Abdominal pain is pain that occurs between the chest and the pelvic regions. Abdominal pain can be crampy, achy, dull, or sharp. It’s also commonly referred to as a stomach ache.
Abdominal pain has many causes, and it may require an appointment with a trusted gastroenterologist. If you’re experiencing abdominal pain in Manhattan or throughout New York City, book an appointment with one of our trusted NYC Qwell gastroenterological GI doctors.
Abdominal pain is a symptom. It may mean that the person has a medical problem that needs treatment.
Abdominal pain may go along with other symptoms. Characteristics of the pain (for example, sharp, cramping, radiating), the location of the pain within the abdominal area, and its relation to eating, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea are all factors associated with symptoms.
Keep track of your symptoms because this will help the doctor find the cause of your pain. Make a special note if there is a sudden abdominal pain, severe abdominal pain after eating, or abdominal pain with diarrhea.
Abdominal pain can be acute and sudden in onset, or the pain can be chronic and longstanding. Abdominal pain may be minor and of no great significance, or it can reflect a major problem involving one of the organs in the abdomen. The characteristics of the pain — location, timing, duration, etc. are important in diagnosing its cause. Persisting abdominal pain should be evaluated by a physician.
Various causes of abdominal pain include, but are not limited to, indigestion indigestion after eating, gallstones and gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis), pregnancy, gas, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), appendicitis, ulcers, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pancreatitis, gastroenteritis (viral or bacterial), parasite infection, endometriosis, kidney stones (nephrolithiasis), abdominal muscle injury, abdominal hernia, lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance (celiac disease), food poisoning, menstrual cramps, peritonitis, serositis, ischemic bowel disease, vasculitis, abdominal aneurysm, abdominal organ injury from trauma, and constipation.
When you come in to see one of our NYC gastroenterologists, they will examine you on various characteristics including a physical examination. Our providers are likely to ask you a series of questions about the characteristics of the pain, the patterns and persistence of pain, and whether you have any underlying physical or mental conditions that could be contributing to your abdominal pain.
Diagnosis for abdominal pain may involve:
- Physical examination
- Laboratory tests — complete blood count (CBC), liver enzymes, pancreatic enzymes (amylase and lipase), pregnancy, and urinalysis tests
- Plain X-rays of the abdomen
- Radiographic studies
- Computerized tomography (CT) of the abdomen (this includes all organs and the intestines)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Barium X-rays
- Capsule endoscopy
- Endoscopic procedures, including esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) and Upper Endoscopy
- Colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
The treatment for abdominal pain depends on its cause. Treatments can range from medications for inflammation, GERD, or ulcers, to antibiotics for infections, to changes in personal behavior for abdominal pain caused by certain foods or beverages. In some cases, such as appendicitis and hernia, diagnostic tests, such as analyses of blood, urine, and stool samples, CT scans, and endoscopy, may be required to rule out or confirm a specific diagnosis, and surgery may be needed.
Treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Prescription medications for inflammation, GERD, ulcers, or general pain
- Low-dose antidepressants
- Changes in behavior, including elimination of certain foods or beverages that may be contributing to abdominal pain
- Surgery to remove intestinal blockages, hernia, or infected organs.
Qwell gastroenterologists are highly trusted providers based in New York City. Each provider has been recommended by other Qwell providers, providing you the ease of mind of finding a specialist and booking online. To learn more about your GI condition and treatment plans from our Qwell providers, please schedule an appointment with one of our providers throughout New York City with the button below.
Additional Sources for Patients: