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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Abdominal Pain, Age 12 and Older
The cause of abdominal problems can be hard
to pinpoint. Sometimes minor and serious abdominal problems start with the same
symptoms. Fortunately, most abdominal problems are minor, and home treatment is
all that is needed.
Many times the exact
cause of abdominal pain is hard to find. The severity of your pain, its
location, and other symptoms you have may help determine what is causing the
Occasionally, severe pain that comes on suddenly may be a
symptom of a rupture of the stomach or intestines (perforation),
torsion of the testicle or
gallbladder disease, or blood vessel problems, such as
aortic aneurysm. The pain caused by appendicitis or
gallbladder disease may increase when you move or cough. Pain that increases
with movement or coughing and does not appear to be caused by strained muscles
is more likely to be a symptom of a serious problem. A visit to a doctor is usually needed when
severe abdominal pain comes on suddenly, or when new and
different mild pain slowly becomes more severe over several hours or
After a minor
abdominal injury, pain, nausea, or vomiting may occur
but often gets better in a few minutes. Pain and other symptoms that continue,
increase, or develop following an injury may mean an abdominal organ has been
medicines can cause abdominal pain. Some medicines
also cause side effects, such as constipation, that can make abdominal pain
Specific abdominal symptoms have been linked to ovarian cancer. These symptoms include abdominal or
pelvic pain, increased abdominal size or bloating, and trouble eating or
feeling full quickly. If you have one or more of these symptoms, and it occurs almost daily for more than 2 or 3 weeks, talk with your doctor.
your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
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Most of the time, abdominal pain
improves with home treatment and you do not need a visit to a doctor. Specific home treatment for abdominal pain often depends on the
symptoms you have along with the pain, such as diarrhea or nausea and
If you have mild abdominal pain without other symptoms,
try the following:
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
Abdominal pain can often be
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to
answer the following questions:
January 9, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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