Acute abdomen is the medical term used for pain in the abdomen that usually comes on suddenly and is so severe that a person may seek emergency treatment. Acute
abdominal pain can signal a variety of more serious conditions, some of which require immediate medical care and/or surgery.
Abdominal Organs, Anterior View
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Factors that increase your risk of acute abdomen will depend on the cause.
The symptoms of acute abdomen have a variety of causes. If you experience any one of them, see your physician. Persistent, severe pain, swelling, and/or tenderness in the upper, middle, or lower abdomenGuarding—involuntary contraction of the abdominal musclesRigidity—when abdominal muscles are tense and board-likeFever
You will be asked for details about your pain, such as the exact location and duration. You will also be asked about any additional symptoms you may be having, such as bowel or urinary symptoms. A medical history will be taken. You will be asked about any drugs or medications you’ve taken. A physical exam will be done, including rectal and pelvic examinations.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with: Blood testsUrine analysis
Your bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with: UltrasoundCT scanMRI scanKUB (kidney, ureter, and bladder) x-raysBarium x-raysAngiographyEndoscopy
Surgery may be done to visually examine the abdomen.
You may be given pain relievers. However, many doctors may delay prescribing pain relievers, since details of the pain can help find its cause. Do not take any medication, and do not eat or drink until you have spoken with your doctor.
Talk with your doctor about the best
for you. Depending on the underlying condition causing your acute abdomen, treatment options may include:
MedicationsDiet or lifestyle changesAdvanced medical treatment such as surgery—may be required for the majority of severe abdominal pains that last for at least 6 hours in previously healthy patients
Depending on the underlying condition causing acute abdomen, prevention measures will vary. Talk with your doctor about preventing conditions that cause acute abdomen.
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http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030601/2321.html. Accessed June 4, 2015.
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Last reviewed June 2015 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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