Abdominal pain - disease and cause

Which diseases can trigger abdominal pain?

The many nerve connections in the abdominal cavity and the adjacent organs cause not only the pain of the actual abdominal organs such as stomach, intestine, gallbladder, pancreas or female genital organs are localized in the abdomen, but also diseases that are adjacent to the abdomen:

  • Above the diaphragm, which is the natural border between the abdominal and thoracic cavity, a heart attack, pleurisy, or esophagitis with heartburn, for example, can lead to abdominal pain in the upper abdomen.
  • Pain in the upper and middle abdomen can also manifest itself in the spine or back muscles.
  • On the side of the abdomen there are frequent pains originating from the kidneys and pain in the abdomen
  • The middle and lower abdomen of the elderly must also be thought of as anorexia (aneurysm) in addition to intestinal, ovarian or uterine symptoms.

Even pain that emanates from the abdominal organs, must be examined closely, because although often a limitation of the painful area is possible by the close positional relationship of the organs to each other but a clear assignment to a particular organ fails. Pain in the upper abdomen can originate from the gallbladder or the stomach, the small intestine, the pancreas, or the large intestine. Without further examination methods a diagnosis is not possible.

How can the causes of abdominal pain be limited?

With a careful tactile examination, the pain can often be limited. With certain manipulations the pain can be intensified eg in acute appendicitis. In addition, a thorough anamnesis provides information about which organ the pain is most likely to emanate from. This causes some pain depending on the intake of food - in case of gallbladder pain occurs after eating, in a gastric ulcer, the pain is often worse in a fasted state.

Also, the type of food can give hints: Pain after high-fat meals suggest problems with bile or pancreas. The stool behavior, eg diarrhea, constipation, stool color, is also helpful, a stool examination for blood or infectious agents can exclude, for example, a colon tumor or a gastrointestinal infection.

Abdominal pain in the elderly

An important role also plays the age of the person concerned. While in children, abdominal pain can be a very common and nonspecific symptom, even for a flu or headache, other diseases must be ruled out in elderly patients:

  • for example, a heart attack or an aortic aneurysm in someone with a known cardiovascular disease,
  • in patients known to have a "sensitive" stomach, perhaps a food intolerance, as it can get worse over the course of life,
  • In middle-aged people with recurrent frequent abdominal pain also a colon tumor.

Abdominal pain: further investigations

These initial results will prompt the physician to conduct further examinations. With a blood test can be clarified whether an inflammation in the body is present and if, for example, liver, gall bladder or pancreas are involved in the disease process, with the urine examination kidney and urinary tract are checked. Ultrasound reveals changes in the liver, gallbladder and gallbladder, pancreas and kidneys. Even some intestinal diseases can be detected with today's ultrasound devices.

With X-ray images and especially the endoscopic gastric or colonoscopy you can track diseases in the interior of the abdomen. If a gynecological disease is suspected, the internal reproductive organs are scanned and examined by ultrasound. In case of suspected heart disease, an ECG and an ultrasound scan of the heart usually help.

If the pain can not be triggered by hand movements nor is it related to food intake, muscle tension or spinal column problems can be clarified with functional movement exercises. If no organic cause for abdominal pain can be found with all methods, irritable bowel syndrome may be present.

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