What is abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain has many causes. It may be related to the irritations of the abdominal tissues or organs. Or more serious, it may be caused by the injury or lesions to the organs, including inflammation, tumor, bleeding, obstruction, perforation, trauma, and functional disorders.

The main organs located in the abdomen are:





-Small intestine

-Large intestine

Abdominal pain is a kind of subjective sensation. Studies have shown that neurological and psychological factors can influence the nature and intensity of abdominal pain. Different patients will react differently to the same painful stimuli; the same patient will exhibit different symptoms at different times.

1 Symptom of abdominal pain

-Colicky pain, as if the organs are twisted together, mostly caused by spasms and stones.

-Distending pain, a feeling of bloating with a lot of air in the stomach or intestines.


-A vague pain that can be tolerated, a slight pain.

-Burning pain, like a fire burning in stomach, often caused by the excess of stomach acid.

-Dullness and pain, like discomfort from an adroppingvy object pressing down or something drop in the stomach.

These symptoms are dangerous signs, you should call 911 or seek medical attention immediately if you have.

-Prolonged and severe pain




-Signs of dehydration, including infrequent urination, dark urine, and thirst

-Inability to defecate

-Blood in the stool or blood in the urine


2 Causes of abdominal pain

Abdominal pain may have many causes. It may be related to the digestive system, or it may come from the muscles or skin of the abdominal wall. if you’re a woman, you might have menstrual cramps. There are some surprising causes including heart attacks and pneumonia, pelvic or groin conditions, shingles, and muscle strain of the stomach.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the most common causes of abdominal pain may be digestive or inflammatory.

Digestive problems:


-Gas and distension.



-Food allergies and intolerances.

-Food poisoning.


-Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)

-Peptic ulcer disease.

-Chronic acid reflux (GERD).

-Urinary tract infection (UTI).

According to Mount Sinai, causes of less severe abdominal pain include:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

-Food allergies or intolerances. (such as lactose intolerance)

-Food poisoning

-Acute gastroenteritis

According to Healthline, causes of severe abdominal pain include.

-Organ rupture or near rupture. (such as appendiceal rupture or appendicitis)

-Gallbladder stones (called gallstones)

-Kidney Stones

-Kidney infection

Females should consider these causes:


-Ovarian cysts



-Pelvic inflammatory disease

-Ectopic pregnancy

Males should pay attention to these causes:

-Ureteral stones



3 How to diagnose

There are a variety of causes of abdominal pain, your doctor needs to make a diagnosis based on your symptom history, physical examination, and testing (if needed). Your doctor will ask some questions about your pain to determine whether hospitalization or surgery is necessary. Your doctor will observe your reaction to make sure your abdominal pain symptoms are influenced by psychological factors or others.

Questions from physicians may involve:

– Where do you feel the pain? Is it all over or in one spot?

– Are you pregnant? (If you are a female)

– When did you feel the pain? 

– Is the pain severe, sharp, or cramping?

– Do you have it all the time, or does it come and go?

– Does the pain move into your back? Or down your legs?

– What makes the pain worse?

– Have you had similar pain in the past?

– Were you injured recently?

– What other symptoms do you have?

After your exam is complete and your doctor has asked you questions, you may need tests to help find the cause of your pain. These tests may include:

-Blood test

-Urine or fecal examination

-Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

-X-Ray of the abdomen


-CT scan

-Barium meal or enema

-Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy

4 Treatment and drug selection

The treatment of abdominal pain depends on its cause. According to the Cleveland clinic, the best treatment options may involve self-care measures, medications, including oral and injectable medications, and surgery.

Self-care measures.

If you are very clear that your stomach pain is digestion-related or if you have only mild abdominal pain and no other symptoms, you can start with:

-Intestinal rest. Stop eating any indigestible thing. Take some digestible foods, such as crackers, and bananas.

-Rehydrate. Drink plenty of water or hydration formula.

-Avoid dairy products, citrus fruits, fatty foods, tomato products, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.

-Heat therapy. Try using a warm water bottle or soaking in a bathtub.

If your symptoms continue to worsen, prompt medical attention is required.


If your pain couldn’t heal on its own, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce inflammation or relieve pain.

Note: Please don’t take any medication for abdominal pain without consulting your healthcare provider. It will mask the condition and lead to misdiagnosis if you take medicine without permission.

Surgical treatment.

In rare cases, surgery may be required to effectively treat your abdominal pain, such as:

-Hernia repair surgery


-Other internal surgery

5 Prevention of Abdominal Pain

The abdominal pain can be prevented by certain measures.

– Eat regularly and slowly. Abdominal pain is mostly related to eating disorders. You should develop good eating habits, such as wash hands before meals, chewing, and swallowing slowly.

-Keep healthy exercise. You’d better maintain 2-3 healthy exercises per week. Notes: Do not exercise on an empty stomach, and avoid strenuous activities early after meals.

-Maintain a healthy mind. Pay attention to relieving stress from work and life, and maintain a good state of mind.

-Preventive medication. Avoid taking drugs that are harmful to the gastric mucosa. If they must be taken, they should be taken after meals to reduce adverse reactions in the stomach.