Salamat Dok: What causes abdominal pain?

By Gerald Belandres, M.D., Salamat Dok contributor

Posted at Apr 25 2014 05:22 PM | Updated as of Apr 26 2014 01:22 AM

Abdominal pain is described as pain or discomfort that a person feels anywhere between the lower chest (diaphragm) to the distal groin.

Doctors evaluate the abdominal discomfort according to its location, quality or type, and intensity. The location is important to detect the anatomical structures involved.

The abdomen can be divided into nine equal areas. Further questions are asked by the physician like "Does it radiate?", "Where does the pain originate?", or "Is it acute or severe?"

There are several types of pain. Among them are sharp, dull, stabbing, tearing, cramps, twisting, pressure, and bloating.

The type of pain may be further described as constant, intermittent and variable. The doctor often inquires about the intensity of the pain though the Pain Scale Chart, usually on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as severe.

Here are the diseases that we commonly encounter associated with abdominal pain:

• Dyspepsia (di natunawan) – Indigestion is a term used to describe one or more symptoms including a feeling of fullness during a meal, uncomfortable fullness after a meal, and burning or pain in the upper abdomen. Most people are guilty of it. A patient can be diagnosed through simple medical history. This can be treated by Domperidone tablet for a better bowel movement. And one should be advised to take time to chew food and eat in small frequent meals.

• Gastritis - this occurs when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed or swollen. This is maybe due to hyperacidity. Prolong gastritis may cause gastric perforated ulcers. Continues intake of strong medications may aggravate it. Gastoscopy is performed to diagnose it. Antacids may relieve the pain. Sour food, smoking and alcohol drinking should be avoided.

• Cholelithiasis (bato sa apdo) - Gallstones are hard, pebble-like deposits that form inside the gallbladder. They are common in women. Stones are made of cholesterol, which are by far the most common type. Pain in the right upper abdomen which is constant, sharp, cramping, or dull, may radiate at the back or below the right shoulder blade. The patient may experience fever and jaundice. Ultrasound is needed to view the gallbladder. This is a surgical abdomen. Cholecystectomy is the procedure to undergo.

• Appendicitis - a condition in which the appendix becomes swollen and inflamed. The appendix is a small pouch shaped like a small finger. It is on the right lower side of the abdomen, connected to the colon. Appendicitis may be suppurative or ruptured. Both are surgically managed. The triad of the disease is fever, pain at the right lower quadrant (RLQ), and loss of appetite. Complete blood count shows high white blood cells which means there is an infection.

• Urinary tract infection - an infection in any part of your urinary system that includes kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Women are at greater risk of developing UTI than men. This is described as hypogastric pain with dysuria. Urinalysis is done to reveal infection. UTI is treated with an antibiotic for a week.

Abdominal pain is managed medically and surgically. This is a serious condition that cannot be taken for granted. See your doctor. – Multimedia Producer: Yam dela Cruz

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