What is abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain is pain that you feel anywhere between your chest and groin. This is often referred to as the stomach region or belly.
The abdomen holds major organs such as the stomach, large and small bowel, appendix, gall bladder, spleen, kidneys and pancreas. The body’s largest artery and largest vein also sit in the abdomen.
Abdominal pain can be very serious, but most abdominal pain is caused by a minor upset or stomach ‘bug’ and doesn’t last long. Minor abdominal pain is very common and people may experience stomach aches or cramps every few months or so. You can usually treat abdominal pain yourself and it will go away in a few days.
When should I see my doctor?
Sometimes, abdominal pain can signal something serious. You should see your doctor immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency department if you have the following:
- pain that is severe and is getting worse
- pain that spreads to your chest, neck or shoulders
- pain that lasts for several hours or longer
- pain and vaginal bleeding and you are pregnant
- pain in the scrotum
- pain and vomiting or shortness of breath
- pain and vomiting blood
- blood in bowel motions or urine
- you can’t pass urine, don`t have any bowel motion
are experiencing vomiting that won’t go awa
How is the cause of abdominal pain diagnosed?
If you are experiencing abdominal pain, you will need a physical examination and possibly some tests to help your doctor diagnose the cause of the pain. The examination or tests you have will depend on what sort of pain you are experiencing, how long you have had it, and your gender. If you are female, the physical examination may include a pelvic exam and pregnancy test. If you are a male, the examination may include checking your penis and scrotum.
The most common tests include:
- blood tests
- urine tests
- stool sample
- x-rays or CT scans
- endoscopy or colonoscopy
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