Abdominal pain is one of the most common reasons for visiting Emergency Services. It’s important that you tell your doctor about your abdominal pain as it can be related to a wide variety of conditions.
Common Causes of Abdominal Pain in Adults
There are a wide range of conditions that are can cause abdominal pain. Some of these conditions include: gastroenteritis, gastritis, peptic ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an excessively painful period (dysmenorrhea), pelvic inflammatory disease, salpingitis, appendicitis, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, intestinal obstruction, mesenteric adenitis, diverticulitis, pancreatitis, ureterolithiasis, incarcerated hernias, gas entrapment syndromes and ischemic bowel disease.
As you can see from the list, a lot of these conditions are serious.
Is Your Abdominal Pain IBS-Related?
IBS affects twice as many women as men and stress plays a large part in the severity of your IBS symptoms. IBS sufferers describe their abdominal pain as anything ranging from a vague discomfort to an intense sharp colicky pain.
It’s most often situated in the lower left quadrant (this is most common) or right quadrant of your abdomen or around the middle of your abdomen (near the belly button). Sometimes you do notice it in the upper left quadrant.
The pain can move from the front to the back of the body. This sort of pain often has been going on for quite some time – new pain that has suddenly appeared is unlikely to be IBS.
Often the pain will go away after you have passed a stool (defacated). You might also have other symptoms: constipation or constipating alternating with diarrhoea; stools that are small (they look like rabbit droppings – hard and dry); or you might find it difficult to pass your stool.
Look Out for These Warning Signs
You must consult your doctor if this is new pain and if it feels different to what your pain normally feels like. Other signs to be on the look out for include: unintentional weight loss, blood or mucus in your stool, fever, vomiting for longer than a few hours or any family history of bowel disease.