Abdominal Pain: Symptoms, Causes

Abdominal pain is a very common complaint. There are many different reasons that a person can have abdominal pain, and the actual cause is not always clear. Symptoms may be mild and without discomfort, or they may represent a life-threatening illness.

Abdominal Pain

What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?

There are hundreds of conditions that can cause an upset stomach. There are several aspects of abdominal pain or discomfort that the health care provider wants to know about, including:

  • Where is the pain
  • How intense is the pain
  • When the pain started
  • Even if the pain spreads to other areas
  • If anything, it makes the pain better or worse
  • What pain looks like, whether sharp or complex
  • Whether the pain is permanent or comes and goes
  • Whether the pain is related to certain foods or at a particular time during a woman's menstrual period


What are the causes and risks of the disease?

Abdominal pain often comes from the intestines or stomach. It can also come from other organs or tissues inside the abdomen. May be entirely related to conditions outside of the stomach, such as a lung or throat infection.

Possible causes of abdominal discomfort include:

  • Intestinal or abdominal infections, such as diverticulitis or appendicitis
  • Inflammation of the pancreas, usually due to alcohol, infection, or drug use
  • Injury or tension of the muscles of the abdominal wall
  • There is bleeding in the muscles of the abdominal wall
  • Inflammation of the lining of the stomach is known as peritonitis

The primary concern of a health care provider is making sure that the cause of the pain is not a life-threatening condition. For example, appendicitis, a common intestinal infection, can be fatal if left untreated.