Abdominal pain: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Abdominal pain
ICD-10 R10.
ICD-9 789.0

Abdominal pain (or stomach ache) can be one of the symptoms associated with transient disorders or serious disease. Making a definitive diagnosis of the cause of abdominal pain can be difficult, because many diseases can result in this symptom. Abdominal pain is a common problem. Most frequently the cause is benign and/or self-limited, but more serious causes may require urgent intervention.


Differential diagnosis

Acute abdominal pain

Acute abdomen can be defined as severe, persistent abdominal pain of sudden onset that is likely to require surgical intervention to treat its cause. The pain may frequently be associated with nausea and vomiting, abdominal distention, fever and signs of shock. One of the most common conditions associated with acute abdominal pain is acute appendicitis, a condition where mucus or fecal matter hardens, becomes rock-like, and blocks the opening. About 11 percent of pregnant women who face abdominal pain during a pregnancy say that the pain is acute.[1]

Abdominal pain during pregnancy is typically accompanied by other symptoms such as bleeding, spotting, uterine contractions and back pain[2]. Most women speak to their physician when experiencing abdominal pain during their pregnancy.[3]

Selected causes of acute abdomen

Recurrent abdominal pain in children and adolescents

Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) occurs in 5–15% of children 6–19 years old. In a community-based study of middle and high school students, 13–17% had weekly abdominal pain. Using criteria for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), 14% of high school students and 6% of middle school students fit the criteria for adult IBS. As with other difficult to diagnose chronic medical problems, patients with RAP account for a very large number of office visits and medical resources in proportion to their actual numbers. Most patients with RAP benefit from reassurance and techniques to manage anxiety and stress, which are frequently associated with episodes.

Diagnostic approach

When a physician assesses a patient to determine the etiology and subsequent treatment for abdominal pain the patients history of the presenting complaint and physical examination should derive a diagnosis in over 90% of cases.

It is important also for a physician to remember that abdominal pain can be caused by problems outside the abdomen, especially heart attacks and pneumonias which can occasionally present as abdominal pain.

Investigations that would aid diagnosis include

If diagnosis remains unclear after history, examination and basic investigations as above then more advanced investigations may reveal a diagnosis. These as such would include

See also


  • Apley J, Naish N: Recurrent abdominal pains: A field survey of 1,000 school children. Arch Dis Child 1958;33:165 - 170.
  • Chronic Pelvic Pain and Recurrent Abdominal Pain in Female Adolescents
  • Boyle JT, Hamel-Lambert J: Biopsychosocial issues in functional abdominal pain. Pediatr Ann 2001;30:1.
  • [1] Stomach ache or abdominal pain can be misdiagnosed.Consult a Gastroenterologist rather than ER doctor if Pain persists more than a day.
  • [2] Stomach Pain and Conditions.

Simple English

Abdominal pain is a painful sensation in the abdomen. It can be caused by a wide range of diseases, including appendicitis, diverticulitis, and cancer.

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