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A common question that patients pose is “Why does my stomach hurt?” Abdominal pain can be caused by a wide range of health problems and is a very common symptom. This article is intended only for educational purposes and not as a diagnostic tool. Please, see your physician if you are experience abdominal pain.


Abdominal Pain


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Abdominal pain is a pain that is felt anywhere below your chest and above the groin area. Other names for this pain include stomach ache, belly ache, abdominal pain, or abdominal cramps. Pretty much everyone experiences this every once and a while. It normally is not a sign of a serious medical condition.


Organs Located in the Abdomen


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There are a number of organs located in the abdomen and any one of these can be responsible for your “stomach” hurting. Most of the digestive system is here including the end of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines as well as the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. The aorta, appendix, kidneys and spleen are all here as well. On top of these organs, it is possible that the pain actually started somewhere else or that you have a generalized infection or illness that is affecting your whole body.


Types and Location of the Pain


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The severity of the pain is not always associated with the seriousness of the condition. For instance, gas can cause severe abdominal pain while potentially fatal appendicitis can cause no pain or just a mild ache.


Generalized pain is defined as a pain that affects more than half of the belly area. This is normally associated with such health problems as stomach virus, indigestion or gas.


Abdominal cramps can be due to gas or bloating and can be followed by diarrhea.


Localized pain can be a sign of a pain associated with a particular organ.


Colicky pain that comes in waves with a sudden onset and stopping point is usually associated with kidney stones or gallstones.


Causes of Abdominal Pain

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As stated above, there are a large number of health issues that can cause abdominal pain. These include, but are not limited to: excess gas, indigestion, stomach virus, a problem with one of the organs located in the abdomen like appendicitis or stomach ulcer, kidney stones or gallstones. Other causes include bowel blockage, chronic constipation, food allergy, food poisoning, heartburn, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lactose Intolerance.

If the pain lasts a long time or is associated with other symptoms like a fever or if you find yourself asking, “Why does my stomach hurt?” repeatedly, please see your doctor.