Abdominal pain is broadly categorized as pain in the abdominal area – this includes the area beginning at the bottom of the rib cage and ends where the pelvic area begins. Since this area includes multiple organs – stomach, liver, pancreas, gall bladder etc., abdominal pain covers a lot of disorders.
Acute, sharp, or dull pain in a specific or broad area of the abdomen. Intensity and duration may vary depending on the underlying illness.
Abdominal pain can be caused by inflammation of an organ or membrane, distention or enlargement of an organ, or loss of blood supply to an organ in the abdominal cavity. Sometimes, there may be a functional disorder, like the irritable bowel syndrome, where the organs are simply not working as intended. Causes of abdominal pain may vary from mild issues like food poisoning to more intense issues like infection of the liver of kidneys.
Depending on the organ affected and the reason for the pain, treatments vary. Seek medical help if you have abdominal pain, but be prepared to answer questions about duration, patterns, location, and what food/home treatment is currently making the pain bearable. After an examination, a doctor will be able to recommend the best course of action – whether it be pills, observation, surgery, or other treatments.
‘Ask Gogodoc About’ is an educational series providing information on various symptoms, pains, and disorders. (*intended for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms, please reach out to book an online video consultation with a Gogodoc GP. Our NHS-registered GPs can speak to you via video call to provide expert medical advice and get you the right prescriptions and referrals.)