The Complete Guide to Abdominal Pain: Causes, Risk factors and Treatment

November 1, 2021

The Complete Guide to Abdominal Pain: Causes, Risk factors and Treatment
Share the article

It is common for everybody to endure abdominal pain or discomfort in the region that extends from their ribs to the pelvis. It is often known as stomach pain/ache although the pain could arise from different places of the internal organs. The abdomen has many organs which include the stomach, liver, pancreas, small and large bowel, and reproductive organs and also major blood vessels.

Abdominal pain comes in many forms and may range from cramps that come and go to sudden, stabbing pains to constant, dull abdominal aching. Even mild pain can be an early sign of a serious condition.

Types of Abdominal pain

Acute Pain Chronic Pain Progressive Pain
Acute abdominal pain develops and often resolves over a few hours to a few days. Chronic abdominal pain is present for more than three months. It may be present all the time, or it may come and go. Pain gets worse over time and often comes with other symptoms

When should a person visit a Gastroenterologist?

A person should visit a gastroenterologist if these symptoms persist:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Pain during peeing
  • Not urinating frequently
  • Dark colored urine
  • No proper bowel movement
  • Tender belly to touch
  • Pain lasts more than a few hours
  • Vomit blood
  • Trouble breathing
  • Constant vomiting
  • Swelling in the belly
  • Yellow skin
  • Unexplained weight loss

What are the causes of Abdominal Pain?

Abdominal pain can have various causes, whether or not it’s a mild ache or serious cramps, to give an instance, a person might experience indigestion, constipation, stomach virus, or menstrual cramps for women. Other possible causes could include

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Food poisoning
  • Food allergies
  • Gas
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Abdominal muscle strain or pulls

Other underlying conditions that could result in Abdominal Pain :

  • Hernia
  • Pelvic Inflammatory disease
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney stones
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Appendicitis
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (swelling in the belly’s main artery)
  • Bowel blockage or obstruction
  • Cancer of the stomach, pancreas, liver, bile duct, gallbladder, or immune cells
  • Ovarian cancer or cysts
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
  • Low blood flow to your intestines caused by a blocked blood vessel
  • Ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus,viz, in a Fallopian tube)

Treatment for Abdominal Pain

The treatment for abdominal pain depends on the origin of the condition. The gastroenterologist might first diagnose the cause and then prescribe the medicines. The best course of treatment may involve self-care measures, over-the-counter, prescription medications, or procedures including drug injections or surgery.

Medicament options

It is essential to visit a doctor/ gastroenterologist for abdominal pain. Not all abdominal pain requires antibiotics or medicines and it is not at all recommended to take medications before consulting the doctor. Sometimes, consuming tablets without consulting the doctor may irritate further and worsen the pain. If that person has an underlying health condition such as appendicitis, an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a bowel blockage, cancer, and gastroesophageal reflux that requires medical treatment, the doctor may prescribe medications such as the following:

  • Drugs to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Antibiotics to treat infection
  • Medicines to reduce inflammation
  • Targeted treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Procedures and Surgery

In rare cases, medical procedures or surgery may be needed to effectively treat your abdominal pain if the condition of the abdominal pain is severe like an inflammatory bowel disease, appendix, hernia etc. These procedures may include the following:

  • Injection of a numbing agent
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Hernia repair surgery
  • Appendectomy

Self-care/Home Remedies for Abdominal Pain

It is often possible to treat and palliate abdominal pain using home remedies. Here are some tips to ease your abdominal ache.

  • Eat smaller portions of food at a frequent levels
  • Chew food well
  • Drink beverages at room temperature
  • Place a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag on your abdomen.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Engage in physical activities
  • Stick to mild and bland foods like rice, bananas, or applesauce
  • Manage your stress

Disclaimer: While the home remedies mentioned in the above blog may seem effective and practical, it is important to note that no scientific evidence supports their efficacy. Therefore, consulting with an expert in the field is highly recommended.



Dr. R. Ravi

Dr. R. Ravi

MBBS, MD (Gen. Med.), DM (Med. Gastro.)

Group Director - Medical Gastroenterology & Interventional Endoscopy

Chat with us!
Chat with us