Abdominal pain can vary when it comes to intensity from a mild ache to a severe acute pain. The pain felt is often non-specific and can be due to various conditions. Majority of organs are present within the abdominal cavity. In most cases, the pain is directly related to a specific organ such as the ovary or bladder while other times it can be non-specific or diffuse. Usually, the abdominal pain can originate in the digestive system such as the pain caused by food poisoning, appendicitis or diarrheal cramping.
Causes of abdominal pain
Most of the acute and chronic diseases can cause abdominal pain.
- Gallbladder disease, appendicitis, infections, gastric and duodenal ulcers, pregnancy-linked issues.
- Heart attack, ruptured blood vessels, kidney stones, liver and pancreas inflammation, diverticulitis and problems with the blood circulation to the intestine
Abdominal pain that might not originate from the abdomen
- Certain heart attacks and pneumonias can cause pain in the abdomen
- Certain skin rashes such as shingles can feel like abdominal pain
- Diseases on the groin or pelvis
- Cases of poisoning such as a bite from a black widow spider
It is evident that abdominal pain can have a variety of causes where some are directly connected to the abdomen while others are caused by non-abdominal diseases. Oftentimes, the cause of the pain is not determined during the initial assessment.
Symptoms of abdominal pain in adults
Always remember that abdominal pain is a symptom. It simply means that an individual has a certain medical condition that requires treatment. The pain can be accompanied with other symptoms. It is important to monitor the symptoms since it can help the health care professional determine the cause of the pain.
When to seek medical care
It is essential to seek medical care if the individual has the following:
- The abdominal pain lasts more than six hours or continues to worsen
- Pain is accompanied by vomiting more than 3-4 times
- Pain that disrupts the eating habit of the individual
- Pain starts all over but centers in a single area particularly in the right lower abdomen
- Pain worsens once the individual moves
- Pain that awakens the individual at night
- Pain is accompanied by fever higher than 101 F
- There is pain with inability to urinate, pass gas or moving bowel
Treatment for abdominal pain for adults
If there is no fever, vaginal bleeding, vomiting, chest pain, passing out or other serious symptoms, abdominal pain can be easily treated with first aid measures. In case the pain continues or the individual perceives that the pain represents a serious condition, it is important to seek a health care professional.
By using a heating pad or instructing the individual to soak in a tub of warm water, it can help ease the abdominal pain. You can also provide over-the-counter antacids in order to minimize the pain. Activated charcoal capsules can also help out.