Recurrent Abdominal Pain

For children under 12, see chart 48

Abdominal discomfort that has occurred on more than one day in the past month may be a symptom of a digestive tract disorder or, less commonly, of a urinary tract problem. It is important to consult your doctor if you experience recurrent attacks of abdominal pain even if they are short-lived.

  • Where is the pain mainly felt?

    • Below the waist

      Is pain accompanied by bouts of diarrhoea and/or constipation?

      • Diarrhoea and/or constipation

        Do you have any of the following symptoms?

        • Blood in the urine
        • Pain on passing urine
        • Passing urine more often than usual
        • None of the above

          Are you currently taking any medications or complementary remedies?

          • Yes
            • Possible cause Your symptoms may be a side effect of the medication or remedy.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor. Continue to take prescribed medication unless advised to stop by your doctor but stop taking any other medications or complementary remedies.

          • No

            Are you female or male?

            • Female
            • Male
              • Possible cause Your symptoms may be a side effect of the medication or remedy.

                Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor. Continue to take prescribed medication unless advised to stop by your doctor but stop taking any other medications or complementary remedies.

      • No change in bowel habit

        Do you have either of the following symptoms?

        • Blood in the faeces
        • Progressive, unintentional weight loss
        • Neither
          • Possible cause It is possible that you have a long-term intestinal condition such as irritable bowel syndrome. However, the possibility of colorectal cancer also needs to be ruled out.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

    • Above the waist

      What kind of pain have you been experiencing?

      • Burning central chest pain when you bend or lie down
        • Possible cause Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is the most likely cause of this type of upper abdominal pain.

          Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

      • Pain that is related to meals
      • Pain in the upper right abdomen that may spread to the back
        • Possible cause Gallstones are a possible cause.

          Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

      • None of the above

        Do you have any of these symptoms?

        • Swelling in the groin
          • Possible cause Such symptoms suggest the possibility of a hernia.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Discomfort in the groin made worse by lifting or coughing
          • Possible cause Such symptoms suggest the possibility of a hernia.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Neither

          Do you have any of the following symptoms?

          • Blood in the urine
          • Pain on passing urine
          • Passing urine more often than usual
          • None of the above

            Are you currently taking any medications or complementary remedies?

            • Yes
              • Possible cause Your symptoms may be a side effect of the medication or remedy.

                Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor. Continue to take prescribed medication unless advised to stop by your doctor but stop taking any other medications or complementary remedies.

            • No

              Are you female or male?

              • Female
              • Male
                • Possible cause Your symptoms may be a side effect of the medication or remedy.

                  Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor. Continue to take prescribed medication unless advised to stop by your doctor but stop taking any other medications or complementary remedies.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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