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Abdominal Pain

Abdominal Pain

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Published by Yani

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Published by: Yani on Jan 17, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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What causes abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain is caused by inflammation (for example,appendicitis,diverticulitis,colitis), by stretching or distention of an organ (for example, obstruction of the intestine, blockage of a bileduct bygallstones,swelling of the liver withhepatitis), or by loss of  the supply of blood to an organ (for example, ischemic colitis).To complicate matters, however, abdominal pain also can occur without inflammation, distention or loss of blood supply. Animportant example of this latter type of pain is theirritable bowelsyndrome(IBS). It is not clear what causes the abdominal pain inIBS, but it is believed to be due either to abnormal contractions of the intestinal muscles (for example, spasm) or abnormally sensitivenerves within the intestines that give rise to painful sensationsinappropriately (visceral hyper-sensitivity). These latter types of  pain are often referred to as functional pain because no recognizable(visible) causes for the pain have been found - at least not yet.
What is abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain is pain that is felt in the abdomen. The abdomen isan anatomical area that is bounded by the lower margin of the ribsand diaphragm above, the pelvic bone (pubic ramus) below, and theflanks on each side. Although abdominal pain can arise from thetissues of the abdominal wall that surround the abdominal cavity(such as the skin and abdominal wall muscles), the term abdominal pain generally is used to describe pain originating from organswithin the abdominal cavity. Organs of the abdomen include thestomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas.Doctors determine the cause of abdominal pain by relying on:
1.characteristics of the pain,2.findings on physical examination,3.laboratory, radiological, and endoscopic testing, and4.surgery.
Characteristics of the pain
The following information, obtained by taking a patient's history, isimportant in helping doctors determine the cause of pain:
The way the pain begins.
For example, abdominal pain thatcomes on suddenly suggests a sudden event, for example, theinterruption of the supply of blood to the colon (ischemia) or obstruction of the bile duct by a gallstone (biliary colic).
The location of the pain.
Appendicitistypically causes pain in the right lower abdomen, the usual location of the appendix.
Diverticulitistypically causes pain in the left lower abdomen where most colonic diverticuli are located.
Pain from the gallbladder (biliary colic or cholecystitis)typically is felt in the right upper abdomen where thegallbladder is located.
The pain of acid-related diseases -gastroesophageal refluxdisease(GERD) or duodenal ulcers - typically show periodicity, that is, a period of weeks or months duringwhich the pain is worse followed by periods of weeks or months during which the pain is better.
What relieves the pain.

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