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Abdominal pain

Synonyms: stomachache, bellyache
German: Abdominalschmerz

1 Definition

Abdominal pain is a sensation of pain in the abdominal region that often does not originate from a clearly circumscribed location.

2 Classification

2.1 ...by location

Depending on the location of the pain it can be differentiated between:

3 ...by pain quality

Abdominal pain can have different pain qualities that can indicate the cause of the problem:

  • dull
  • cutting/piercing
  • spasmodic/convulsive

4 Causes

The causes for abdominal pain are manifold and are often hard to locate. Possible causes are:

5 Differential diagnoses

The most common causes for abdominal pain are functional or somatoform disorders, 10-20% of all cases have an underlying somatic cause. Depending on the location, the following differential diagnoses apply:

5.1 Pain in the upper abdomen / epigastric pain

5.2 Middle abdominal pain

5.3 Lower abdominal pain / hypogastric pain

...in female patients:

5.4 Flank pain

6 Complications

A possible complication that can develop is an acute abdomen with peritonitis, muscular defense and reduced general condition.

see also: Differential diagnosis: Acute abdomen

7 References

  • M. Spalek: "Medizin kompakt"; Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag; 1. Auflage (26. April 2011); ISBN: 3769112881

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