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Abdominal Pain

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Last updated November 18, 2021

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What is abdominal pain?

Abdominal (belly) pain can range from mild achiness to uncomfortable stomach cramps, to severe, stabbing pain.

Common causes of abdominal pain include eating foods that can irritate your stomach, constipation, food poisoning, or a stomach infection.

Pregnant people may experience stomach pain as the fetus grows. Menstrual cramps are also a very common cause of abdominal pain.

Sometimes abdominal pain is constant. In this case, a chronic digestive illness, such as irritable bowel disease, may be the cause.

Most abdominal pain goes away on its own within a few hours or a couple of days. Changing what you eat and taking over-the-counter medication can help with symptoms while you recover.

Severe abdominal pain

Severe, or acute, abdominal pain is intense pain that develops all of the sudden and does not go away. Unlike cramps or an upset stomach, acute abdominal pain can be so intense that you may not be able to rest or relax.

The pain may just be in one part of the belly or it may affect the entire area. You’ll likely also have other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, bloody stool, dizziness, feeling lightheaded, or fever.

Most causes of acute abdominal pain are very serious and considered medical emergencies. If you are showing severe abdomen pain, go to the ER right away.

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