Abdominal Pain

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Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is common, varies in nature with many different causes. As a group of abdominal specialists with regular clinics and access to a range of diagnostic tests we can provide prompt accurate diagnosis. We will then be well placed to discuss and implement the most appropriate management of your condition.


Some of the reasons you might experience abdominal pain are:

Indigestion (or heartburn) is an uncomfortable burning sensation rising from the upper abdomen or lower chest into the throat and neck.

It is sometimes accompanied by an unpleasant taste in the back of the mouth. Indigestion is caused by stomach acid leaking up into the oesophagus, which may be the result of Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), occurring when the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus becomes weakened.

Oesophagitis is irritation of the lining of the oesophagus often caused by Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. It is due to acid leaking up into the oesophagus due to weakening of the ring of muscle separating the oesophagus and stomach.

The symptoms include indigestion, pain on swallowing a cough or hoarseness. If left untreated it can cause Barrett’s oesophagus, which results in changes in the cells lining of the oesophagus and an increased risk of oesophageal cancer.

Gastritis is inflammation in the stomach, usually caused by excess acid.

Stones in the gallbladder cause irritation and pain in the right upper part of your abdomen.

The stones can move with the bile into the tube to the bowel and cause jaundice (yellowness of the skin) by blocking the tube, infection and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas gland).

Bowel spasms are most commonly caused by irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is most commonly associated by increased sensitivity of the bowel which in addition to colicy pain can cause bloating and urgency to pass looser stool which typically relieves the pain. IBS can also be associated with slower bowel transit causing constipation.

Another cause of recurrent abdominal pain is inflammatory bowel disease. IBD is caused by inflammation of any part of the digestive tract, most commonly the large then small bowel . Types of IBD include: Ulcerative colitis, which causes inflammation and ulcers in the innermost lining of your large bowel including the rectum; and Crohn’s disease which is inflammation of the lining of any part of the digestive tract which often spreads deep into affected tissues. IBD can be a severe, life-altering condition,. In addition to abdominal pain other symptoms include severe diarrhoea, bleeding, fatigue and weight loss.

Diverticular disease is benign outpouchings through weak areas in the muscle of the large bowel. This can cause pain from inflammation (diverticulitis) or perforation as well as bleeding or narrowing from accumulation of scar tissue.

A blockage in the bowel can also cause pain. In addition to diverticular disease and inflammatory bowel disease other causes are cancer, adhesions (scar tissue) and hernias.

Other organs that can cause pain in the abdomen include the urinary tract, pancreas gland, female pelvic organs and related condition of endometriosis.

Rare causes of abdominal pain include referred pain from the spine, blood conditions and tumours of connective tissue.

Sudden Severe Abdominal Pain

This is usually caused by inflammation of one of the abdominal organs, which can progress rapidly to infection and perforation.

The most common causes are inflammation of the appendix (appendicitis), diverticular disease (diverticulitis) and gallbladder (cholecystitis). It is important these conditions are treated urgently before they progress; if you have a sudden onset of abdominal pain you should attend an emergency department as a priority for urgent assessment.

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