Abdominal pain takes a variety of forms, ranging from a mild ache to severe pain requiring emergency admission to hospital. Pain may is often described as colic, a spasm of discomfort which resolves on its own only to return in a cyclical manner. This is usually caused by a blockage and may result from a gallstone, kidney stone, early appendicitis or even a blockage of the bowel.
The site of the pain may give an indication as to its cause. Pains above the pubic bone may be arise from the uterus, ovaries or bladder. Pain located to the left side of the abdomen often results from diverticulitis and pain in the upper abdomen may result from inflammation of the pancreas, stomach or duodenal ulcers or gallstones.
Pain is often associated with other symptoms such as fever, which may indicate an infection or vomiting which may just be as a result of the pain or may be due to a bowel obstruction. Pain associated with diarrhoea may be caused by a number of conditions; most commonly this is due an infection such as gastroenteritis.
Pain is often said to “radiate” which means that it seems to travel from one part of the abdomen to another. An inflamed pancreas or aortic aneurysm may give ride to pain going through to the back. Gallstone pain is often felt in the right shoulder and kidney pain may seem move from the flank down to the groin. All of these associated symptoms can help to identify the underlying cause.
In many cases the cause of the abdominal pain can not be identified and a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may be made, however if you experience abdominal pain it is important to be seen by a specialist to ensure that the correct diagnosis is made quickly and appropriate treatment is started as soon as possible.