Abdominal pain is experienced between the chest and the pelvic region. This pain can range in severity and type and is often described as being dull, sharp, or achy. Abdominal pain may be intermittent or steady.
What Causes Abdominal Pain?
There are numerous conditions that can lead to abdominal pain. Some of the more common causes of abdominal pain include:
- Intestinal disorders
- Abnormal growths
Abdominal pain may be the result of an infection in another part of the body. For example, a person suffering from a throat infection may have blood and bacteria from the infection in their abdomen, leading to abdominal pain. Intestinal infections may produce a similar result. In addition to pain, these conditions may bring about changes in indigestion, including constipation or diarrhea.
The stomach flu, stress, acid reflux, and vomiting are other common causes of abdominal pain. There are diseases that attack the digestive system and lead to chronic abdominal pain, including:
- IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Lactose intolerance
- Crohn’s disease
A person may experience severe, intense abdominal pain if they have gallbladder stones, a kidney infection, kidney stones, a burst appendix, or another condition affecting organs inside the abdominal cavity.
Understanding the Different Types of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is described as colicky, localized, or cramp-like.
When a person is experiencing localized pain, the pain is only in one part of the abdomen. In these cases, pain is usually caused by an issue with a particular organ located in that part of the abdomen. One of the more common sources of localized abdominal pain is stomach ulcers. A stomach ulcer is where a sore appears in the inner lining of the stomach.
Colicky pain is described as a sharp pain. It may be a localized pain. Colicky pain comes on suddenly and then disappears. It may feel like the pain is happening in spasms or in waves. Colicky abdominal pain can happen repeatedly and sporadically over the course of weeks, months, or years. It is more commonly seen in the hollow organs of the abdomen. These would include the rectum, the gallbladder, and the small and large intestines.
Cramp-like pain is often temporary and usually does not reflect a serious long-term health condition. Cramp-like pain is associated with menstruation, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence. This pain comes and goes on its own and in most cases will subside without requiring additional treatment.
The location of the abdominal pain may give an indication of the source of the pain.
- Pain located in the center of the abdomen may be an indication of appendicitis, gastroenteritis, or an injury.
- Pain located on the lower left of the abdomen may indicate appendicitis, kidney infection, Crohn’s disease, an ovarian cyst, or cancer.
- Pain in the upper left of the abdomen could be an indication of fecal impaction, cancer, injury, heart attack, or an enlarged spleen.
- Pain in the lower right of the abdomen may indicate a kidney infection, flu, appendicitis, a hernia, or cancer.
- Pain in the upper right abdominal region may indicate appendicitis, pneumonia, hepatitis, or injury.
In most cases, mild abdominal pain will subside on its own. However, severe abdominal pain, abdominal pain that results from trauma, and abdominal pain accompanied by pressure in your chest, fever, vomiting, or bleeding may require a trip to the doctor.