Abdominal pain is pain that occurs between the chest and pelvic regions. Abdominal pain can be crampy, achy, dull, intermittent or sharp. Abdominal pain has many possible causes. The most common causes — such as gas pains, indigestion or a pulled muscle — aren't usually serious. The location and type of pain can help determine the cause and severity of the abdominal pain. Chronic abdominal pain may be occasional, meaning it may come and go. This type of pain may be present for weeks to months, or even years. Some conditions cause progressive pain, which gets worse over time.
Pain that comes on suddenly may be called acute. Acute abdominal pain develops and often goes away, over a few hours to a few days. The different conditions that cause acute abdominal pain are usually accompanied by other symptoms and develop over hours to days. Causes can range from minor conditions that resolve without any treatment to serious medical emergencies.
Longer-standing pain is called chronic. The specific cause of chronic abdominal pain is often difficult to determine. Symptoms may range from mild to severe, coming and going but not necessarily worsening over time.
Track Your Pain
Abdominal pain may go along with other symptoms. Keep track your symptoms because this will help the doctor find the cause of your pain. Doctors have different words to describe the different types of pain you can feel in the gut. General pain terms may be sharp or stabbing, crampy or a general dull ache. Doctors may also be interested in whether the pain seems to be traveling (radiating) in a certain direction. Having this information and putting it together with other information (such as whether you have been being sick (vomiting) or have had diarrhea, etc.) will help the doctor work out what is wrong.
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