Ilyas Memon, MD

7 Possible Causes Behind Your Abdominal Pain

Jan 17, 2024

7 Possible Causes Behind Your Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain can strike at any time and range from mild discomfort to severe stabbing pain that affects your entire day. Keep reading to learn about seven causes of abdominal pain and when to see a doctor.

Abdominal pain can be scary, especially when it pops up suddenly and causes significant discomfort. However, in many cases, abdominal pain isn't a sign of a severe health problem.

There are, though, some causes of abdominal pain that you shouldn’t mess around with. Knowing some leading causes of abdominal discomfort can help determine when to go to the emergency room and when to take an antacid.

If you’re experiencing problems in your abdomen, the Texas Digestive Disease Consultants help you get to the bottom of the problem.

Dr. Ilyas Memom is a board-certified gastroenterologist providing specialized testing and quick evaluations to determine the cause of abdominal pain for the proper treatment.

What is abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain is any pain that affects the region between your pelvis and your chest. Many people associate abdominal pain with stomach discomfort or indigestion, but there’s a lot more in the area than that.

Your abdomen is separated into four quadrants — the upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left. Each quadrant contains specific organs and tissues, which can help us determine the cause of abdominal pain.

Various organs lie in the abdomen, working together to make up your gastrointestinal system. These organs include:

  • Liver
  • Stomach
  • Pancreas
  • Gallbladder
  • Large intestine
  • Small intestine

The spleen and appendix are also within the parameters of the abdomen. However, pain can also affect organs, muscles, or other tissues.

Abdominal pain may be acute or chronic and range from mild to severe. Many people describe abdominal pain as dull, achy, sharp, or stabbing and constant or intermittent. The cause of the pain often dictates the symptoms.

Seven causes of abdominal pain

There are many different causes of abdominal pain, each of which causes specific signs and symptoms. Seven prominent causes of abdominal pain include the following:

1. Cholecystitis

Abdominal pain that strikes in the right upper quadrant could be a sign of cholecystitis or gallbladder inflammation. You may have tenderness with touch or pain that spreads from the abdomen to the right shoulder.

2. Indigestion

Indigestion is a common cause of abdominal discomfort, especially right after eating. Pain related to indigestion may be burning or aching, mainly because of gas or bloating.

Food intolerances, constipation, and diarrhea may also cause pain related to indigestion. Even though this type of pain may be uncomfortable, it's rarely a significant problem and usually goes away on its own.

3. Gastritis

Gastritis is inflammation in the lining of the stomach, which often causes other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and extreme fullness after eating.

The abdominal pain associated with gastritis is aching or gnawing, especially after eating. Gastritis usually causes discomfort in the left upper quadrant.

4. Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis often causes pain in the left lower quadrant. It is caused by inflammation of the small outpouches in the colon. Fever, tenderness, nausea, and vomiting are all other symptoms of diverticulitis besides abdominal pain.

5. Hernia

Hernias happen when inside tissues or organs push through the muscles or tissue that keep it contained, causing a lump and pain. Umbilical hernias and inguinal hernias both affect parts of the abdomen and can lead to severe pain and discomfort.

6. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus grows in the abdominal cavity and on other organs. The pain may come and go, especially during the menstrual cycle.

7. Appendicitis

If the appendix becomes inflamed, you can experience pain in the right lower quadrant of your abdomen. Appendicitis is usually an emergency, as the organ is often inflamed, infected, and can burst in severe cases.

When should I see a doctor?

Sometimes, abdominal pain resolves on its own, especially if it’s related to indigestion, gas, or something you ate. However, you should seek treatment if you have abdominal pain that’s unexplained or continues to get worse.

You should also seek help right away if you have pain related to an injury or are pregnant and have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood in your urine
  • Bloody stools
  • Extreme tenderness
  • Yellow eyes or skin

It’s essential to get treatment for abdominal pain if it continues for more than a few days. Our team evaluates your symptoms and performs imaging studies to see the organs and tissues in the abdomen.

Once we reach a diagnosis, our team provides you with customized treatments to relieve your pain quickly and efficiently.

Call Texas Digestive Disease Consultants in The Woodlands, Magnolia, and Willis, Texas, today to schedule an appointment for abdominal pain or request a consultation on the website.