What is abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain, belly ache or abdominal cramps are more or less strong episodes of pain that occur in the abdomen.
Causes of abdominal ache
The causes that can produce abdominal ache are varied. Among the most common and least important are the following:
Eating too much is one of the causes of abdominal pain (Drawing by courtesy of dibujosparapintar.com)
A) ” Mild” problems affecting the digestion of food
B) “More serious” problems affecting the digestion of food
C) Problems affecting the lack of blood flow or blocking certain parts of the abdomen
– Intestinal obstruction
– Injuries to the abdominal aorta (abdominal aortic dissection)
– Lack of blood supply to the abdomen
D) Problems of inflammations or diseases of certain parts or organs of the abdomen
– Inflammation of the appendix (appendicitis)
– Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis)
– Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
– Inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a virus (gastroenteritis)
D) Cancers in certain parts or organs of the abdomen
– Stomach cancer
E) Problems in other areas with the pain radiates to the abdomen
– Menstrual pain
– Pulled muscles in the abdominal wall
Abdominal pain symptoms
Intestinal cramps have in common the presence of pain that is located in the abdomen.
However, the intensity, the duration and the area covered may be very diverse. Pain intensity has nothing to do with the origin of pain. (The presence of gases, for example, may be more painful than colon cancer).
The location of abdominal often defines its causes. For example, a pain that affects more than half of the abdomen is often a gas or indigestion signal, usually resolved through issuance of flatulence or loose stools.
When a sharp pain affects much of the abdominal area may indicate the presence of an intestinal blockage. If pain affects a single point, usually indicates that an organ is affected, like the appendix or liver.
A sharp pain that goes away and comes back is often a signal of the the presence of kidney stones or gallstones.
Diagnosis and treatment of abdominal pain
Only medical diagnosis can determine the nature of abdominal pain. The doctor must rule out the fact that recurrent abdominal pain, sharp, persistent or severe sin some cases, is not responding to more serious than simple indigestion.
Medical diagnosis for this type of pain is based on a physical examination and a personal interview in which the doctor will consider a number of symptoms, their location and how that occurs for diagnosing the causes of this pain.
In addition, the doctor may need a series of tests to reassert the diagnosis (X-rays or ultrasound of the abdomen, blood, urine or feces tests, etc)
You need to see a doctor if any of these circumstances takes place:
– When the pain is severe
– When abdominal pain intensity is maintained equal for two or three days.
– When the pain gets worse
– If abdominal pain reappears after about 30 days.
– If you are pregnant
– If you have cancer
– If there is a weight loss for no apparent reason.
– If you have lost your appetite
– If, along with abdominal pain, other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, menstruation problems, trouble breathing, chest pain, pain in the neck or shoulders, burning during urination, frequent urination, severe diarrhea or inability to evacuate or malaise
– If blood appears in the stool or vomit.