The types of abdominal pain and their locations
Abdominal pain is an umbrella term.
There are different types of abdominal pain and they vary depending on which part of your abdomen you feel pain in. Some of the types of pain you may experience are:
- Generalized pain throughout the abdomen
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen
- Lower left abdominal pain
- Upper left abdominal pain
- Upper right abdominal pain
How do they feel?
The pain can range from a mild throbbing to a burning sensation, a dull ache, or a stabbing pain.
To find out what causes the sharp abdominal pain, you need to know which region of your abdomen is feeling this pain.
There are nine regions of the abdomen, each housing different parts of the gastrointestinal system:
- The right hypochondriac: Small intestine, liver, and gallbladder
- The epigastric region: Stomach, pancreas, liver, and the duodenum
- The left hypochondriac: Colon and pancreas
- The right lumbar region: Gallbladder, right colon, and liver
- The umbilical region: Duodenum
- The left lumbar region: Descending colon
- The right iliac region: Cecum and the appendix
- The hypogastric region: Sigmoid colon
- The left Iliac region: Descending colon and sigmoid colon
The location of the pain may indicate which part of your gastrointestinal system is causing it.
Should you be concerned about abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain may be very brief and could happen due to minor issues like indigestion and gas.
The severity of abdominal pain may be determined by how intense the pain is and what other symptoms you may be experiencing along with the pain.
If the pain is very severe, localised in one part of the abdomen, or is persisting for a long time, you may need medical attention immediately.
Also, these symptoms, along with abdominal pain, may indicate a more serious gastrointestinal condition:
- Frequent vomiting
- Persistent diarrhoea
- Bloody bowel movements
- Yellow tinge on the skin
- Loss of appetite
If you experience any one or more of these symptoms with the pain, please seek medical assistance.
What are some common causes of abdominal pain?
There are many causes of abdominal pain though sharp abdominal pain may occur due to conditions like:
This happens when the appendix gets blocked by faecal matter or a foreign object, causing it to become inflamed or sometimes infected. In more severe cases, it may rupture, causing excruciating pain.
Gallstones are stone-like deposits that may form inside the bile ducts of the gallbladder. These stones may cause blockages that lead to abdominal pain.
Also related to the gallbladder, this condition happens when the gallbladder becomes inflamed and causes severe pains in the upper right part of the abdomen. The pain lasts a long time and it may radiate to your back.
This is a serious condition where the intestinal walls are ruptured. Aside from severe pain, this condition may cause intestinal bleeding and may even lead to sepsis.
How is abdominal pain treated?
The treatment for abdominal pain varies depending on the condition causing it.
Some treatments may be as simple as taking some medicine but more severe cases may require surgery.
Common treatments include:
Painkillers to numb the pain
Plenty of water and other clear fluids
Medications like bismuth subsalicylate or loperamide
*Only try these treatments after speaking to a gastrointestinal specialist.
Here are some blogs with more insight on abdominal pain and treatments
Can a gut clinic help me?
Severe abdominal pain shouldn’t be ignored as it may be a sign of a serious gastrointestinal condition..
With the help of gastrointestinal specialists at a gut clinic, you can find out what is causing your abdominal pain and get the necessary treatment.
Give the Sydney Gut Clinic a visit
The Sydney Gut Clinic has many highly-trained and experienced gastrointestinal specialists who specialise in various areas of gastrointestinal health.
If you’re suffering from persistent or recurring sharp abdominal pains, schedule an appointment with us, and we will help you with your diagnosis and treatment and support you on your road to recovery.
What are the three types of abdominal pain?
Visceral pain: This happens when nerves that run through the walls of an organ are stretched. For example, the veins in the intestines.
Parietal pain: A sharp pain that is usually in one spot. For example, a pain that is localised in the stomach.
Referred pain: This happens when an issue in another part of the body—other than the abdomen—causes abdominal pain. For example, thyroid problems may cause the digestive process to speed up, which can cause abdominal pain.
Why do my stomach pains come and go?
Gas and bloating: Gas and bloating tend to happen in cycles, which may result in stomach pain every so often.
Stomach infections: Stomach infections can cause pain in the stomach, but you may get some temporary relief when vomiting or passing diarrhoea.
Gallbladder-related pain: When it comes to pain in the gallbladder, some individuals may experience pain for several hours after which the pain may go away, only to come back later.
Why do I feel waves of pain in my stomach?
Intestinal obstructions may cause you to feel abdominal pain that comes in waves.
Speak to specialists for diagnosis and treatment of sharp abdominal pain
Sydney Gut Clinic services are only available to patients in Australia.