Abdominal pain can have various causes. Showing yourself differently. Read what often causes abdominal pain and what can be done then.
Everyone has probably had abdominal pain at some time or other. Mostly they are harmless. But they can also be a symptom of more serious diseases. Read here what causes abdominal pain can have and how they can be treated.
What is abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain occurs quite frequently. No wonder, the causes can be manifold. The abdomen extends from the lower rib arches down to the groin region. This means that there are any number of organs that could be causing the abdominal pain:
– Digestive organs such as the intestines, stomach or liver – Urinary organs such as the kidneys or urinary bladder – In women, also the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes
If one of these organs is actually the cause of the abdominal pain, it is usually due to a serious illness that should be examined by a doctor. Usually, serious abdominal pain accompanies other symptoms such as
fever, diarrhea or vomiting. Often, however, abdominal pain is harmless and merely the result of a meal that is too rich or too fatty, or of food that has temporarily overwhelmed the digestive system.
The abdominal pain itself can be just as varied as the trigger: there are minor and severe abdominal pains, mild gastric distress, violent abdominal cramps and colicky abdominal pain, abdominal pain in the upper abdomen, in the lower abdomen, in the middle or in the entire abdomen. The pain can be dull, stabbing, pulling, permanent or wave-like.
In addition, physicians distinguish between acute and chronic abdominal pain. Acute abdominal pain occurs abruptly; abdominal pain is considered chronic if it persists for more than three months. They can be felt throughout or come and go again and again.
Abdominal pain: Causes
"I have abdominal pain. What can it be?" – The question is not always easy to answer. This is because abdominal pain is a so-called non-specific symptom, which means that it cannot be clearly assigned to a cause or disease.
For example, cramps that increase like contractions, so-called abdominal colics, can be an indication of problems with the kidneys as well as with the ureter, pancreas or gallbladder.
In addition, abdominal pain can occur due to comparatively harmless causes, for example after intense endurance training or when you eat foods that are difficult to digest. However, they are often also caused by serious, sometimes even life-threatening illnesses, such as acute abdominal pain (also known as abdominal pain by doctors) Acute abdomen called). These are sudden, severe abdominal pains that can occur as a result of, and are therefore a warning sign of, intestinal infarction, peritonitis or rupture of the fallopian tubes, among other things, and are a medical emergency.
Abdominal pain can often be localized to a specific area, which can give doctors valuable clues about the cause. Attention: The location of the pain does not always correspond to the location of its origin!
Causes of lower abdominal pain
Abdominal pain in the lower abdomen often originates in the intestines. However, there are also other triggers for lower abdominal pain.
Bladder infection and other urinary tract infections: Abdominal pain can occur with cystitis. They are then rather crampy and burning. In ureteral colic, the pain is severe and wavelike.
Appendicitis: In appendicitis, abdominal pain usually comes on suddenly and is severe. They typically move from the navel to the lower abdomen, affected persons then feel the abdominal pain on the lower right side. They become stronger with shock (sneezing, walking or bouncing) or with prere. In addition, appendicitis patients often have a fever, feel nauseous, and vomit.
Chronic inflammatory bowel disease: Also right down chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease (diarrhea, crampy abdominal pain and fever) or ulcerative colitis (severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea) make themselves felt.
Gynecological organs: Abdominal pain in the lower left in women can indicate an ectopic pregnancy or ovarian inflammation – but here the pain can also be located on the right or throughout the abdomen. Typically they are dull and pulling.
Kidney problems: Renal pelvic inflammation or kidney stones are usually accompanied by severe, colicky pain in the lower abdomen, sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Affected persons also often have pain during urination, fever and chills during renal pelvic inflammation. Depending on the location of the kidney stone in the ureter, it may also cause pain in the back.
Prostatitis: With this also
Prostatitis In addition to problems or pain during urination and pain in the area of the perineum (the area between the external genitals and the anus), anus and back, as well as a constant urge to urinate, the above-mentioned disease can also cause abdominal pain. Irritable bowel: The abdominal pain here is diffuse, and sufferers often experience a feeling of prere in the lower abdomen and in the left or right upper abdomen. In addition, the irritable bowel, in which the intestinal movements are disturbed and the intestinal mucosa is particularly sensitive to irritation, often makes itself felt with back pain, flatulence and bubbling in the abdomen. Abdominal pain often persists before bowel movements and diminishes thereafter. The feces are often hard or mixed with mucus; affected persons may have the feeling that the stool has not been completely emptied.
Causes of upper abdominal pain
For abdominal pain in the upper abdomen are often, but not exclusively, responsible the organs that are located there. Accordingly, abdominal pain above may be due to the following causes, among others.
Bile problems: In gallstones, abdominal pain often occurs after high-fat meals. Affected persons usually feel the abdominal pain on the upper right side. Depending on the size and location of the gallstones, the pain can be more or less intense. Even if this develops into biliary colic, for example because gallstones are shooting the outlet of the gallbladder, the pain is usually located in the upper abdomen and back, the pain sometimes radiates there.
Liver damage: The liver is located in the right upper abdomen. A frequent sign that something is wrong with it is therefore cramps and a feeling of prere or abdominal pain in this area. Liver diseases include, for example, cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, alcohol damage or acute liver failure. Other typical accompanying symptoms of liver disease are a drop in performance and fatigue.
Pneumonia: Especially in children, a symptom of pneumonia is abdominal pain. They have difficulty breathing, breathing is faster than normal. Other signs include chills, fever and coughing. In adults, the symptoms of pneumonia are similar, abdominal pain either if the pneumonia is a result of Legionnaire's disease, a severe form of pneumonia, or there is a stomach ache because the lungs are close to the upper abdomen and painful.
Stomach disorders: Various stomach diseases become noticeable in the upper abdomen, for example an irritable stomach, gastrointestinal infections, stomach cancer or a
Gastritis (medical Gastritis called). Trigger for severe abdominal pain in the upper left. Middle can also be a stomach ulcer. reflux disease: Here, the closure mechanism of the lower esophageal sphincter is disturbed. This causes more acidic stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. Patients often experience heartburn and abdominal pain or a feeling of prere behind the sternum, as well as possibly an irritable cough and (painful) difficulty swallowing.
Causes of abdominal pain middle
Pain localized in the middle of the upper abdomen or in the lower abdomen may also have different causes. For example, the "culprit" can be the pancreas, duodenum or belly button when you get such abdominal pain.
Pancreas, acute inflammation: An acute
Pancreatitis causes sudden, severe pain in the upper abdomen. This is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Often, mid abdominal pain and back pain occur at the same time, the pain stretches around the trunk in a belt-like pattern. Such acute pancreatitis is often the result of heavy alcohol consumption or gallstones, when they block the exit of the pancreas. Gastrointestinal tract disorders: Abdominal pain and vomiting/nausea often indicate gastrointestinal disorders, for example a gastrointestinal infection caused by bacteria or viruses. Such stomach pain or abdominal pain can occur in the upper, lower or even in the entire abdomen.
Ulcer in the duodenum: It typically triggers cramp-like abdominal pain in the middle. They are dull, stabbing or pressing and often radiate to the left side of the body. A typical symptom of a duodenal ulcer is also the so-called "gastric spasm"
hunger- or Fasting pain, which subsides when the affected person eats something. Umbilical colic and umbilical hernia: Recurrent severe abdominal pain around the belly button that has no tangible cause and usually lasts only between one minute and one hour could indicate umbilical colic. This mainly affects children between three and ten years of age. An umbilical hernia, on the other hand, in which the navel swells and bulges, usually remains painless until it grows larger or complications develop. If the umbilical hernia turns blue, fever, sudden severe abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting occur, this may mean that the intestine is trapped – there is a risk of a life-threatening
Intestinal obstruction develops.
Causes of pain in the whole abdomen
Often sufferers have a hard time locating abdominal pain. Even constipation can feel like the entire abdomen hurts; gastrointestinal infections can also cause abdominal pain throughout the abdomen. Abdominal pain. Psyche are connected. Especially people who have a sensitive stomach and/or intestines anyway often react to stress with irritations of the digestive system, for example, abdominal pain with flatulence or abdominal pain with diarrhea can be a signal that the psychological prere is too great. Intestinal infarction: Severe abdominal pain that feels like a knife stabbing, as well as vomiting, bloating, diarrhea and blood in the stool can be symptoms of the first stage of a dangerous intestinal infarction. These shooting pains change in the further course to dull pains, in the third phase the intestine closes, the oxygen supply is cut off. In severe cases, an intestinal infarction is life-threatening!
Food poisoning: If you eat food that is contaminated with bacteria, viruses or other pathogens, this usually manifests itself as cramping abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea.
Causes of abdominal pain after eating
If you have abdominal pain after eating from time to time, you probably just ate something hard to digest. High-fiber foods or raw foods, for example. Abdominal pain after lentils and other legumes, a large bowl of salad or a cabbage meal is usually harmless and disappears on its own. If the abdominal pain occurs after drinking coffee, it may be due to the acid contained in it. Stomach pains after a fatty meal, on the other hand, can be both harmless. Merely signs of an overtaxed digestive tract. But they can also be a symptom of serious illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome or gastritis.
If you regularly experience abdominal pain after eating certain foods, this may be due to a food intolerance. Abdominal pain after milk or abdominal pain after cheese (from cow's milk) may indicate lactose intolerance, abdominal pain and bloating after eating fruit may be caused by fructose intolerance, and if the stomach reacts badly to bread and rolls, the body may not be able to cope with gluten.
Causes of abdominal pain in women
In women, pregnancy as well as the menstrual cycle can trigger abdominal pain, but it can also be a sign of a heart attack or gynecological problems.
Endometriosis: Abdominal pain during menstruation but also without menstruation can be caused by endometriosis. In this case, uterine mucosa settles outside the uterus.
Heart attack: Especially in older women, the symptoms of a heart attack are atypical. The severe pain in the chest (
Destruction pain) occurs less frequently, but rather a feeling of prere or tightness, often accompanied by upper abdominal and back pain, nausea and vomiting, and shortness of breath. Period: In this case, abdominal pain becomes noticeable a few days before menstruation begins. They then intensify and disappear again two to three days after the end of menstruation. They can be sharp, dull or crampy. They often radiate to the back as well. Noticeable weeks before menstruation begins. Usually disappears after one or two days.
Attention: Cycle-related pain can often be relieved with hormonal contraception. If you get abdominal pain despite taking the pill, this could be an alarm signal that something is wrong, for example that an ovarian cyst has formed or the fallopian tube is inflamed.
Pregnancy: Some women also experience abdominal pain when they are pregnant. Lower abdominal pain and abdominal cramps in early pregnancy occur, for example, because the fetus is growing and the uterus and surrounding tie structures must expand. During pregnancy, in addition to abdominal pain, back pain often occurs, namely when, for example, the statics of the spine change due to weight gain and a hollow back develops. In an ectopic pregnancy, the egg does not nest in the uterus but in the fallopian tube. In the sixth to ninth week of pregnancy, spotting or abdominal pain (lower abdomen), usually on the side of the body of the ectopic pregnancy, may occur as a sign of this false implantation.
Abdominal pain: other causes
In addition to the above causes, abdominal pain can also occur after an enema, if you do not perform it properly. Other symptoms that something went wrong with the enema can be nausea and dehydration, but also severe side effects such as kidney failure.
Abdominal pain after or during sports is also a quite common (athlete) problem, especially when it comes to endurance athletes. For example, abdominal pain is a common phenomenon during running, especially when athletes exert themselves intensely or for very long periods of time (such as during a marathon).
Could be caused by less blood flow to the intestines because the focus was instead on supplying energy to the muscles. Vibration, such as when running, or improper diet during exercise can also trigger abdominal pain.
Abdominal pain that feels like sore muscles, on the other hand, usually has nothing to do with sports. These occur for example during pregnancy on when there is a lot of strain on the maternal ligaments. These are strong strands of muscle fibers that help keep the uterus upright. When these expand because they grow along with the uterus, this can manifest itself in stretching pain. The alleged abdominal pain is more noticeable during movement, at rest it often subsides. Such a stretching pain is usually harmless, but expectant mothers should still inform their gynecologist or midwife so that they can rule out a serious cause.