Everyone experiences abdominal pain at some point in life. It can occur anywhere in the area between the chest and pelvis and appears in many different forms: mild ache, muscle spasm, and severe or sharp pain.
What Is Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain refers to any uncomfortable sensations you feel in your belly area. Most causes of abdominal pain aren’t reasons to worry, but sometimes, it can be a sign of a serious illness that needs medical attention.
Types of Abdominal Pain
There are three types of abdominal pain, and they are based on how quickly your pain starts and how long it lasts:
- Acute pain starts over a few hours or days and may come with other symptoms.
- Chronic pain lasts longer, from weeks to months, and may come and go.
- Progressive pain gets worse over time and often comes with other symptoms.
Causes of Abdominal Pain
Because the abdomen is home to multiple organs, a wide range of problems may cause pain. The discomfort can also originate from nearby areas, like the chest and pelvis. Causes of abdominal pain include:
- Excessive food intake, which may cause an imbalance in the digestive system and the formation of excess gas or constipation
- Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Urinary tract infections
- Gallbladder inflammation
- Stones in the kidneys or gallbladder
- Premenstrual cramps
- An imbalance in different types of body acids
- Food poisoning or parasitic infections
When to Call the Doctor about Abdominal Pain
Among the many common causes of abdominal pain, it is important to see a doctor in the following situations:
- Abdominal pain is accompanied by fever
- Constant vomiting
- Abdominal pain that lasts longer than a few days
- Acute abdominal pain that appears suddenly
- Bloody vomiting or bloody diarrhea
- Pain during urination
- Abdominal pain during pregnancy
- Abdominal pain accompanied by difficulty breathing
- Pain to the touch
When visiting a doctor, it is important to make sure to tell him or her about any visible symptoms and to clearly identify the location and type of pain to determine the exact source of the pain.
It is commonly believed that abdominal pain originates in the stomach or intestines, but the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, gallbladder, and appendix are all organs in the abdominal cavity that could be sources of pain.
The doctor can conduct a preliminary medical evaluation that includes a physical examination and ask questions to learn about factors to help discover the likely causes of the pain, in addition to inquiring about the nature of the pain, its duration, and its location to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Abdominal Pain Treatment
Abdominal pain treatment depends on how the pain is triggered. Treatments can range from medications for inflammation, GERD, or ulcers to antibiotics for infections. Treatment can also be changes in lifestyle. For example, if abdominal pain is caused by certain foods or beverages, your doctor may recommend changing your diet. Some cases, such as appendicitis or a hernia, may need more advanced treatment, like surgery.
Abdominal Pain Treatment in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL
At Intercostal Medical Group, our board-certified internal and family medicine physicians provide effective solutions for the entire range of digestive problems and are delighted to help patients fully understand their diagnoses, treatment options, and what they can do to take better care of their digestive health and, if necessary, can refer to a specialist. Specialties offered at Intercoastal Medical Group include: gastroenterology, general surgery, gynecology, urology, and many more.
Our internal and family medicine physicians accommodate patients at our Beneva Family Practice, Beneva Professional Center, Cattleridge Medical Building, Hyde Park and Palmer Ranch locations in Sarasota and our Lakewood Ranch I and Lakewood Ranch II office in Bradenton.