Abdominal pain

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Abdominal pain can originate from any of the organ in the abdomen. [1] It is one of the frequent reasons for seeking medical attention. It can be due to simple dyspepsia or harmful malignancies.



The organs in the abodomen related to digestion are the end of the esophagus, the stomach, the small and large intestines, the liver, the gallbladder, and the pancreas. The aorta is also situated in the abdomen. Other organs include the appendix -- an organ in the lower right abdomen that no longer serves much function, the kidneys -- two bean shaped organs that lie deep within the abdominal cavity, the spleen -- an organ involved in blood maintenance and infection control. However, the pain may start from somewhere else like the chest or pelvic area. There may be a generalized infection, such as the flu or strep throat, that affects many parts of the body. The intensity of the pain does not always reflect the seriousness of the condition causing the pain. Severe abdominal pain can be from mild conditions, such as gas or the cramping of viral gastroenteritis. On the other hand, relatively mild pain or no pain may be present with life-threatening conditions, such as cancer of the colon or early appendicitis. [citation needed]


Many different conditions can cause abdominal pain. The key is to know when one must seek medical care right away. In many cases one can simply wait, use home care remedies, and visit the CAM doctor at a later time only if the symptoms persist.[citation needed]

Possible causes include:

  • Appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix)
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) with or without gallstones
  • Chronic constipation
  • Dissecting abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Diverticular disease, including diverticulitis
  • Easly-stage shingles (a viral infection where pain begins before the appearance of a rash)
  • Excessive gas
  • Food allergy
  • Food poisoning (salmonella, shigella)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Hernia
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Intussusception -- while uncommon, this is a serious possible cause of pain in an infant who may be bringing the knees to the chest and crying
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Kidney stones
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Parasitic infections (Giardia)
  • Sickle cell crisis
  • Spinal fracture
  • Ulcers
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • Some drugs

When an inflamed organ (such as the appendix) in the abdomen ruptures or leaks fluid, the may be excruciating pain, very stiff abdomen and likely fever. This occurs as peritonitis (inflammation and infection of the lining of the abdominal cavity) develops and spreads from the site of the rupture. In infants, prolonged unexplained crying (often called "colic") may be caused by abdominal pain that may end with the passage of gas or stool. Colic is often worse in the evening. Cuddling and rocking the child may bring some relief.

Abdominal pain that occurs during menstruation may be from menstrual cramps or it may indicate a problem in a reproductive organ. This includes conditions such as endometriosis (when tissue from the uterus is displaced to somewhere else like the pelvic wall or ovaries), uterine fibroids (thick bands of muscular and fibrous tissue in the uterus), ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer (rare), or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) -- infection of the reproductive organs, usually from a sexually transmitted disease.

Abdominal pain may actually be caused by an organ in the chest, like the lungs (for example, pneumonia) or the heart (like a heart attack). Or, it may stem from a muscle strain in the abdominal muscles. Cancers of the colon and other gastrointestinal areas are serious but uncommon causes of abdominal pain.

Other more unusual causes of abdominal pain include a type of emotional upset called somatization disorder, reflected as physical discomfort (including recurrent abdominal pain). Strep throat in children can cause abdominal pain.

Home Care

For mild pains the following may be helpful.

  • Sipping water or other clear fluids.
  • Avoiding solid food for the first few hours. If there is vomiting, one can wait for few hours. Then small amounts of mild foods such as rice, applesauce or crackers can be taken.
  • If the pain is high up in the abdomen and occurs after meals, some home remedies may provide some relief, especially if you feel heartburn or indigestion.[citation needed] Citrus, high-fat foods, fried or greasy foods, tomato products, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages are to be avoided.[citation needed]

CAM therapies for abdominal pain


There is a study published in the February 2000 issue of the Journal of Chinese Medicine found a technique that was overwhelmingly effective in treating abdominal pain. As per the study following steps to be performed to relieve abdominal pain.

  • The motor-sensory area for the leg is to be selected as the main reference point. This point is 1 cm to the side of the midpoint of the head's midline and is about 3 cm long.
  • A needle of 40 mm long and .38 mm thick is to be inserted into the scalp at a 15-degree angle initially and then horizontally for its entire length. The needle is then rotated 15 times in less than five seconds.
  • The needle is lifted out and the previous step to be performed a total of three to five times. This treatment is provided on both sides of the head. [2]


Pain is should be palliated first. It can be done by giving Hingvashtak churna or Shankh Bhasma (a TSP with hot water or 250-500mg with water respectively either of the medicines). Apart from these Abhraka Bhasma (l50mg) also can be given 4 times daily. Mahashanka vati is to be given 2 pills 4 times daily with hot water. [3] Cordia myxa (obliqua) (Sanskrit Name: Shleshmataka) is also indicated for colic, dyspepsia and ulcers. [4]

Herbal Medicine

Anis is a good home remedy for breath refreshening, for digestion and calming stomach pain. Chamomile tea, which is used as a sedative and for insomnia and other nervous conditions, has anti-inflammatory properties. It is a good antispasmodic for intestinal and menstrual cramps, relieving gas pains, acts as a very mild but efficient laxative, and loosens tight muscles. [5]


Chamomilla will also be indicated when there is a pressure in the stomach as from a stone; when the pit of the stomach and the parts immediately under the ribs on the left side are so distended as to cause great anxiety and shortness of breath. The symptoms are worse during the night; the patient is extremely uneasy and agitated, tosses about in the bed, and sweats profusely; sometimes he is troubled with a throbbing pain on top of the head which drives him out of bed. The pain in the stomach is somewhat alleviated when he draws himself up, and lies perfectly quiet. When the pains are very violent, give Coffea, and afterwards, if necessary, Chamomilla. If Chamomilla is of but little use, give Belladonna. Cramp of the stomach during menstruation can generally be cured by Nux vomica or afterwards by Chamomilla; but if the discharge is very scanty, Pulsatilla or Cocculus.

Cocculus indicus is indicated when Nux vomica gives some relief, but the pain returns very soon, and is accompanied by hard evacuations, or no movement of the bowels; when the pain in the stomach is accompanied by a pressing, contracting pain extending over the abdomen, alleviated by the discharge of wind; when there is some sickness of the stomach, and collection of water in the mouth without heartburn; when the patient is not irritable, angry, or violent (in which case you would give Nux vomica), but rather sullen and taciturn.

Aconitum napellus for violent pain; the pit of the stomach being distended and very sensitive to pressure, even to the touch; vomiting all the food taken, at last empty retching; coated tongue, the edges or tip red; the abdomen hot; feet cold.

Belladonna' when Aconite gives only partial relief, especially in women and persons who are delicate and sensitive; when there is a gnawing pressure or a spasmodic tension of the stomach which obliges the patient to lean back or to hold his breath, by which the pain is also mitigated; when the pain always returns after dinner; when it is so violent as to deprive the patient of consciousness, or make him faint. It is mostly accompanied by thirst, and drinking increases the pain; evacuations tardy and small; the patient cannot sleep at night. Should the suffering grow worse after this, with great thirst, the tip o the tongue being dry, give Rhus; should this also fail, give Arsenicum.

Bryonia alba for the same kind of pressure as Chamomilla, particularly when it commences during meals, or immediately afterwards, and the pit and region of the stomach feel as if swollen; sometimes the pressure changes to a contracting, pinching or cutting pain, which is relieved by pressing upon the stomach, or by eructations of wind; the pains are aggravated by motion (the opposite in Cinchona). These symptoms are attended with constipation, and a pressure in the temples, the forehead or back part of the head, as if the bones of the head were being forced asunder, which is better when pressed hard or tied tight with a handkerchief.

Pulsatilla pratensis, when the pains are of a piercing character; are worse when walking, particularly on making a false step, and always accompanied by nausea or vomiting; the evacuations loose; no thirst, except during the most violent pains; also when there is great tension of the stomach, with pinching pain, or violent throbbing, with anxiety; griping pain, diminished by eating, or the symptoms are made worse by eating; the pain being pressing and pinching. This remedy is most suitable for persons of a mild, gentle disposition, or if cake or rich, fat food was the cause.

Nux moschata, pressure in the stomach, which feels full and distended; a feeling of satiety after eating only a little; after eating, feels very bad and uncomfortable, short of breath; headache after eating too much; headache always after breakfast or immediately after eating and drinking, cramp and pain in the bowels; offensive breath, white-coated tongue; the patient likes to sit in the house and feels drowsy from it.

Ignatia amara, when Pulsatilla is insufficient and the complaints continue for several days; the pains resemble those of Nux vomica, but are without the hard stools and with less vomiting; also when there is pressure in the upper part of the stomach after every meal, or in the lower part of the throat. It is suitable in cases brought on by insufficient food or starvation. It is particularly indicated when the stomach feels as if it was hanging on a thread.

China officinalis for spasm of the stomach in debilitated persons, brought on by using emetics or cathartics, being bled or cupped frequently, or by profuse loss of blood in any way, or by salivation or loss of fluids by other means. It is of the first importance in pain occurring in women who are nursing, or who are debilitated by nursing their children too long; or from excessive secretion and flow of milk. Belladonna will follow it in these cases advantageously. Cinchona must, therefore, be given first, when women have spasm of the stomach from nursing, particularly when much milk runs away (here belladonna is to be given afterwards), or when they continue nursing too long, that is, more than nine months; in the latter case the child ought to be weaned. Generally, when the digestion is not good, with too great a secretion of mucus and acidity in the stomach; when the stomach feels sore; when meat and drink cause pressure and inflation of the stomach, and if the pains are worse when the patient is at rest, and better when in motion, Cinchona will be the best remedy.

Carbo vegetabilis, particularly when Nux vomica has proved useful, but only for a short time; when there is a burning pain, or constant, painful, anxious pressure, worse when touched; or with a contracting, spasmodic sensation, forcing the patient to bend, taking away his breath, and aggravated by lying down. Frequently accompanied by heartburn and nausea; loathing at the very thought of food; constipation.

Calcarea carbonica, in chronic cases, or when Belladonna has been of temporary benefit; for oppressive, cutting, contractive, spasmodic, pinching, choking pains, with a feeling of anxiety; worse after eating; frequently attended by vomiting of food, and worse at night; with pain from external pressure; it is particularly suitable for women whose monthly sicknesses are, or have been, too early and very copious; or for those who bleed much from the nose.

Phosphorus for violent pressure in the stomach, sometimes worse when empty, and sometimes worse after eating.

Causticum for pains in the stomach after swallowing food or drink which was too hot. Inflammation of stomach - see "Inflammation of Abdomen".[6]

Home Remedies

From time to time a tablespoonful of milk may be swallowed; and the region of the stomach rubbed with warm olive or linseed oil. Some are relieved by swallowing a spoonful of linseed oil. Sometimes relief is obtained by taking weal chicken broth, sometimes from the application to the region of the stomach of a sheet of blotting paper wet with rum. [7] If pain is around the naval, take 1gm of ajwain with lukewarm water, 2-3 times, with one hour intervals, or apply paste of pinch of asfoetida {heeng} with lukewarm water around the naval area. An effective home remedy for abdomen or stomach pain is grating a small piece of ginger and squeezing out its juice and applying it on the bottom of your belly and massaging it gently. Other few remedies that I know of is drinking lemon tea with some honey added to it, as well as drinking plenty of water, as this helps ensure smooth bowel movements. Another home remedy would be drinking a mixture of 1tsp each of mint juice and lime juice with some ginger juice and black slat added to it. More than anything if you see that the pain still persists and there is no relief then do visit the doctor as it could be pain rising from any other source which could need emergency treatment. [8]


  1. Abdominal pain
  2. How to Relieve Abdominal Pain Through Acupuncture
  3. Colic/Enteralgia
  4. Medicinal Plants/Ayurvedic Herbal Medicines
  5. Home Remedies - Herbal Home Remedies - Natural Herbs
  6. Hering C., The Homoeopathic Domestic Physician
  7. Hering C., The Homoeopathic Domestic Physician
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