FAQ’s on Abdominal Pain
What is Abdominal Pain?
Pain in the abdomen can be a very frustrating feeling for patients, and can be both difficult to diagnosis and difficult to treat in some cases. This is due to the large number of conditions that can directly cause pain in the abdomen, with other conditions causing pain to be felt as a secondary symptom. While not every pain felt will be serious enough to make patients want to see a physician, it is encouraged to do so to avoid risk.
Many pains felt in the abdomen have a simple cause that can be easily remedied, but there is always the risk of abdominal pain being indicative of a much more serious condition lurking for the patient that has yet to produce symptoms elsewhere.
What are the causes of Abdominal Pain?
The causes of abdominal pain can be numerous, but are in many cases no more than routine complications that require simple treatment. Common causes of abdominal pain may include:
- A stomach virus
- A hernia
- The presence of kidney stones
- An urinary tract infection
- Menstrual cramps
- Irritable bowel disease
- An allergic reaction to food
- Any number of spinal conditions affecting an abdominal nerve root
The pain felt by a patient can range from mild intestinal distress to debilitating cramping or a sharp burning feeling.
In some cases, pain will have no treatable cause of origin but will be felt as a by-product due to another condition present in the body. Common causes of secondary abdominal pain include an afflicted spinal nerve root and chronic constipation. Women are at an increased risk of abdominal pain, as it is a common symptom of reproductive complications.
What are the symptoms of Abdominal Pain?
The symptoms of abdominal pain will vary based on what the root cause of pain is. Some of the most common symptoms include pain localized in the tissue surrounding the cause of pain, feelings of bloatedness, or muscular cramping. Other symptoms may include difficult in the functions of the bowels, including passage of stool, or feelings of nausea.
There are a number of symptoms which may be indicative of a more serious condition, and should warrant immediate medical attention by the patient. These symptoms include vomiting, black or bloody stool, or pain radiating up through the torso and chest. Any abdominal pain that is coupled with pain in the chest should be examined by a physician immediately.
How is Abdominal Pain diagnosed?
In order to best devise a treatment plan, accurate diagnosis of the condition resulting in abdominal pain is paramount. The diagnostic technique used will vary based on which symptoms are present for a patient, but may include diagnostic imaging or a minor investigative procedure.
For some patients, an X-ray may be used to identify if there is a physical cause of pain with an MRI used to check the abdominal tissue. Some patients may receive an investigative procedure that uses a small lighted tube containing a video camera to visually examine the interior of the abdomen, which is useful in cases where pain may be being caused by abnormal tissue growth or by adhesion of tissue to an organ.
What are the treatment options for Abdominal Pain?
In cases where the root cause of pain can be identified by the physician, treatment will be based on what the cause is. Common treatments include medication for pain, inflammation, and infection when warranted. For patients who are not likely to obtain relief by medication alone, a therapeutic injection may be made into the area causing pain. Pain relief injections can provide an extended duration of relief. Some patients may require surgical correction to alleviate their cause of pain and provide relief.