Abdominal Pain

Signs & Symptoms   |    Causes   |    Treatment   |    Questions to Ask   |    Self-Care/Prevention

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The abdomen is the body region between the lower ribs and the pelvis. Many vital organs make up this body region.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Signs & Symptoms

•  Mild to severe pain. It can feel dull or sharp.

•  Acute (sudden) pain.

•  Chronic pain. This is constant pain or pain that recurs over time.

The type of pain, its location, and other symptoms that come with it point to the cause.


Abdominal pain can be a symptom of a problem that affects any of the organs. Causes of abdominal pain include:

•  Artery diseases, such as a blocked artery or an aneurysm.

•  Celiac disease.

•  Constipation.

•  Crohn’s disease.

•  Food poisoning.

•  Gallstones.

•  Heartburn. Indigestion.

•  Infections, such as ones in the digestive tract and urinary tract.

•  Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

•  Kidney stones.

•  Menstrual cramps or ovarian cysts in females.

•  Reflux.

•  Stomach ulcers.


Treatment depends on the cause. The key is knowing when it’s just a minor problem like a mild stomach ache or when it’s something worse. Pain that persists can be a sign of a medical condition or illness. Very severe abdominal pain usually needs immediate medical care.

Questions to Ask

Self-Care / Prevention

•  Find a comfortable position. Relax.

•  Take an over-the-counter pain medicine as directed on the label.

•  Apply a heating pad set on low (adults only).

•  Don’t wear clothes that fit tight.

•  Don’t exercise too hard.

•  Use a hot water bottle on the area that aches.

Crohn’s Disease is a chronic problem that can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Other symptoms are fever, fatigue, and, at times, rectal bleeding or drainage. Symptoms occur when the disease flares up. This is followed by periods when symptoms go away or lessen.


With Crohn’s disease, any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, can be inflamed. Usually, the colon and the last part of the small intestine, the ileum, are affected.


Treatment for Crohn’s disease includes medicines, nutrition supplements, and surgery.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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