Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is the pain that is felt by the abdomen. Organs of the abdomen include the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Anatomically the abdomen is surrounded by the lower margin of the ribs and diaphragm above and the pelvic bone (pubic ramus) below. On each side it is bound by flanks.

Types of Abdominal Pain


Abdominal pains include the following two categories:

  • Referral Pain
  • Functional Pain


Referral Pain

The abdominal pain is generated normally from any of the organ of the abdomen. Some times the “abdominal pain” may also arise from surrounding organs. The following are some of the organs the malfunction of which leads to abdominal pain:

  • lower lungs
  • kidneys
  • Uterus
  • Ovaries

Some times the pain related to the parts of the abdomen area is felt outside the abdomen. For example, the pain of pancreatic inflammation may actually be felt in the back.


Major Causes of Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is caused by the inflammation of the organs of the abdomen:

  • Appendicitis
  • Abnormally sensitive nerves within the intestine which results in inappropriate pain sensations
  • Diverticulitis
  • Colitis


Reasons for Inflammation of the Abdomen

The inflammation is caused mainly due to following reasons:

  • Stretching or distension of an organ
  • Obstruction of the intestine
  • Blockage of a bile duct by gall stones
  • Swelling of the liver with hepatitis
  • Loss of the supply of blood to an organ ( example ischemic cholitis)

Some times abdominal pain may also result without any known cause.


Abdominal Pain Due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowl syndrome is the classical example for the disease condition where in the abdominal pain is not due to known reasons such as inflammation, distension or loss of blood supply. It is widely believed to occur due to the following factors:

  • Spasm (contractions) of abdominal muscles
  • Abnormally sensitive nerves within the intestine which results in inappropriate pain sensations

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