Acute Abdomen Causes, Risk factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Products

(Acute abdominal pain, severe stomach pain, abdominal cramps, surgical abdomen)

What is Acute Abdomen (Definition)

“Acute abdomen” is the medical term used for pain in the abdomen that usually appears suddenly and is so severe that a person may have to go to the hospital. Unlike common abdominal pain, which can be caused by minor problems such as constipation or gas, acute abdominal pain can indicate a variety of more serious conditions, some of which require immediate medical care and / or surgery. Therefore, if you suspect you have this condition, immediately contact your doctor.

Acute Abdomen Causes

There are numerous possible causes of acute abdomen. These include:

  • Viral gastroenteritis: stomach flu
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Hernia
  • Appendicitis: inflammation of the appendix
  • Pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas
  • Diverticulitis: inflammation of the small sacs that form in the large intestine
  • Cholecystitis: inflammation of the gallbladder, with formation of gallstones or without it
  • Cholangitis: inflammation of the bile duct caused by a gallstone or bacterial infection
  • Gastritis: inflammation of the lining of the stomach, for example, due to excessive consumption of alcohol or prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Infection of the kidney, bladder or urinary tract
  • Kidney stones
  • Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease: inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Sickle cell anemia crisis
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis: dangerously high levels of acids in the blood
  • Rupture or leakage of abdominal aortic aneurysm: abnormally large blood vessels in the abdomen
  • Ischemia: inadequate or obstructed blood supply to one of the abdominal organs
  • Infectious diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Heart attack
  • Cancer
  • Pneumonia

Acute Abdomen In women:

  • Menstrual cramps
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: inflammation around the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes
  • Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy

Acute Abdomen In babies:

  • Intussusception (invagination of one portion of the intestine inside another, which causes bowel obstruction and blocks blood flow)
  • Volvulus: the colon twists on itself
  • Hirschsprung disease: also known as congenital megacolon
  • Other congenital defects of the digestive tract

Acute Abdomen Risk factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for acute abdomen include the following:

  • Childhood
  • Advanced age

Acute Abdomen Symptoms

  • The symptoms of acute abdomen have a variety of causes. If you experience any of them, consult your doctor.
  • Persistent or severe pain, swelling, and / or tenderness in the upper, middle, or lower abdomen
  • Contracture: involuntary contraction of the abdominal muscles
  • Rigidity: when the muscles of the abdomen are tight and rigid
  • Fever

Acute Abdomen Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask for details about your pain, such as the exact location and duration, and any additional symptoms you may be experiencing, such as bowel or urinary symptoms. He will take your medical history, including any drugs or medications you have taken, and perform a physical exam, including pelvic and rectal examinations.

In addition, one or more of the following tests may be necessary to make a diagnosis:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine analysis
  • Liver function tests
  • Ultrasound -a test that uses sound waves to examine the abdomen
  • Computed tomography scan -a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the abdomen
  • MRI scan -a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the abdomen
  • X-ray of the kidney, ureter, and bladder
  • X-ray with barium
  • Angiography
  • Surgery
  • Endoscopy: a thin, lighted tube is inserted through the throat to examine the abdominal area

Acute Abdomen Treatment

For the relief of symptoms, analgesics can be prescribed to reduce pain, however, many doctors refuse to prescribe analgesics since the details of the pain can be useful to determine its cause. Do not take any medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen, and do not eat or drink anything until you have talked to your doctor.

Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Depending on the underlying condition that causes your acute abdomen, treatment options may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Restriction of certain foods, beverages, or medicines
  • Surgery: may be needed to treat most severe abdominal pain that lasts at least six hours in patients who were previously healthy

Acute Abdomen Prevention

Depending on the underlying condition that causes the acute abdomen, prevention measures may vary. Talk to your doctor about preventing conditions that cause acute abdomen.


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