Many different conditions can cause pain in the abdomen. The source can be as simple as gas or a pulled abdominal muscle, or it could be as serious as pain radiating to the abdomen from a heart attack.
Dysfunction in any one of the organs can lead to abdominal pain. Injury to organs in the digestive system, such as the esophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small and large intestine, and appendix, can all lead to this type of pain. It can also arise from conditions outside the digestive system, such as menstrual cramps or complications with pregnancy.
With so many possibilities, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the actual cause.
Fortunately, the majority of abdominal pain is minor and can be treated at home. Home treatment usually centers symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and heartburn.
To treat minor pain:
- Rest and drink plenty of fluids.
- Eat small meals and avoid spicy foods and foods high in fat such as fried foods.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
Seek medical attention for:
- Pain that becomes severe and/or intrudes on sleep, concentration and exercise or other activities
- Pain that localizes in one area of the abdomen and lasts longer than two hours
- Abdominal pain that occurs with chest pain
- Pain that occurs after an injury, such as a sports collision or an automobile accident.
- Pain that lasts longer than several days.