abdominal pain

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abdominal pain

acute or chronic, localized or diffuse pain in the abdominal cavity. Abdominal pain is a significant symptom because its cause may require immediate surgical or medical intervention. The most common causes of severe abdominal pain are inflammation, perforation of an intraabdominal structure, circulatory obstruction, intestinal or ureteral obstruction, intestinal cramping, or rupture of an organ located within the abdomen. Specific conditions include appendicitis, perforated peptic ulcer, strangulated hernia, superior mesenteric arterial thrombosis, diverticulitis, and small and large bowel obstruction. Differential diagnosis of the cause of acute abdominal pain requires its localization and characterization by means of light and deep palpation; auscultation; percussion; and abdominal, rectal, or pelvic examination. Direct physical examination may be supplemented by various laboratory and radiological examinations. Aspiration of peritoneal fluid (paracentesis) for bacteriological and chemical evaluation is sometimes indicated. Conditions producing acute abdominal pain that may require surgery include appendicitis, acute or severe and chronic diverticulitis, acute and chronic cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, acute pancreatitis, perforation of a peptic ulcer, intestinal obstructions, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and trauma affecting any of the abdominal organs. Gynecological causes that may require surgery include pelvic inflammatory disease, ruptured ovarian cyst, and ectopic pregnancy. Abdominal pain associated with pregnancy may be caused by the weight of the enlarged uterus; rotation, stretching, or compression of the round ligament; or squeezing or displacement of the bowel. In addition, uterine contractions associated with preterm labor may produce severe abdominal pain. Chronic abdominal pain may be functional or may result from overeating or aerophagy. When symptoms are recurrent, an organic cause is considered. Organic sources include peptic ulcer, hiatal hernia, gastritis, chronic cholecystitis and cholelithiasis, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic carcinoma, chronic diverticulitis, intermittent low-grade intestinal obstruction, and functional indigestion. Some systemic conditions may cause abdominal pain. Examples include systemic lupus erythematosus, lead poisoning, hypercalcemia, sickle cell anemia, diabetic acidosis, porphyria, tabes dorsalis, and black widow spider poisoning.

Abdominal Pain

A generic term for focal or general discomfort localised to the abdominal region.

abdominal pain

discomfort in the abdomen which may result from a variety of medical conditions related to one or other of the abdominal organs, or from injury, particularly during contact sports. Medical advice should be sought and physical activity should cease.


pertaining to, affecting or originating in the abdomen. See also abdominal paracentesis, abdominal sounds.

abdominal binding
a wide bandage applied to the abdomen to raise intra-abdominal pressure. Its primary purposes are (1) to limit the displacement of the diaphragm during thoracic compression of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, thereby raising intrathoracic pressures achieved and improving forward blood flow, and (2) to maintain blood volume in the central circulation during hemorrhagic shock.
abdominal breathing
an abnormal form of respiratory movement in which the thorax is fixed and the inspiratory and expiratory movement of the lungs are carried out by the diaphragm and the abdominal muscles so that there are exaggerated movements of the abdominal wall.
abdominal cavity
the body cavity between the diaphragm and the pelvis; contains the abdominal organs.
abdominal enlargement
may result from fluid effusions (transudate, exudate or blood), enlargement of viscera (neoplasia, dilatation, engorgement or physiological phenomena, e.g. pregnancy), intra-abdominal masses or fat. Weakness of the abdominal wall usually results in a pendulous rather than enlarged abdomen.
abdominal lavage
see abdominal lavage.
abdominal muscle ischemia
an unexplained ischemic necrosis of the internal oblique muscle of ewes in late pregnancy which are carrying twins or triplets. Results in ventral hernia but often with little apparent effect on the ease of lambing.
abdominal muscles
the paired muscles of the flank and belly that surround and support the abdominal viscera.
abdominal pad
see abdominal pad.
abdominal pain
may arise from an abdominal organ, the peritoneum or be referred as from spinal nerves.
abdominal regions
arbitrary, descriptive subdivisions of the abdomen made up of three groups of three (like a noughts-and-crosses grid), three along the middle—xiphoid, umbilical and pubic, and three lateral pairs—hypochondriac, lateral abdominal and inguinal.
abdominal silhouette
the shape of the abdomen viewed from behind.
abdominal trier
see trier.
abdominal tunic
see tunica flava abdominis.
abdominal viscera
the organs contained within the abdominal cavity; they include the stomach, intestines, liver, spleen, pancreas, and parts of the urinary and reproductive tracts.
abdominal wall
consists of the parietal peritoneum, the deep and superficial layers of fascia, the transverse abdominal, internal and external abdominal oblique muscles, the subcutaneous tissue and the skin. It contains the umbilicus, the cicatrix marking the entry point of the umbilical cord, and is traversed by the inguinal canal, and at its caudal extremity carries the prepubic tendon, the ventral attachment of the wall to the pubic bones.
abdominal wall rigidity
reflex response to pain of peritonitis, accompanied by pain on palpation or percussion.


a feeling of distress, suffering or agony, caused by stimulation of specialized nerve endings. Its purpose is chiefly protective; it acts as a warning that tissues are being damaged and induces the sufferer to remove or withdraw from the source.
All receptors for pain stimuli are free nerve endings of groups of myelinated or unmyelinated neural fibers abundantly distributed in the superficial layers of the skin and in certain deeper tissues such as the periosteum, surfaces of the joints, arterial walls, and the falx and tentorium of the cranial cavity. The distribution of pain receptors in the gastrointestinal mucosa apparently is similar to that in the skin; thus, the mucosa is quite sensitive to irritation and other painful stimuli. Although the parenchyma of the liver and the alveoli of the lungs are almost entirely insensitive to pain, the liver as an organ and the bile ducts are extremely sensitive, as are the bronchi, ureters, parietal pleura and peritoneum.
Some pain receptors are selective in their response to stimuli, but most are sensitive to more than one of the following types of excitation: (1) mechanical stress of trauma; (2) extremes of heat and cold; and (3) chemical substances, such as histamine, potassium ions, acids, prostaglandins, bradykinin and acetylcholine.
The conscious perception of pain probably takes place in the thalamus and lower centers; interpretation of the quality of pain is probably the role of the cerebral cortex.
There are some naturally occurring internal systems in the body that are known to control pain but none of them has been completely verified. One of the best known is the gate control system in which it is thought that pain impulses are mediated in the substantia gelatinosa of the spinal cord.

abdominal pain
pain occurring in the area between the thorax and pelvis. Manifestations vary between species. Identifiable syndromes include: (1) horse—pawing, flank watching, rolling, straddling as though to urinate, lying on the back; (2) cattle—may depress back and paddle with hindfeet but mostly arched back, grunting, immobility; (3) dogs and cats—arched back, grunting, depression, reluctance to move. Sometimes there is elevation of the hindquarters, with the chest and forelegs on the ground (the so-called 'praying dog' attitude).
Beagle pain syndrome
see beagle pain syndrome.
projected pain
pathology in one area can affect the nerve supply to a distant area in which pain is experienced.
pain receptors
free nerve endings of tufts of fine points or buttons.
referred pain
pain felt in an area distant from the site of pathology but not mediated through a common innervation. There is no evidence that referred pain occurs in animals but it seems likely on anatomical grounds.
pain threshold
the lowest level at which a stimulus can be applied and cause perceptible pain.
pain tolerance
the level of stimulation at which pain becomes intolerable.

Patient discussion about abdominal pain

Q. What Causes Specific Abdominal Pain? Everytime I go see a doctor when I have abdominal pains he tells me I probably have gastroenteritis. How does he know that it's not something else for instance, appendicitis, just by examining my abdomen?

A. whats the symptoms of ovarian cyst?

Q. I keep having this bad pain in my abdomin and I think something is wrong with me what could it be

A. it all depends on the symtoms,could be a number of things,if it persists go see a doctor,

Q. i have pains in the lower abdominal areas what is the couse these pain usually occar off and on besides the the abdomen in the lower areasand some times all over the abdomen

A. Is the pain worsened when you cough or lift heavy weight? It may suggest hernia (protrusion of gut loop through the abdomen wall, see here http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hernia.html ). However, it's virtually impossible to diagnose you through the net, so consulting a doctor would be wise.

Take care,

More discussions about abdominal pain
References in periodicals archive ?
A MAN developed severe abdominal pains after a yacht he was sailing suffered mechanical failure.
There was a couple on-board and the skipper then developed severe abdominal pains.
Summary: Actor Charlie Sheen has been rushed to a Los Angeles hospital with severe abdominal pains, according to celebrity website TMZ.
The website, quoting unnamed sources, said an early morning emergency call was triggered by severe abdominal pains.
Officers attended an address in Warrington, Cheshire, following the hospital admission of a woman who complained of abdominal pains and blood loss.
A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "At 3pm on Tuesday, a 35-year-old woman was admitted to Warrington General Hospital suffering from abdominal pains and significant blood loss.
Nixon, who was convicted of murder at Preston Crown Court in 1989, first complained of abdominal pains in October 1999 but was not diagnosed with stomach cancer until after he was admitted to hospital on July 20 this year.
He was last seen on July 11 complaining of abdominal pains, losing weight, and being off his food.
Intermittent abdominal pains that radiate through to the back, a bandlike pain across the shoulder blades, nausea and vomiting.
Abdominal pain is one of the most common reasons why consultation with a health professional is requested.
Objective: To determine the frequency of Helicobacter Pylori (HP) seroprevalence and infection in ss Thalassemia major(TM) patients and to compare between ss TM patients and controls both presenting with recurrent abdominal pain (RAP).
This article reviews the literature related to functional abdominal pain (FAP) in childhood, including the definition, etiology, contributing factors, clinical diagnosis, therapy and management, and associated long-term health effects.

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