Finger Lakes Health
Research Health Information
Online Services

Research Health Information

Search Health Information   
    Abdominal pain
   
If you do not see our video content, you need to install an updated Flash Player.
The latest Flash Player 9,0,115,0
is available for download @ adobe.com.

You know that awful feeling: you're nauseous; your stomach feels like it's tied in a knot, and you don't even want to move. What does your pain mean? Well, let's talk today about abdominal pain.

So, what causes abdominal pain?
Almost everyone has pain in their belly at one time or another. Most of the time, a serious medical problem is not the cause, and how bad your pain is doesn't always reflect the seriousness of the problem causing your pain. You may feel very bad pain if you are having gas or stomach cramps due to viral gastroenteritis, better known as a stomach virus. And some life-threatening conditions, such as colon cancer or a very early case of appendicitis, may cause only mild pain, or no pain at all.

The important thing to know about abdominal pain is when you need immediate medical care.
Less serious causes of abdominal pain include constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, and a stomach virus.

Other, more serious, causes include appendicitis, an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a bowel blockage, cancer, and gastroesophageal reflux.

Sometimes, you may have abdominal pain from a problem that isn't in your belly, like a heart attack, menstrual cramps, or pneumonia.

So, what do you do about abdominal pain?
Well, if you have mild abdominal pain, here are some helpful tips:
Try sipping water or other clear fluids. Avoid solid food for the first few hours. If you've been vomiting, wait 6 hours and then eat small amounts of mild foods like rice, applesauce, or crackers. If your pain is high in your abdomen and occurs after meals, antacids may help, especially if you are feeling heartburn or indigestion.

You should seek medical attention if you have abdominal pain and are being treated for cancer, you can't pass any stool, you're vomiting blood, or you have chest, neck, or shoulder pain. Call your doctor if you have abdominal pain that lasts 1 week or longer, if your pain doesn't improve in 24 - 48 hours, if bloating lasts more than 2 days, or if you have diarrhea for more than 5 days.


Review Date: 11/16/2011
Reviewed By: Mitchell W. Hecht, MD FACP, Internal Medicine private practice in Roswell, GA; author of the nationally-syndicated medical column 'Ask Dr. H.' Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
Print    Email