Duration Of Current Abdominal Pain

What Causes Acute Or Chronic Abdominal Pain?

Acute or chronic abdominal pain can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'critical'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose acute or chronic abdominal pain, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "acute or chronic abdominal pain" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Gastrointestinal Bleeding
  • Testicular Torsion
  • Kidney Stones
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Appendicitis
  • Constipation
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Ectopic Pregnancy

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
severe left iliac pain
unilateral shoulder pain
regular unexplained nausea
recent onset nausea
discontinued diuretic use
very black/tarry stools
meal-induced pain for under a week
moderate hypogastric pain
having watery stools
meals worsen top-right abdomen pain
frequent unexplained vomiting
dizziness when standing up
... and more than 50 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of acute or chronic abdominal pain:
Cause Probability Status
Stomach Ulcers 94% Confirm
Kidney Stones 24% Unlikely
Constipation 16% Unlikely
Gastroenteritis 3% Ruled out
Gastrointestinal Bleeding 0% Ruled out
Appendicitis 0% Ruled out
Testicular Torsion 0% Ruled out
Ectopic Pregnancy 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate abdominal pain unaffected by eating, abdominal pain reduced by eating or abdominal pain increased by eating, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
If you are experiencing episodes of abdominal discomfort or pain, how long ago did they start occurring?
Possible responses:
→ No abdominal pain / only after meals / don't know
→ Less than 24 hours
→ 1-6 days
→ 1-4 weeks
→ 1 month or more
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate acute abdominal pain, recent onset abdominal pain, medium-term abdominal pain or chronic abdominal pain, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Aneurysm / Rupture

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is asymptomatic in 75% of cases, but may present as sudden severe pain that is not relieved by position change.

Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

The pain caused by a Myocardial Infarction may extend downward into the abdominal area.

Sickle Cell Trait / Disease

Abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms of a sickle cell crisis – a painful episode that often occurs a few times each year in people who have sickle cell anemia.  The sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood vessels, restricting blood and oxygen supply to various tissues, causing pain.

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