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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Abdominal Distress

Abdominal Distress

Alternate Names : Abdominal Pain, Abdominal Discomfort

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Abdominal distress refers to any pain or discomfort in the abdomen.

What is going on in the body?

Abdominal distress is a very common complaint. There are many different reasons why a person might have abdominal problems, and the exact cause is not always clear. Symptoms may be mild and of no great concern, or they may signal a life-threatening condition.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Abdominal distress often comes from the gut, or the gastrointestinal tract. It may also come from other organs or tissues inside the abdomen. Other times, conditions totally outside the abdomen, such as a lung infection, cause abdominal distress.

Possible causes of abdominal distress include:

  • bleeding into the abdominal wall muscles
  • bowel or abdominal infections, such as diverticulitis or appendicitis
  • cancer
  • inflammation of the abdominal lining, known as peritonitis
  • inflammation of the pancreas, usually due to alcohol use, infection, or drug use
  • injury or strain to the abdominal wall muscles
  • sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as gonococcal infections
  • A healthcare provider's main concern is making sure the pain is not caused by a life-threatening condition. For instance, appendicitis can result in death if not treated fairly quickly.


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    Abdominal Distress: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/25/01

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