Generalized Discomfort Or Pain In The Abdomen

What Causes Generalized Abdominal Pain?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of generalized abdominal pain we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow generalized abdominal pain to develop?"

Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind generalized abdominal pain consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to generalized abdominal pain.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Short Bowel Syndrome
  • Carcinoid Cancer
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
very oily/sticky stools
being very easily irritated
edema of the feet
history of solvent exposure
history of herbicide exposure
dizziness when standing up
occasional unexplained vomiting
Caucasian ethnicity
very great unexplained weight loss
having had a small bowel resection
meal-related burping
frequent swollen axillary nodes
... and more than 70 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of generalized abdominal pain:
Cause Probability Status
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma 97% Confirm
Carcinoid Cancer 14% Unlikely
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity 19% Unlikely
Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences 5% Ruled out
Short Bowel Syndrome 3% Ruled out
Congestive Heart Failure 2% Ruled out
Lactose Intolerance 1% Ruled out
Glomerulonephritis 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, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you have vague abdominal pain or discomfort that is difficult to pinpoint (a 'stomach ache')?
Possible responses:
→ No / I can pinpoint it / don't know
→ Occasional slight/moderate discomfort
→ Frequent or continuous moderate discomfort/pain
→ Occasional severe pain
→ Frequent or continuous severe pain
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate occasional abdominal discomfort, frequent abdominal discomfort, occasional severe abdominal pain or frequent severe abdominal pain, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
A Potentially Urgent Medical Need

Severe acute or prolonged abdominal pain is a possible symptom of many serious conditions.  You are advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible, unless you already know the cause of the pain.

Carcinoid Cancer

Abdominal pain may occur alone or in combination with other symptoms such as diarrhea and/or flushing and can be controlled with pain medication.

Congestive Heart Failure

Accumulation of fluid (due to congestive heart failure) in the liver and intestines may cause nausea, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite.


This occurs in a minority of patients, especially in conjunction with an episode of macro-hematuria.

Lactose Intolerance

Recurrent abdominal pain is a symptom of lactose intolerance.