may feel symptoms of IBS during menstruation which may lead to cramping. The cause of irritable bowel syndrome isn't fully understood. A diagnosis is often done based on the symptoms. It is a common, long-term condition of the digestive system, which can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea.
Some Other Causes Urinary tract infection, acid reflux, appendicitis, fibroids, H. pylori Infection, crohn's disease, Celiac disease, hepatitis, etc are some common causes which cause pain in the abdomen.
There are some severe conditions such as appendicitis, hepatitis, toxic megacolon, peritonitis, food poisoning, etc. which need emergency medical assistance if the pain in abdomen is excruciating.
Mohd Salman, is a medical science professional and is associated with DiseaseFix as a content guide and researcher. DiseaseFix develops health information modules for patients and provides a unique platform to allow access of reliable information of a variety of types for diseases.