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Pain Management Health Center

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Abdominal Pain Causes - Topic Overview

Abdominal pain can have many causes. Often the specific symptoms help determine the cause of the pain.

Causes of abdominal pain
Cause Most common symptoms

Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, gallbladder disease, bowel obstruction, pancreatitis, appendicitis, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or diverticulitis

Food poisoning

Urinary problems, such as a kidney stone, kidney disease, kidney infection, or bladder infection

Dietary, such as lactose intolerance or food allergy

  • Chronic, generalized abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea (nonbloody)
  • Gas and bloating

Inflammatory disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

  • Diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • Fever (may come and go)
  • Generalized abdominal pain (frequently awakens you at night)
  • Weight loss

Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Chronic or intermittent abdominal pain with either diarrhea or constipation (pain does not awaken you at night)
  • Increases with stress
  • No weight loss

Ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage

  • Abdominal pain (may be severe)
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Positive risk factors for pregnancy

Infection with a parasite, such as giardiagiardia

  • Diarrhea (nonbloody)
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Gas and bloating
  • Weight loss

Female reproductive problems, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Sickle cell disease

  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain in the arms and legs, the chest, or the spinal bones

Blood vessel problems, such as an aortic aneurysm or peripheral arterial disease

Hernias, such as hiatal, inguinal, or umbilical

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bulging area in the belly or groin

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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