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 one time or another.
Other ways of describing pain in your abdomen include:
- Pain may be generalized, meaning that you feel it in more than half of your belly. This is more typical for a stomach virus, indigestion, or gas. If the pain becomes more severe, it may be caused by a blockage of the intestines.
- Pain that is localized is found in only one area of your belly. This type of pain is more likely to be a sign of a problem in an organ, such as the appendix, gallbladder, or stomach.
- Cramp-like pain is usually not serious, and is more likely to be due to gas and bloating.
- Colicky pain is pain that comes in waves. It usually starts and ends suddenly, and is often severe. Kidney stones and gallstones are common causes of this type of belly pain.
Many different conditions can cause abdominal pain. The key is to know when you need to get immediate medical care. Sometimes you may only need to call a doctor if your symptoms continue.
Less serious causes of abdominal pain include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Food allergies or intolerance (such as lactose intolerance)
- Food poisoning
- Stomach flu
Other possible causes include:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Bowel blockage or obstruction
- Cancer of the stomach, colon, and other organs
- Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) with or without gallstones
- Decreased blood supply to the intestines (ischemic bowel)
- Heartburn, indigestion, or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
- Kidney stones
- Pancreatitis (swelling or infection of the pancreas)
Sometimes, abdominal pain may be due from a problem somewhere else in your body, such as your chest or pelvic area. For example, you may have abdominal pain if you have:
- Heart attack
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Muscle strain
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Tubal (ectopic) pregnancy
- Urinary tract infections