What is abdominal pain?

Anatomy of the Abdomen

Abdominal pain is an incredibly common medical symptom which will affect most of us at some point in time. It is estimated around 25% of the population report abdominal pain at any one time (Halder et al, 2002).

The anatomical term abdomen refers to the part of the body containing the digestive organs

the part of the body of a vertebrate containing the digestive and reproductive organs

In humans, the abdomen is a body space between the thorax (chest) and the pelvis. The diaphragm, a major muscle involved in breathing, separates the abdominal cavity from the thoracic cavity. The abdomen contains many major organs including:

  • Anatomy of the Abdomenstomach
  • large intestine
  • small intestine
  • pancreas
  • liver
  • gall bladder
  • spleen

In addition, several major blood vessels (both arteries and veins) along with important nerves pass through the abdomen.

Abdominal pain can be caused by a huge variety of medical conditions and injuries. Some causes of abdominal pain are medical emergencies. Your doctor is the best person to speak to if you are at all concerned about abdominal pain.

Some common causes of abdominal pain include:

  • Gastritis – stomach inflammation
  • Appendicitis – inflammation of the appendix
  • Pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreatitis
  • Constipation or intestinal obstruction
  • Heartburn



Halder SL, McBeth J, Silman AJ, Thompson DG, Macfarlane GJ. Psychosocial risk factors for the onset of abdominal pain. Results from a large prospective population-based study. Int J Epidemiol 2002;31:1219–25

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *