Generalized Discomfort Or Pain In The Abdomen

What Causes Generalized Abdominal Pain?

Generalized 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.

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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 generalized 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 "generalized abdominal pain" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Possible Urgent Medical Need
  • Blastocystosis
  • Gluten Sensitivity
  • Mesenteric Ischemia
  • Giardia

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:
significant right iliac pain
history of occult blood
meals worsen left iliac pain
frequent unexplained vomiting
severe right iliac pain
frequent rotten egg burps
pain in both eyes
significant left hypochondriac pain
acute abdominal pain
significant abdominal distension
edema of the feet
significant meal-induced pain
... and more than 80 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
Blastocystosis 94% Confirm
Hemochromatosis 19% Unlikely
Congestive Heart Failure 14% Unlikely
Giardia 1% Ruled out
Ulcerative Colitis 1% Ruled out
Possible Urgent Medical Need 0% Ruled out
Gluten Sensitivity 0% Ruled out
Mesenteric Ischemia 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.

Glomerulonephritis

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.

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