What are the Four Areas of Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain is discomfort felt anywhere in the belly region—between the pelvis and the ribs. In some instances, stomachache, stomach pain or abdominal pain can be caused by other organs. Remember that the abdomen is home to the following:
- Large intestine
- Small intestine
Aside from the organs in the digestive system, pain can also be from the abdominal wall. In some cases, the pain you feel in your belly can originate from somewhere else like the back, pelvis, or chest.
Abdominal pain can take several forms and can mean different things. Abdominal pain can feel:
- Sharp or dull
- Severe or mild
- Achy or burning
- Colicky or crampy
- Intermittent or constant
- Generalized (all over) or localized (in one spot)
Four Types of Abdominal Pain
Since your abdomen is home to many organs, your doctor might narrow it down to the kind of pain you are having by identifying the region you are feeling it in. The abdomen is often divided into four parts or quadrants. Your doctor might ask if the pain is in any of the following:
- Right upper quadrant
- Left lower quadrant
- Right lower quadrant
- Left lower quadrant
What The Abdominal Location Tells You
Location can be a crucial clue to the abdominal pain but it’s not the only factor. However, the location can provide a good idea as to the organs involved. For example, pain that is felt in the upper right quadrant can indicate a problem with the gallbladder or the liver.
However, your doctor will investigate more and will ask what the pain feels like, how severe it is, and how often you feel it. The answer to those questions can provide additional clues as to the condition you may have.
Reasons for Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can be attributed to various causes. It can be related to injury, disease, infection, or digestion. It can also come from an organ inside or from the skin or muscles in the abdominal wall. It is also possible that it has spread from somewhere nearby.
Your doctor will ask detailed questions about your pain to determine the cause. How bad the pain is won’t often indicate how serious the condition can be. Some transient and common conditions can be intense while some life-threatening ones can feel mild.
Most causes of abdominal pain are not serious. They might have to do with menstruation, digestion, or a passing virus. For instance:
Abdominal pain after eating can be caused by:
- Gas and gas pain
- Food poisoning
- Food intolerances and allergies
Infection or irritation in your organs can cause temporary inflammation.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
- Chronic acid reflux (GERD)
Female Reproductive Cycle
If you have a uterus, you might feel occasional pain from:
- Ovulation pain
- Menstrual cramps
How Abdominal Pain is Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you detailed questions about your abdominal pain. Typically, they will ask:
- Where you feel the pain
- What it feels like
- How long you’ve had it
- If it comes and goes
- If it stays in one place or moves
- If it gets worse
- What makes it better or worse
- Other symptoms you may experience
From your answer, your doctor will determine if you need emergency treatment. At times, your doctor can easily determine if the pain is temporary and not caused by anything serious. If your doctor suspects there’s a serious underlying condition, some tests may be done.