Stomach pain; Pain - abdomen; Belly ache; Abdominal cramps; Bellyache; Stomachache
Abdominal pain is pain that you feel anywhere between your chest and groin. This is often referred to as the stomach region or belly.
Almost everyone has pain in the abdomen at some point. Most of the time, it is not serious.
How bad your pain is does not always reflect the seriousness of the condition causing the pain.
For example, you might have very bad abdominal pain if you have gas or stomach cramps due to viral gastroenteritis.
However, fatal conditions, such as colon cancer or early appendicitis, may only cause mild pain or no pain.
Other ways to describe pain in your abdomen include:
Many different conditions can cause abdominal pain. The key is to know when you need to get medical care right away. Sometimes, you may only need to call a health care provider if your symptoms continue.
Less serious causes of abdominal pain include:
Other possible causes include:
Sometimes, abdominal pain may occur due to a problem somewhere else in your body, such as your chest or pelvic area. For example, you may have abdominal pain if you have:
You can try the following home care steps to ease mild abdominal pain:
These additional steps may help prevent some types of abdominal pain:
Get medical help right away or call your local emergency number (such as 911) if you:
Call your provider if you have:
Your provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and medical history. Your specific symptoms, the location of pain and when it occurs will help your provider detect the cause.
LOCATION OF YOUR PAIN
TYPE AND INTENSITY OF YOUR PAIN
HISTORY OF YOUR PAIN
OTHER MEDICAL HISTORY
Tests that may be done include:
McQuaid KR. Approach to the patient with gastrointestinal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 123.
Smith KA. Abdominal pain. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 24.
Squires R, Carter SN, Postier RG. Acute abdomen. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 45.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 1/15/2020
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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