Abdominal pain is pain or discomfort that's felt in the stomach area, between your chest and genitals, known as your abdomen or belly region.
Abdominal pain can occur for many different reasons, including a stomach virus, indigestion, constipation, or for some people, during menstruation.
A gastroenterologist or trained doctor can help diagnose the reason for your abdominal pain. While most cases of abdominal pain are no cause for worry, some of your symptoms may indicate a sign of something more concerning, which is why scheduling a doctor's appointment is highly recommended.
What are the Different Types of Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain can be categorized into:
- Acute abdominal pain
This type of pain has a sudden onset, typically within a few hours, and can last for multiple days.
- Chronic abdominal pain
Chronic pain in your abdomen lasts for several weeks and months. The symptoms, however, may not always be prominent but can appear and disappear as time goes on.
- Progressive abdominal pain
Progressive pain in your abdomen worsens over time and can occur with other symptoms.
What are the Causes of Abdominal Pain?
Your abdominal pain can occur due to injury to the abdominal area. Incorrect exercise leading to a muscle pull or strain can also be a reason for your abdominal pain.
There are also many other medical reasons why you may have abdominal pain. This can include stomach viruses, food poisoning, or something else, such as:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Food allergies
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Lactose intolerance
- Kidney stones
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Ruptured ovarian cyst
Treatment for Abdominal Pain is Safe When Performed by a Gastroenterologist
If the pain you're experiencing in your abdomen is severe or doesn't go away or recurs, it's important to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist.
A complete evaluation, including a history and physical examination, and overall assessment of your prior health, including your family history of illness, can help in determining the root cause of your abdominal pain.
A series of tests can help in a diagnosis. This can include:
- blood and urine tests
- CT scan of the abdomen
- Barium enema
- X-ray of the abdomen