Abdominal pain: the basics covered

Written by: Dr Aamir Saleem
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

Abdominal pain is discomfort or pain felt in the area between the chest and pelvis. It can range from mild to severe and can be caused by various conditions such as digestive issues, infections, inflammation, or organ problems. The pain's nature and location often help diagnose its cause. Leading consultant gastroenterologist Dr Aamir Saleem explains the key points you need to know about abdominal pain.



What are the leading causes of abdominal pain?


The leading causes of abdominal pain include the following conditions and symptoms:



The severity and duration of these conditions can vary. They are often associated with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Additionally, any slight changes in bowel habits, particularly the presence of blood, should be taken seriously and warrant further investigation to identify the cause and enable early diagnosis and management.


Who is more prone to abdominal pain?


The following groups of people are more prone to developing abdominal pain which warrants medical attention:


  • Those with a high BMI.
  • Those who have had multiple surgeries in the past.
  • Those with a family history of the medical attention.


However, the majority of the conditions can develop without any risk factors and with the cause remaining unknown, it becomes imperative to get it investigated thoroughly to exclude any underlying, potentially treatable condition early


When is considered too long for abdominal pain?


Although it is advised not to wait too long for any condition to prevail and avoid complications, if you experience any of the following symptoms alongside abdominal pain, should raise alarm bells and prompt immediate investigation:  


  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Spiking temperature.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Unexplained diarrhoea with blood.
  • Lethargy.
  • Tiredness.


Delaying diagnosis can lead to unnecessary surgical interventions, particularly in cases of inflammatory bowel disease. On the other hand, delayed surgery is often associated with complications and poor recovery.


When should I worry about abdominal pain?


One should start worrying about the abdominal pain if it is beginning to get progressively worse with nausea ,vomiting ,temperature and not settling down with simple analgesia .Constipation and urinary tract infection ,inguinal hernia ,stones in the gall bladder and kidney can all be contributive and give rise to intermittent symptoms can lead to an emergency if not detected in time



Abdominal pain should become a concern if it progressively worsens, is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and fever, and does not improve with simple pain relief. Conditions such as constipation, urinary tract infections, inguinal hernia, and stones in the gallbladder or kidneys can contribute to intermittent symptoms and may lead to an emergency if not promptly detected.





If you are suffering from abdominal pain and would like to book a consultation with Dr Aamir Saleem, you can do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile today.

By Dr Aamir Saleem

Dr Aamir Saleem is a consultant gastroenterologist based at James Paget University Hospital. He is a lead in inflammatory bowel disease and the upper GI lead in his own trust. He is also an honorary lecturer in digestive diseases for University of East Anglia.

Dr Saleem is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians UK. He has presented and published widely in the field of inflammatory bowel disease, H pylori, and celiac disease. He has performed research in gastric polyps and has been awarded doctorate in medicine by Trinity College Dublin after receiving full training and accreditation in gastroenterology from the Royal College in Ireland.

He has successfully undertaken fellowship in advanced therapeutic endoscopy at the Barts Royal Hospital London. Five years on from establishing Perfect Poop Ltd, he continues to provide a personalised, effective, reputable, fastrack, empathetic, caring and timely service in the field of digestive diseases to the community of the Norfolk and Waveney area as reflected by very positive feedback. 

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