Upper abdominal pain can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'generally fatal'. Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose upper abdominal pain, we could:
|Gallbladder Disease||4%||Ruled out|
|Epstein-Barr Virus||0%||Ruled out|
|Possible Urgent Medical Need||0%||Ruled out|
|Food Allergies||0%||Ruled out|
|Stomach Ulcers||0%||Ruled out|
UPPER-CENTER abdomen: Do you experience discomfort or pain in the epigastric (stomach) area, below the breastbone?
Possible responses:→ No / 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
The first part of the body to react to food is often the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes mast cells are involved in allergic reactions and release chemicals such as histamine. If the affected mast cells are in the gastrointestinal tract, a person may suffer vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea.
Cardiac pain may occasionally present as upper abdominal pain. An acute myocardial infarction can cause upper-right or epigastric discomfort that may be similar to that of a gallbladder attack.
The spleen in located in the upper far left part of the abdomen. Various conditions can cause it to increase in size and cause abdominal pain.
A large meal may trigger the pain, but studies have not shown any direct dietary connection; the pain can develop without any apparent cause.
Most patients with ulcers complain of pain or discomfort that is located in the upper part of the stomach, often in the area immediately below or around the lower part of the breast bone. This is called epigastric pain. Symptoms may be associated with meals, or occur in-between meals, or sometimes even occur at night to the point where one can be woken up from sleep. This pain may be relieved by meals also.
One of the most common pancreatitis symptoms is upper abdominal pain, usually centered in the upper middle or upper left part of the abdomen. It often radiates from the front of the abdomen to the back or below the left shoulder blade and typically lasts for several days.
The pain may come on suddenly or build up gradually. If the pain begins suddenly, it is typically very severe. If the pain builds up gradually, it starts out mild but may become severe. It may become chronic, and may be aggravated by eating or drinking.
Untreated, the pain becomes constant and more severe. It may be worse when lying flat on one's back.