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?"

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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):
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • West Nile Virus
  • Carcinoid Cancer
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Short Bowel Syndrome
  • Hepatitis
  • Gluten Sensitivity

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
loss of appetite
confirmed heartburn
shortness of breath when at rest
frequent mucus in stools
chronic diarrhea
offensive-smelling stool
severe meal-induced pain
congestive heart failure
pale fingernails
recent onset nausea
low diastolic blood pressure
severe left iliac pain after meals
... and more than 90 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
West Nile Virus 91% Confirm
Congestive Heart Failure 26% Unlikely
Lactose Intolerance 14% Unlikely
Irritable Bowel Syndrome 5% Ruled out
Carcinoid Cancer 2% Ruled out
Hepatitis 1% Ruled out
Gluten Sensitivity 0% Ruled out
Short Bowel Syndrome 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:
Do you experience general abdominal discomfort or pain that is difficult to pinpoint?
Possible responses:
→ No / can pinpoint / only after meals / don't know
→ Occasional mild discomfort
→ Frequent mild and/or occasional moderate pain
→ Frequent moderate and/or occasional severe pain
→ Frequent or constant severe pain
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate mild abdominal discomfort, moderate abdominal pain, significant abdominal pain or 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.

Lactose Intolerance

Recurrent abdominal pain is a symptom of lactose intolerance.

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