Abdominal pain describes any pain that affects the abdomen, that is the section of the body between the ribs and the pelvis. Abdominal pain has a wide range of potential causes.
Temporary abdominal pain is common, and in most cases should not be a cause for concern.
Abdominal pain may come from any of the following structures:
- The abdominal skin.
- The muscles and nerves of the abdominal wall.
- Any of the abdominal organs.
- Sites outside of the abdomen, this being a referred pain.
Generally speaking, only after treatable causes of abdominal pain have been excluded by physicians or surgeons, will the patient be referred to a pain medicine specialist.
Tests / Diagnosis
Specialised tests and investigations will usually have been done by referring physicians or surgeons.
It is important to diagnose any dangerous conditions before symptomatic treatment of chronic abdominal pain.
In many cases, abdominal pain is caused by diet, for example not eating enough fibre can cause constipation and abdominal pain, as can eating particular types of food (eg fatty foods or dairy foods). Eating larger meals and not eating enough fibre can also cause constipation and abdominal pain.