The cause of abdominal problems can be hard to pinpoint. Sometimes minor and serious abdominal problems start with the same symptoms. Fortunately, most abdominal problems are minor, and home treatment is all that is needed.
Occasionally, severe pain that comes on suddenly may be a symptom of a rupture of the stomach or intestines (perforation), torsion of the testicle or ovary, a kidney stone, gallbladder disease, or blood vessel problems, such as an aortic aneurysm. The pain caused by appendicitis or gallbladder disease may increase when you move or cough. Pain that increases with movement or coughing and does not appear to be caused by strained muscles is more likely to be a symptom of a serious problem. A visit to a doctor is usually needed when severe abdominal pain comes on suddenly, or new and different mild pain slowly becomes more severe over several hours or days.
After a minor abdominal injury, pain, nausea, or vomiting may occur but often gets better in a few minutes. Pain and other symptoms that continue, increase, or develop following an injury may mean an abdominal organ has been damaged.
Many medicines can cause abdominal pain. Some medicines also cause side effects, such as constipation, that can make abdominal pain worse.
Specific abdominal symptoms have been linked with ovarian cancer. These symptoms include abdominal or pelvic pain, increased abdominal size or bloating, and trouble eating or feeling full quickly. If you have had these symptoms 12 or more times each month over the past 12 months, talk with your doctor.
Use the Check Your Symptoms section to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Most of the time, abdominal pain improves with home treatment and you do not need a visit to a doctor. Specific home treatment for abdominal pain often depends on the symptoms you have along with the pain, such as diarrhea or nausea and vomiting.
If you have mild abdominal pain without other symptoms, try the following:
Use the Check Your Symptoms section to evaluate your symptoms if one or more of the following symptoms occur during home treatment:
Abdominal pain can often be prevented.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||March 18, 2011|
Last Revised: March 18, 2012
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