Welcome to Episode 85

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Tip of the Week– Anatomy of Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain, otherwise known as  stomach pain, belly ache, and abdominal cramps is one of the most common complaints of patients seeking help inthe ER. In the U.S. Government Census Data on ER visits by diagnosis for the most recent year tracked (2005), Abdominal pain figures are high on the list for adults.

Abdominal pain is usually a symptom of an underlying problem. It can range in intensity from a mild stomach ache to severe acute pain. Since there are a lot of organs in the abdominal cavity, it is difficult to pinpoint right then and there the exact cause of the pain. Sometimes, other conditions not related to the organs in the abdominal region like shingles, pnuemonias, and black widow spider bite can cause pain in the abdomen.

There are some things to consider to further identify the cause of abdominal pain such as the characteristics (sharp, dull, stabbing, cramp-like, knifelike, twisting, or piercing), frequency ( brief, lasting for a few minutes, or it may persist for several hours and longer), intensity, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, vomiting or diarrhea.

In infants, prolonged unexplained crying (often called “colic”) may be caused by abdominal pain that may end with the passage of gas or stool. Colic is often worse in the evening. Cuddling and rocking the child may bring some relief.

Mild abdominal pain can be relieved by home remedies like taking sips of water, hot packs, temporary diet modification and taking over-the-counter medications including antacids and H2 Blockers.  However, these only treat the symptoms of abdominal pain, not the cause. Specific treatment can only be instituted after the specific cause has been identified through diagnostic tests.

For more information, click on the links below

Abdominal Pain in Children by eMedicineHealth

Abdominal Pain in Adults by eMedicineHealth

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia


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