Types of Abdominal Pain


Most individuals experience abdominal pain at some point in their lives. Abdominal pain ranges from mild to severe. Individuals may experience cramping, sharp stabbing pain, aching, dull pain or bloating pain. While most abdominal pain is not a cause for worry, it can be a sign of a serious condition. The location and pattern of pain provides useful information in obtaining a proper diagnosis.

Types of abdominal pain

Types of abdominal pain include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Localized abdominal pain is limited to a certain area. Causes can include stomach ulcers or internal organ complications.
  • Cramp-like abdominal pain normally comes and goes. Causes can include diarrhea, constipation, bloating and/or flatulence. Cramp-like pain can also indicate issues with female reproductive organs, menstruation or miscarriage.
  • Colicky abdominal pain typically occurs suddenly and is usually severe. Gallstones or kidney stones may be the cause.
  • Acute abdominal pain can be caused by several medical conditions including, but not limited to, stomach flu, appendicitis, cystitis, diverticulitis, ectopic pregnancy, heart attack, intestinal obstruction, kidney infection or stones, abdominal aneurysm, urinary tract infection, injury, liver problems, pancreatitis, pleurisy, pneumonia, ruptured spleen, shingles, spleen infection, and colon infection or tear.
  • Chronic abdominal pain may come and go but can also last for years. This type of abdominal pain is often hard to diagnose. The pain ranges from mild to severe. Causes include, but are not limited to, angina, celiac disease, endometriosis, gallstones, gastritis, acid reflux, hernias, irritable bowel syndrome, ovarian cysts, ulcers, sickle cell anemia, pulled muscle or ulcerative colitis.
  • Progressive abdominal pain worsens over time and is usually a serious condition. Other symptoms usually develop. Causes include, but are not limited to, cancer, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis, lead poisoning, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ovarian abscess or uremia.

When emergency treatment may be needed

Individuals should seek immediate treatment if they experience severe abdominal pain with fever, bloody stool, difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, vomiting blood, weight loss, yellowish skin, tenderness or swelling.

Did you find this helpful?
You may also like