Ask Stomach Pain: What does it mean?
by John J. Ziebert, MD

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While pain in the stomach or abdominal area can arise from the tissues of the abdominal wall, such as skin and abdominal muscles, the term abdominal pain general is used to describe pain originating from organs within the abdominal cavity. These organs include the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. Occasionally pain may be felt in the abdomen even though it is arising from orgfanx that are close to but not within the abdominal cavity. For example, the lower lungs, the kidneys and the uterus or ovaries.

Potential Causes of Stomach Pain

§ Inflammation, such as appendicitis, diverticulitis or colitis.

§ Stretching or istension of an organ, such as obstruction of the intestine, blockage of a bile duct by gallstones or swelling of the liver with hepatitis

§ Loss of the supply of blood to an organ

§ Contraction of the intestinal muscles or hyper-sensitivity (Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.)

The cause of abdominal pain is based on the characteristics of the pain, physical examination and testing. Occasionally, surgery is necessary for diagnosis.

When you make an appointment, be prepared to tell your doctor when the pain first started, if there were previous episodes of similar pain, how frequently episodes of pain occur, the severity of the pain and what seems to make the pain worse.

Ask is intended for consumer education only. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider with questions regarding your personal health or medical condition.