Abdominal pain can occur in the center of the abdomen, on the right or left side. In addition, a difference is made between the top and the bottom of the abdomen. Pinpointing the exact spot is important in order to identify the cause sooner. Often other symptoms are also present. Where does the stomach ache come from?
Abdominal pain on the right or left
Pain in the abdomen can be felt in three places: right, left and in the middle. It makes quite a difference for the diagnosis. Sometimes it is not clear where exactly the abdominal pain is because it radiates to the entire abdominal cavity. However, it is much easier for a doctor if he can tell where exactly the pain is located. Sometimes it helps to press on the abdomen, and a clear pain is often felt when pushing on the painful side. This often makes locating easier.
Heart complaints sometimes cause stomach pain
Abdominal pain originating from the heart is felt in the center or more to the left of the abdomen, just below the costal margin. Symptoms of the blood vessels can also be felt in the abdomen. The pain often increases in severity and does not decrease. There are often other complaints such as shortness of breath that occurs especially during exertion, palpitations, fatigue, pain in the shoulder or leg and/or shortness of breath and sweating. If these complaints persist for a long time, it is advisable to see a doctor. In most cases, if in doubt, an extensive examination will be carried out by a cardiologist (heart specialist).
Stomach complaints: in the upper middle of the abdomen
Stomach complaints are often palpable as pain in the upper center of the abdomen. The pain can be sudden, stabbing or a long-lasting aching pain. Stomach complaints can consist of a stomach ulcer, inflammation of the stomach lining, stomach bleeding, stomach cancer or other complaints. The complaints often arise after eating, when the stomach is full, and they diminish when the stomach is empty. Often other symptoms are also present, such as bloating, bleeding, nausea or vomiting. Stomach complaints that last longer than a week, when blood is coughed up/vomited or the stools are dark, when the pain is very severe or increasing, should be seen by a doctor. The other complaints often involve a mild inflammation of the stomach mucosa and will disappear spontaneously after 7 to 10 days.
Intestinal complaints: lower right side of the abdomen
The large intestine in particular causes the most complaints, such as inflammation (diverticulitis). But the small intestine can also become inflamed. The pain is often palpable in the lower right side of the abdomen, but in severe pain conditions it can radiate to the center and to the left. The pain is clearly localized in the lower abdomen. A chronic inflammation of the intestines is Crohn’s disease. A chronic disorder of the intestines is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which causes abdominal pain that can be aching, stabbing or cramping. Abdominal pain due to intestinal complaints can cause severe colic. These are cramp-like pains that are so severe that the patient bends over in pain.
Appendicitis: pain around the navel and lower right side of the abdomen
In appendicitis, the vermiform appendage of the appendix is inflamed. The complaints often start with pain around the navel. Later the pain is palpable in the lower right side of the abdomen. Pressing the abdomen in this place hurts, but letting go also hurts (release pain). Diarrhea and loss of appetite often occur. Appendicitis can ultimately cause perforation of the appendix, causing intestinal contents to enter the abdominal cavity. This then results in a dangerous peritonitis. For this reason, an inflamed appendix is always removed.
Gallstones or an inflamed gallbladder: upper right abdominal pain
Gallstones cause pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. More than 1/3rd of the population has gallstones that are mainly caused by cholesterol, but only a small portion of these patents actually suffer from gallstones. If this is the case, the gallstones must be removed. The gallstones are often stuck in the passage to the intestines and therefore cause the pain. An inflamed gallbladder can be recognized by pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, fever, pain on pressure and pain when releasing and a palpable swelling in the upper right part of the abdomen. In most cases, surgery is performed for an inflamed gallbladder.
Pain in the upper right and upper left abdomen
Abdominal pain that is palpable in the upper right abdomen can also be caused by: diseases of the liver, inflammation of the pancreas. The pain in the upper left corner can also come from: complaints of the spleen, diseases of the colon such as inflammation, colon cancer or an abnormality.
Abdominal pain lower right and lower left
In addition to the above conditions, pain in the lower left abdomen can also be caused by the large intestine and in women often by the ovaries, fallopian tubes or conditions such as endometriosis or adhesions. The same complaints can occur in women in the lower right part of the abdomen. The large intestine is also often the cause of pain in the lower right abdomen.