Abdominal Pain

What is abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain is discomfort or pain that occurs in your abdomen. Abdominal pain is also known as tummy, stomach, gut, or belly pain. Abdominal pain is experienced by everyone occasionally.

What causes abdominal pain?
The cause of abdominal pain is not always easy to diagnose. Sometimes the cause of abdominal pain is specific to a certain area of the abdomen such as the upper or lower portion, or the left or right portion of the abdomen. Pain originating in other parts of the body can also cause abdominal pain (this is called referred pain).

How is abdominal pain diagnosed?
Your doctor will complete a physical examination with emphasis on the abdominal, rectal, pelvic and genitourinary regions and review your medical history. Your doctor may also order tests such as lab tests, X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, ultrasound, or MRI.

How is abdominal pain treated?
The treatment for abdominal pain will depend on the cause of the abdominal pain, which can be quite varied. Keeping track of the location of the pain, what makes it better or worse, symptoms associated with pain (such as more pain with meals and with bowel movements) may be helpful in your diagnosis.

When to seek medical advice:
Seek emergency medical care or call 911 if you experience trauma such as an accident of injury or have pressure or pain in your chest. Seek medical attention immediately if you have pain that is severe or is accompanied by bloody stools, nausea, yellowing skin, swelling of the abdomen, or if your abdomen is tender to the touch.