An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a dangerous condition in which a part of your body's main artery (aorta) is enlarged and in danger of rupturing.
Acute liver failure occurs when your liver rapidly loses its ability to function. A liver transplant may be necessary to make a recovery.
Addison's disease occurs when your adrenal glands produce insufficient amounts of certain important hormones. Treatment may include taking corticosteroids.
Alcohol can severely damage your liver — even moderate drinkers aren't immune. Learn more about this serious liver disease.
Anaphylaxis is the most serious type of allergic reaction. It often occurs rapidly after exposure to an allergen and may be life-threatening.
Antibiotics save lives, but they can also have side effects. The most common are mild to severe diarrhea and a serious type of colitis.
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed and filled with pus, creating potentially serious complications if not promptly treated.
Ascariasis is a common type of roundworm infection found worldwide. It's spread by poor hygiene and improper sanitation. Infections are effectively treated with medication.
Barrett's esophagus is caused by repeated, long-term exposure of the esophagus to stomach acid. The condition can sometimes lead to cancer.
Behcet's disease affects several body systems and causes a variety of signs and symptoms. Find out what it is and how it's treated.
Bile reflux — the backwash of bile from the small intestine into the stomach and esophagus — can cause ongoing inflammation and lead to serious complications.
Bladder stones are small masses of minerals in your bladder — often forming as a result of an enlarged prostate, nerve damage or infection.
A microscopic parasite causes Blastocystis hominis infection. Experts disagree as to whether this infection causes diarrhea and other associated signs and symptoms.
Blind loop syndrome occurs when a portion of bowel is bypassed. The condition is most often a complication of abdominal surgery.
Botulism, a rare and dangerous condition, is usually the result of eating food — often canned goods contaminated by bacteria that release a powerful toxin.
C. difficile can be a life-threatening infection. It typically develops when antibiotics destroy other bacteria in your intestines, allowing C. difficile to flourish.
Carcinoid tumors are rare, slow-growing cancerous tumors that most often occur in the gastrointestinal tract or in the lungs.
Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening complication usually of a heart attack. Cardiogenic shock treatments can be effective, but must be provided immediately.
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in certain foods. As a result, the body is unable to absorb some important nutrients.
Chagas disease, a condition caused by a parasite, usually is transmitted to humans through feces of the infected triatomine bug.
Are you worried you might have chlamydia? Find out how this common sexually transmitted infection is diagnosed and treated.
Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder that's often linked to gallstones.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Unlike other cancers, this form of leukemia doesn't always initially require treatment.
Churg-Strauss syndrome is a rare disorder marked by blood vessel inflammation that affects organs throughout the body. Asthma is the most common sign.
Colon cancer and rectal cancer combined are the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Regular screening tests can help reduce your risk.
Colon polyps — small clumps of cells on your colon lining — are usually harmless, but some may become cancerous over time.
Constipation in children is common. Often, simple changes in diet and routine are helpful.
Crohn's disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — a serious inflammation of the digestive tract that can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Cyclic vomiting syndrome can last for hours or days and shares many triggers with migraines.
Dengue fever is a sometimes fatal viral disease spread by mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Learn how to protect yourself.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious diabetes complication. Learn the warning signs — and know when to seek emergency care.
Diabetes can damage nerves throughout your body — a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Nerve damage can cause pain, disability and other serious complications.
Diarrhea can have many triggers, including viruses, bacteria, parasites and certain medications. Though unpleasant, most cases of diarrhea go away without treatment.
Having bulging pouches (diverticulosis) in your digestive tract isn't necessarily a concern. But infected pouches (diverticulitis) can be a serious problem.
E. coli bacteria normally live harmoniously in your gut. But when you eat food contaminated with a nasty strain of E. coli, serious illness may follow.
An ectopic pregnancy can't continue normally — but prompt treatment can help prevent life-threatening blood loss.
Egg allergy can cause a serious reaction in children and adults. Here's how to recognize egg allergy symptoms, and what to do if a severe reaction occurs.
Encopresis occurs when a child resists having bowel movements, causing stool to collect in the colon and rectum. Leakage of liquid stool also is common.
You can get an enlarged liver from a number of medical problems or personal habits. Treatment depends on what's causing the enlargement.
An enlarged spleen is usually a sign of an underlying problem. Treatment varies, depending on what's causing the enlargement.
Epididymitis is an inflammation of the tube at the back of the testicle (epididymis). The condition is usually treated with antibiotics.
Several conditions can cause esophagitis. Learn what they are and how to get relief.
Fibromuscular dysplasia is a rare, but treatable, condition in which the arteries to your kidneys, brain or abdomen narrow, reducing blood flow to your organs.
Food poisoning has many forms, and some can be serious. Here's how to recognize food poisoning and ways to prevent getting sick.
Gallbladder cancer is an uncommon cancer that begins in your gallbladder.
Gallstones often don't cause symptoms. But if you have a gallbladder attack, you're not likely to forget it.
Intestinal gas can be embarrassing and sometimes painful. But a few simple measures can often provide relief.
Giardia infection is a common waterborne illness. Learn the symptoms and reduce your risk.
Gonorrhea is a highly contagious sexually transmitted infection. Without treatment, serious complications can occur.
H. pylori infection, a common bacterial infection, can cause ulcers, inflammation of the stomach lining and some stomach cancers.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is initiated by a rodent-carried virus that infects the lung tissues, bringing on flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems and even death.
Children of all ages experience headaches, but the causes aren't all the same. Here's how to help your child.
A heart attack is an injury to heart muscle caused by reduced blood supply. Heart attack symptoms and treatments are discussed here.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is an uncommon condition that can cause life-threatening kidney failure, especially for children and older adults.
Henoch-Schonlein purpura causes inflammation of small blood vessels (vasculitis) and often a purplish rash. It's most common in children ages 2 to 6.
Hepatitis A virus causes a highly contagious liver infection. Find out how to recognize it and when treatment is required.
Having hepatitis B increases your risk of serious liver disease. Protect yourself with a hepatitis B vaccine.
Hives and angioedema — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment of these common allergic disorders.
Hypercalcemia is a higher than normal calcium level in your blood. The most common causes are an overactive parathyroid gland and certain cancers.
Hyperglycemia in diabetes — Comprehensive overview covers causes, symptoms and treatments of high blood sugar.
Indigestion can ruin meals and make you feel uncomfortable. Take steps to prevent symptoms like upset stomach, bloating and pain.
Inflammatory bowel disease can be painful and debilitating, and it can cause life-threatening complications. Find out more about treating this digestive system disorder.
Intestinal ischemia occurs when the blood supply to your digestive system is reduced. Abdominal pain is a common symptom. Several treatment options are available.
Intestinal obstruction — a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention — occurs when a blockage of the intestine prevents food or fluid from passing through.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive disorder that can cause abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea and constipation. Eating more fiber and exercising can help.
Ischemic colitis is a disorder in which the colon becomes inflamed, usually due to a disruption of blood flow.
Kawasaki disease — the leading cause of acquired coronary disease in children — causes artery wall inflammation throughout the body. It affects children younger than age 5.
Kidney infection can permanently damage your kidneys or allow bacteria to spread to your bloodstream. Seek immediate medical attention to avoid life-threatening complications.
Lactose intolerance means you can't fully digest milk sugar (lactose). Though it's generally not dangerous, the symptoms can be uncomfortable.
Even small amounts of lead in the body can cause serious health problems. Reducing exposure is essential, especially for infants and young children.
The risk of liver cancer may be reduced by protecting yourself from serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis B and C.
Find out how to prevent common liver problems.
Liver hemangioma is the most common type of noncancerous (benign) liver mass. Learn how doctors treat liver hemangioma.
There are more than 200 types of mental illnesses. Learn about risk factors, symptoms, treatments and coping.
Mesenteric lymphadenitis is an inflammation of the lymph nodes in the tissue that attaches various organs to your abdominal wall (mesentery). It mainly affects children.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer closely linked to asbestos exposure. Find out the signs and symptoms of malignant mesothelioma and how to protect yourself.
Milk allergy can cause hives, wheezing and gastrointestinal problems. Avoidance is the primary treatment, but the good news is that many children outgrow milk allergy.
Miscarriage can be heartbreaking. It might help to understand possible causes and treatment options, as well as what to expect for the future.
Some women experience pain on one side of their lower abdomen midway through their menstrual cycle. This cyclic pelvic pain is known as mittelschmerz.
Neuroblastoma most commonly affects children age 5 and younger. It's the most common form of cancer in babies.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with obesity and diabetes. Lifestyle changes may prevent it from becoming serious.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer originating in the lymphatic system. It's caused by abnormal white blood cells, and often the only sign is swollen lymph nodes.
Noroviruses cause an intestinal flu-like illness that typically resolves within days. Norovirus infection is highly contagious, especially in closed settings like hospitals and cruise ships.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this complication of infertility treatment.
Pancreatic cancer is often fatal. Find out which new treatments offer hope.
Most cysts in the pancreas aren't malignant, but tests are needed to determine the best course of treatment.
The pain of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, can last for days, or in chronic cases, for years. Pancreatitis can lead to serious complications.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the most common preventable cause of infertility in the United States, but some women don't find out soon enough.
Peritonitis is an infection of the membrane that lines your inner abdominal wall and covers the organs within your abdomen (peritoneum).
A pheochromocytoma is a rare adrenal gland tumor that can produce large amounts of certain hormones and seriously raise blood pressure.
Pinworms are intestinal parasites common in children and easily spread within families. Effective treatments include medications and good hygiene.
Placental abruption is a dangerous pregnancy complication. Control your risk factors — and know when to seek emergency care.
Plague is a disease carried by rats and other rodents. The risk of developing plague is low, and most cases occur in Africa.
Porphyria is a group of inherited disorders that cause buildup of natural chemicals (porphyrins), which can result in nervous system and skin problems.
Postpartum preeclampsia — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms and treatment of this post-pregnancy condition.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication defined by high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine. The only cure is delivery of your baby.
Primary biliary cirrhosis begins with inflammation in the liver's small bile ducts, but eventually can lead to damage and scarring in the liver itself.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis causes inflammation and scarring within the bile ducts of your liver, eventually affecting your liver's ability to do its job properly.
Proctitis is an inflammation of the lining of the rectum.
Pseudomembranous colitis is an inflammation of the colon that occurs most often in people using antibiotics.
Rotavirus causes severe diarrhea in infants and children. Most cases can be treated at home with extra fluids.
A ruptured spleen is a medical emergency. Immediate surgery is needed to prevent life-threatening bleeding.
Salmonella infection will cause only diarrhea and stomach pain in some people, but for infants and immunocompromised people, this bacterial illness can cause life-threatening complications.
A scrotal mass is a lump or other abnormality in the scrotum that may affect the health of testicles. A scrotal mass may be cancerous.
Shellfish allergy can cause serious reactions. Discover what you can do to avoid them.
Shigella infection (shigellosis) is a disease that causes diarrhea. Young children are most likely to get the disease, but it can spread to anyone.
If you have symptoms of heart disease, but your doctor doesn't see any blocked major arteries, small vessel disease may be the cause.
Tapeworms most commonly enter your body through contaminated food or water. Symptoms aren't always present, but the prognosis is good with prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Testicular torsion blocks blood flow to a testicle. Know the signs of this painful condition — and when to see a doctor.
Toxic hepatitis is liver damage that occurs when your liver isn't able to break down certain toxins — including common pain relievers such as Tylenol.
Traveler's diarrhea is unpleasant. Find out how to avoid this travel-related health problem.
Trichinosis is a roundworm infection you get from eating undercooked, infected pork or other meats. Medications can eliminate the parasite and treat symptoms.
How to identify and treat triple X syndrome.
Although rare in industrialized nations, typhoid fever is a serious threat in many parts of the world. Learn how to stay safe when you travel.
Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — a serious inflammation of the digestive tract that can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels. It can affect people of any age. Treatment depends on the type of vasculitis.
Vesicoureteral reflux is the abnormal flow of urine backward from the bladder. Usually found in children, it increases the risk of urinary tract infections.
Whipple's disease is a rare bacterial infection that affects primarily the gastrointestinal system, and can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
Wilms' tumor is a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children.
A vaccine can protect you against yellow fever — a sometimes deadly mosquito-borne disease found in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.
In Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, tumors in the pancreas or duodenum secrete a hormone called gastrin that leads to excessive stomach acid and ulcers.
Jun. 21, 2013
- Abdominal pain syndrome. American College of Gastroenterology. http://patients.gi.org/topics/abdominal-pain/. Accessed April 10, 2013.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2013: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-08373-7..00002-9&isbn=978-0-323-08373-7&about=true&uniqId=343863096-23. Accessed April 10, 2013.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 14, 2013.