Abdominal pain overview

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Abdominal pain Microchapters

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Patient Information

Overview

Classification

Pathophysiology

Causes

Diffuse Abdominal Pain
Left Upper Quadrant
Left Flank
Left Lower Quadrant
Epigastric Quadrant
Umbilical Region
Pelvic Region
Right Upper Quadrant
Right Flank
Right Lower Quadrant
Intraperitoneal
Extraperitoneal

Differentiating Abdominal pain from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors

Screening

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis

Diagnosis

History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings

Electrocardiogram

X Ray

CT

Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies

Treatment

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Case #1

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Risk calculators and risk factors for Abdominal pain

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

Abdominal pain can be one of the symptoms associated with many transient disorders or serious diseases. Making a definitive diagnosis of the cause of abdominal pain can be difficult because many diseases present with this symptom, abdominal pain is a common problem. Most frequently the cause of the pain is benign and/or self-limited, but in cases of serious causes urgent intervention may be required.

Classification

Abdominal pain can be classified into three categories: acute abdomen, recurrent, and chronic functional. Abdominal pain is traditionally described by its chronicity (acute or chronic), progression over time, nature (sharp, dull, colicky), characterization of the factors that worsen or alleviate pain, and distribution of the pain.

Causes

The causes of abdominal pain vary with the distribution of the pain. The distribution can be determined by various methods, such as abdominal quadrants. Other methods exist that divide the abdomen into nine sections.

Differentiating Abdominal pain from other Diseases

Chronic functional abdominal pain is quite similar to, but less common than, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and many of the same treatments for IBS can also be of benefit to those with CFAP. The fundamental difference between IBS and CFAP is that in CFAP, unlike in IBS, there is no change in bowel habits such as constipation or diarrhea. Bowel dysfunction is a necessary diagnostic criteria of IBS.

Diagnosis

Physical Examination

When a physician assesses a patient to determine the etiology and subsequent treatment for abdominal pain, the patient's history of the presenting complaint and their physical examination should derive a diagnosis in over 90% of cases. It is important also for a physician to remember that abdominal pain can be caused by problems outside the abdomen, especially heart attacks and pneumonias which can occasionally present as abdominal pain.

Electrocardiogram

An electrocardiograph is needed to rule out a heart attack, which can occasionally present as abdominal pain.

X Ray

Imaging including an erect chest X-ray and plain films of the abdomen can aid in the diagnosis of the disorder causing the abdominal pain.

References



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