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Upper Abdominal Pain Diagnosis

Updated July 19, 2017

Abdominal pain is pain that occurs in the abdominal area, which is from just below the ribs down to the pelvic area. Upper abdominal pain is situated just below the ribs and can arise from a number of causes.

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Symptoms

Depending on its causes, the symptoms of upper abdominal pain can include a short stabbing pain that comes and goes, a feeling of cramping, a dull lingering pain or the familiar pain we call simply "stomach ache."

Causes

There are many causes of upper abdominal pain, the most prevalent being gastrointestinal distress caused by an ulcer or malfunction of the gall bladder. The pain may arise from swelling of tissue, excess stomach acid or a digestive blockage.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing upper abdominal pain involves seeing a doctor who will conduct a tactile examination of the abdominal area to isolate the pain, and ask questions about the specific type of pain, such as its severity, time of onset and other factors.

Other Diagnostic Techniques

In the event an office exam is insufficient to diagnose the cause of abdominal pain it may be necessary to see a specialist such as a gastroenterologist. Additional diagnostic tests may be conducted, including blood work, X-rays, ultrasound or CAT scan.

Seeing a Physician

If abdominal pain is severe or long-lasting, see a physician. Once diagnosed, most abdominal problems can be treated effectively.

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About the Author

Colin Bondi is a writer, counselor and technology consultant based in Portland, Ore. Bondi has been a writer and blogger since 2005 and has had articles published online and in "Dot Connector Magazine." He has 15 years of experience in counseling and holds a master's degree in psychology from Southern Connecticut State University.

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