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Alternative namesAbdominal discomfort
Definition: Any pain or discomfort in the abdomen. The abdominal area is the area between your chest and groin, often referred to as the stomach region or belly. See abdominal pain , abdominal bloating , and excessive gas .
Diseases or problems with any of the organs that lie inside the abdominal cavity can lead to pain as well as other symptoms like change in bowel habits, nausea, or vomiting. The pain may be chronic or acute, crampy or sharp, and associated with abdominal rigidity (board-like stiffness). The latter suggests peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum, the thin membrane that lines the abdominal cavity) and may represent a ruptured organ.
Pain in the abdomen may also originate from somewhere else -- like your chest, pelvic region (the area just below the abdomen that houses the reproductive organs), or a generalized infection affecting many parts of your body (like the flu or strep throat).
Any sudden onset of abdominal pain should be evaluated right away by your doctor or an emergency room physician.
Reasons to call 911 or get safely to an emergency room include:
Update Date: 12/5/2003Jacqueline A. Hart, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Boston, Ma., and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT