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Acute Abdominal Pain

  • What is Acute Abdominal Pain?

    Acute Abdominal Pain refers to the pain in the abdomen (belly) that develops suddenly. It might be so severe that the person needs to be admitted to hospital. It is different from the common abdominal pain which is associated with minor issues including constipation or gas. Acute Abdominal Pain is a symptom of a serious internal problem which might require immediate medical attention or surgery

  • The list of causes of Acute Abdominal Pain is far from exhaustive, but the most common conditions include:

    • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Rupture - Enlarged blood vessels in the abdomen
    • Acute appendicitis - Inflammation of the appendix
    • Cancer
    • Cholangitis - Inflammation of the bile duct caused by infection or Gallstones
    • Cholecystitis - Inflammation of the gallbladder
    • Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis-Inflammatory Disorders of the colon
    • Diverticulitis - Inflammation of small pouches in the large intestine
    • Gastritis - Inflammation of the stomach lining caused by excessive alcohol consumption and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs use
    • Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Diseases (GERD) - A chronic digestive disease which occurs when the acid from the stomach flows back (refluxes) into the oesophagus (food pipe)
    • Heart Attack
    • Hernia
    • Intestinal Obstruction
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome - A chronic disorder that affects the normal functioning of the colon
    • Kidney Stones
    • Pancreatiti - Inflammation of the pancreas
    • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - Inflammation around the uterus, ovaries and the fallopian tubes
    • Peptic Ulcers - Open sores in the lining of the stomach, the duodenum or in the oesophagus
    • Urinary tract infections, kidney infection, bladder infection
    • Viral Gastroenteritis - Stomach flu
  • The symptoms of acute abdominal pain depend on the underlying causes, and they generally include:

    • Fever
    • Non-voluntary contraction of the abdominal muscles
    • Persistent severe pain in the upper, middle or lower abdomen
    • Swelling and tenderness in the upper, middle or lower abdomen
    • Tense abdominal muscles
  • Treatment of acute abdominal pain depends on the underlying condition. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and suggest the treatment plan that suits you best. This may include a combination of the following:

    • Dietary changes and lifestyle changes to help improve your condition
    • Medication to relieve symptoms. However some doctors might delay giving painkillers because the details of the pain can assist in helping determining its cause.
    • Surgery for the majority of abdominal pain causes
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