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Causes of Abdominal Pain

Learning to Identify Abdominal Pain Emergencies


Updated May 19, 2014

Woman sitting on bed holding stomach, head bowed
Tom Le Goff/Photodisc/Getty Images

Abdominal pain is one of the most difficult symptoms to identify a cause. The causes of abdominal pain listed below range from relatively minor conditions to life-threatening emergencies.

When to Call 911 for Abdominal Pain

It's important to call 911 when certain signs and symptoms accompany abdominal pain, regardless of the cause. If a victim of abdominal pain is also experiencing any of the following, call 911:
  • sudden, severe onset of abdominal pain
  • vomiting blood
  • bloody diarrhea
  • neck, chest, or shoulder pain
  • rigid (hard) and tender abdomen
  • not able to have a bowel movement, especially with vomiting
  • pain between shoulder blades
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • sweating
  • confusion

Abdominal Pain Causes

Here are links to potential causes of abdominal pain; this list is by no means exhaustive. To add additional items or to ask questions about different causes of abdominal pain, email me.
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