Abdominal pain has many potential causes. Many causes, such as gas pains or a pulled muscle, aren't serious, while other conditions require timely medical attention.

Often, the location of the abdominal pain can provide an important clue as to its cause. At other times, abdominal pain may occur in unexpected patterns, and its cause is less obvious. Nonetheless, it is helpful to think about abdominal pain in terms of its location.

The following conditions may cause generalized abdominal pain, which is abdominal pain that isn't focused in one specific area:

  1. Appendicitis
  2. Crohn's disease
  3. Diabetic ketoacidosis (high levels of ketones in the blood)
  4. Diverticulitis
  5. Injury
  6. Intestinal obstruction
  7. Intussusception (in children)
  8. Irritable bowel syndrome
  9. Lead poisoning
  10. Mesenteric lymphadenitis (swollen lymph nodes in the folds of membrane that hold the abdominal organs in place)
  11. Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)
  12. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) (infection of the female reproductive organs)
  13. Peritonitis (infection of the abdominal lining)
  14. Sickle cell anemia
  15. Strained or pulled abdominal muscle
  16. Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  17. Ulcerative colitis
  18. Uremia (buildup of waste products in your blood)
  19. Urinary tract infection
  20. Viral gastroenteritis (stomach inflammation)

The following conditions often cause lower abdominal pain, sometimes described as pelvic pain:

  1. Appendicitis
  2. Cystitis (bladder inflammation)
  3. Diverticulitis
  4. Problems with the cervix, such as a cervical infection, inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix
  5. Endometriosis
  6. Intestinal obstruction
  7. Mittelschmerz (pain associated with ovulation)
  8. Ovarian cysts
  9. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) (infection of the female reproductive organs)
  10. Salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes)

The following conditions often cause upper abdominal pain:

  1. Angina (reduced blood flow to the heart)
  2. Appendicitis
  3. Cholangitis (bile duct inflammation)
  4. Cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation)
  5. Duodenitis (inflammation of the initial portion of the small intestine)
  6. Hepatitis
  7. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  8. Heart attack
  9. Hepatitis (liver inflammation)
  10. Intestinal obstruction
  11. Mesenteric ischemia (decreased blood flow to the intestines)
  12. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  13. Nonulcer stomach pain
  14. Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)
  15. Peptic ulcer
  16. Pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue around the heart)
  17. Pleurisy (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the lungs)
  18. Pneumonia
  19. Pneumothorax (lung collapse caused by air that leaks inside chest wall)
  20. Pyloric stenosis (in infants)
  21. Thoracic aortic aneurysm

The following conditions often cause pain in the center of the abdomen:

  1. Appendicitis
  2. Diabetic ketoacidosis (high levels of ketones in the blood)
  3. Injury
  4. Intestinal obstruction
  5. Mesenteric thrombosis (blood clot in a vein carrying blood away from your intestines)
  6. Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)
  7. Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  8. Uremia (buildup of waste products in your blood)

The following conditions often cause lower left abdominal pain:

  1. Appendicitis
  2. Cancer
  3. Crohn's disease
  4. Diverticulitis
  5. Problems with the cervix, such as a cervical infection, inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix
  6. Endometriosis
  7. Inguinal hernia
  8. Injury
  9. Intestinal obstruction
  10. Kidney infection
  11. Kidney stones
  12. Mittelschmerz (pain associated with ovulation)
  13. Ovarian cysts
  14. Seminal vesiculitis (inflammation of the seminal vesicles)
  15. Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  16. Torn colon
  17. Tuboovarian abscess (pus-filled pocket involving a fallopian tube and an ovary)
  18. Ulcerative colitis

The following conditions often cause upper left abdominal pain:

  1. Angina (reduced blood flow to the heart)
  2. Cancer
  3. Diverticulitis
  4. Empyema (infection of the lining around the lungs)
  5. Enlarged spleen
  6. Fecal impaction (hardened stool that can't be eliminated)
  7. Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining)
  8. Heart attack
  9. Hiatal hernia
  10. Injury
  11. Kidney infection
  12. Kidney stones
  13. Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)
  14. Pneumonia
  15. Pulmonary infarction (loss of blood flow to the lungs)
  16. Pyloric stenosis (in infants)
  17. Ruptured spleen
  18. Shingles
  19. Spleen infection
  20. Splenic abscess (pus-filled pocket in the spleen)
  21. Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  22. Torn colon

The following conditions often cause lower right abdominal pain:

  1. Appendicitis
  2. Cancer
  3. Cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation)
  4. Diverticulitis
  5. Problems with the cervix, such as a cervical infection, inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix
  6. Endometriosis
  7. Inguinal hernia
  8. Injury
  9. Intestinal obstruction
  10. Kidney infection
  11. Kidney stones
  12. Mittelschmerz (pain associated with ovulation)
  13. Ovarian cysts
  14. Salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes)
  15. Seminal vesiculitis (inflammation of the seminal vesicles)
  16. Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  17. Tuboovarian abscess (pus-filled pocket involving a fallopian tube and an ovary)
  18. Viral gastroenteritis (stomach inflammation)

The following conditions often cause upper right abdominal pain:

  1. Appendicitis
  2. Cholangitis (bile duct inflammation)
  3. Diverticulitis
  4. Fecal impaction (hardened stool that can't be eliminated)
  5. Gallbladder cancer
  6. Hepatitis
  7. Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining)
  8. Hepatitis (liver inflammation)
  9. Hiatal hernia
  10. Injury
  11. Intestinal obstruction
  12. Kidney cancer
  13. Kidney infection
  14. Kidney stones
  15. Liver abscess (pus-filled pocket in the liver)
  16. Liver cancer
  17. Liver hemangioma
  18. Pancreatic cancer
  19. Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)
  20. Peptic ulcer
  21. Pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue around the heart)
  22. Pleurisy (inflammation of the membrane surrounding your lungs)
  23. Pneumonia
  24. Pulmonary infarction (loss of blood flow to the lungs)
  25. Pyloric stenosis (in infants)
  26. Shingles
  27. Stomach cancer

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Jun. 21, 2013