Expert Care by ER Physicians

Common Causes of Abdominal Pain

Posted by The Urgency Room on Friday, August 25, 2017
Updated on: Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Keywords: abdominal pain

The Urgency Room knows that when it comes to abdominal pain, there can be a plethora of ailments that could be responsible. Narrowing down what the culprit is can be tricky, and that is why we recommend you visit one of our three Twin Cities locations to let our friendly team of doctors help you figure it out. With The Urgency Room there is no need for a long, painful wait. Simply drive up and be seen by a doctor in as little as 15 minutes, and check out wait times online for an even faster visit.

Sometimes it can be hard to decide what abdominal pains you should treat at home and which ones you should seek treatment for. While some abdominal pains can be considered minor inconveniences, others can turn into major health concerns.

At The Urgency Room, we have everything needed to diagnose your abdominal ailment under one roof, meaning no more running around from doctor to doctor. Below are the five most common causes of abdominal pain that we see throughout the year. It should be noted that we could fill pages with all of the different causes of abdominal pain, so if you are indeed experiencing any of the below symptoms, getting checked by one of our doctors is the best route to recovery.

Causes of Abdominal Pain

1. Gallstones

If you suddenly experience a rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen or in the center of your abdomen under your breastbone, gallstones may be to blame. Gallstone abdominal pain can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to hours. There is no clear cause for gallstones; doctors suspect that gallstones form when either a body’s bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin, or when your gallbladder doesn’t empty correctly.

There are two types of gallstones: cholesterol gallstones and pigment gallstones. Cholesterol gallstones are the most common type of gallstones and are composed primarily of undissolved cholesterol. Pigment gallstones are formed when your bile contains too much bilirubin. Gallstones can be treated through medications or surgical intervention.

2. Pancreatitis

Your pancreas is a long, flat gland that sits tucked behind the stomach and upper abdomen. There are two forms of pancreatitis; the first is acute pancreatitis, which appears suddenly and lasts for days, the second is chronic pancreatitis, which slowly builds over the years. Pancreatitis is the result of inflammation in the pancreas. Some milder cases of pancreatitis can go away without treatment, but severe cases need to be seen by a medical professional right away.

Abdominal pain symptoms of pancreatitis include upper abdominal pain, abdominal pain that radiates to your lower back, and abdominal pain that feels worse after eating. In some cases, alcoholism, gallstones, and smoking can contribute to pancreatitis.

3. Appendicitis

Your appendix is a small 3 ½ " long organ that sits in the lower right side of your abdomen. You can actually live without your appendix, which in the good thing where appendicitis is concerned. Appendicitis is classified as a medical emergency and should be treated by medical professionals, such as our cutting edge team, right away. Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked by a stool, foreign body, or in rare cases cancer. Additionally, some infections can cause blockages which will, in turn, causes the appendix to swell, leading to appendicitis.

The most common symptom of appendicitis is a dull or sharp pain in the upper abdomen. Some accompanying symptoms can include nausea and vomiting, abdominal swelling, a high degree fever somewhere between 99-102 degrees, and the inability to pass gas. Some less frequent symptoms can include dull pain anywhere in the back or the upper or lower abdomen, painful urination, severe cramps, and constipation or diarrhea.

With appendicitis, an appendectomy (surgery) will need to be performed to remove your appendix if you are suffering from appendicitis. Leaving appendicitis untreated can lead to your appendix rupturing which may result in peritonitis which is a serious inflammation of the abdominal cavity’s lining;  peritonitis can be fatal if left untreated.

4. Hernias

Put technically; a hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissues squeezes through a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or connective tissue called fascia. Put plainly a hernia is when a small section of your intestines pushes out of its typical location. The most common types of hernias include inguinal (inner groin), incisional (for an incision), femoral (outer groin), umbilical (belly button), and hiatal hernias (upper stomach).  Anyone of any age can get a hernia; some children can experience umbilical hernias when young.

Hernias can be brought on by lifting heavy objects, diarrhea, constipation, excessive coughing or sneezing. Other contributing factors can include obesity, nutrition, smoking, and weak abdominal muscles. Those suffering from hernias may experience pain while walking or running. A hernia can sometimes be felt by placing your hand on your stomach and lightly pressing down. If your suspect that you have a hernia we recommend that you seek an official diagnosis. Some can live with hernias while others may require surgical intervention, typically in the case of children umbilical hernias can resolve themselves within four years.


Feel Better Faster with The Urgency Room

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above, we urge you to come to The Urgency Room to be seen by one of our physicians. When you’re in pain and minutes count, you can count on us. Our doctors also work in emergency rooms across Minnesota, meaning that you’ll get the care you need with the service you deserve with us.

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