Causes of abdominal pain, stomach aches

Pain in the lower left abdomen? Abdominal pain and cramps are common and have many causes and can sometimes be scary.

Discover in this article the different causes of abdominal pain and how to relieve it on a daily basis.

How are abdominal pain and cramps characterized?

Abdominal pain is very common. Their causes are extremely diverse, but most often related to digestive organs such as the stomach, intestine, or liver.

The origin can also be gynecological, urinary, and even cardiac or pulmonary.

Abdominal pain and cramps can be localized at different levels of the abdomen. However, the terms “stomach ache” or “stomach ache” are often used to define them.

These pains can be:

  • mild or severe;
  • chronic or acute;
  • recurring or one-off.

Abdominal pain can manifest itself in the form of cramps, throbbing pain, painful “spikes”, etc.

Often benign, abdominal pain can sometimes be a sign of serious damage, which should be detected and treated quickly. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor in case of doubt.

What are the causes of abdominal pain and cramps?

Since there are many organs in the abdomen, the causes of abdominal pain and cramps are very many and varied.

Other symptoms may be associated with abdominal pain, including fever, nausea, and vomiting. It is, therefore, necessary to take into account the entire clinical picture to be able to guide the diagnosis, hence the importance of consulting your doctor.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of factors that may be involved in abdominal pain and cramps:

  • digestive disorders: such as constipation, gas formation in the intestine, spasms of muscular origin (smooth muscle of the stomach wall, intestine, etc.), gastroesophageal reflux, etc.;
  • gastric and duodenal ulcers;
  • gastrointestinal infections (gastroenteritis, food poisoning, etc.);
  • bowel obstruction
  • appendicitis;
  • gallstones;
  • kidney stones, renal colic, and urinary tract infections;
  • ectopic pregnancy, the presence of ovarian cysts, painful periods, etc.;
  • inflammation of the pancreas, stomach, liver, colon, peritoneum, etc.
  • Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases;
  • damage to the pleura: pneumothorax, pleurisy;
  • various cancer pathologies.

Where are the pains located?

The location of abdominal pain sometimes makes it possible to specify its cause:

In the umbilical area (around the navel)

The main organ of the area is the intestine. To a lesser extent, pain may also be related to damage to the stomach or pancreas.

The epigastric zone (at the top and center of the belly)

The pain can be caused by damage to the stomach mainly, but also to the liver or heart (which can cause pain in this place “at a distance”).

The hypogastric area (located between the pubis and the navel, i.e. in the center and bottom)

The intestine and bladder are probably the organs that cause pain in this area. This is also where the uterus is located in women.

The left flank (to the left of the navel)

Damage to the intestine, spleen, and kidney can cause pain in this area.

The right flank (to the right of the navel)

It can be damage to the intestine, gallbladder, kidney, etc.

Left hypochondrium (left and upper belly)

The pain comes mainly from the intestine, but it can also indicate damage to the pancreas, stomach, kidney, spleen, or lung.

Right hypochondrium (right and upper belly)

Liver damage essentially, but also intestines and pancreas.

The left iliac fossa (lower left of the belly)

The colon, kidneys, urinary tracts, as well as the ovaries and fallopian tubes in women.

The right iliac fossa (lower right of the belly)

Damage to the appendix, urinary tracts, kidneys, ovaries, and fallopian tubes in women.

Some pain can be diffuse and affect the entire belly. In this case, it may be inflammation of the peritoneum, Crohn’s disease, or food poisoning.

However, some pain locations are misleading and only a complete medical examination will determine the cause.

What are the solutions to relieve abdominal pain and cramps?

Treatments to relieve abdominal pain and cramps depend on their cause.

Some of the most common medications used for mild pain include:

  • antispasmodics;
  • charcoal and digestive dressings;
  • laxatives;
  • Herbal medicine and homeopathy can also relieve abdominal pain.

To prevent abdominal pain related to poor digestion, it is advisable to eat slowly and favor balanced menus.

Image Credits: Photo by Sora Shimazaki from

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