Upper abdominal pain while sitting

Upper abdominal pain in adults can be a symptom of a much wider range of conditions than just constipation. A number of different disorders can cause it, and some can be serious and even life-threatening.

In fact, most of the time, upper abdominal pain is a symptom of more serious digestive problems like stomach or gallbladder problems.

It may be due to:

  • Intestinal obstruction (blockage in the intestines)
  • Heart attack or other heart-related conditions
  • Kidney stones or other kidney-related conditions
  • Hernia
  • Ileus (passing gas with no gas passing)
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Cancer of the colon or rectum
  • Colon polyps and cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Infection in the colon
  • Crohn’s colitis
  • Ulcerative colitis (UC)
  • Diverticulitis (inflammation of the colon)
  • Ulcerative colitis

Other symptoms of upper abdominal pain in adults

Sometimes, upper abdominal pain in adults is a symptom of a digestive disorder that is not serious.

In these cases, the pain is just a symptom of a more serious digestive problem.

These symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Anemia
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Chills
  • Rash

Diagnosing upper abdominal pain in adults

If you have upper abdominal pain, your doctor will want to rule out a serious condition.

To do this, your doctor will perform a number of tests. Your doctor will do a physical examination of your abdomen. They will also take your medical history, and ask you about your symptoms.

Your doctor may order additional tests, depending on your symptoms and medical history. For example, they may order blood tests, a urine test, or an X-ray.

In some cases, upper abdominal pain in adults can be a symptom of a problem with the gallbladder or pancreas.

If your doctor suspects you have a gallbladder problem, they will want to know if the pain is related to a full or empty gallbladder.

In some cases, upper abdominal pain in adults may be caused by a problem with the small intestine, or colon.

The type of test and type of procedure your doctor recommends will depend on your symptoms and medical history.

Treatment for upper abdominal pain in adults

If your upper abdominal pain is due to a serious condition, you may need to have surgery to remove or repair the problem.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to treat an underlying condition.

If you are having surgery, your doctor may recommend that you:

  • Stay in the hospital in the intensive care unit (ICU)
  • Have a feeding tube
  • Have a breathing tube
  • Have an intravenous (IV) line
  • Have a colostomy bag
  • Have a urinary catheter
  • Have a nasogastric (NG) tube

If your doctor recommends surgery, they will give you detailed instructions about what to expect during the procedure. They may also use sedatives or other medications to help you relax. You may also have a general anesthetic, which means you will be asleep during the surgery. This will help your doctor avoid any complications from pain.

After surgery, you may have some pain or discomfort. Your doctor will probably want you to take pain medication to help you manage your pain.

You may also be given a diet to help with any digestive problems you may have after surgery.

For a long time after surgery, you will need to take pain medication and follow a diet.

You may have some swelling in the upper abdomen, but the pain and swelling should go away within a week or so.

After some time, you may start to have bowel movements again. The amount of time will depend on your medical history, current condition, and the type of surgery you had.

You may also be given a liquid diet for some time after a surgery. This may help you pass gas without having a bowel movement.

In some cases, upper abdominal pain in adults can be a symptom of a more serious condition.

For example, pain in the upper abdomen may be a symptom of:

  • Intestinal obstruction (blockage in the intestines), which is a medical emergency
  • Heart attack or other heart-related conditions, in which the heart muscle is damaged
  • Kidney stones or other kidney-related problems
  • Hernia, in which the intestines or other abdominal muscles are pushing on organs or tissues
  • Ileus (passing gas with no gas passing), which is a symptom of ileus
  • Gallbladder problems, in which the gallbladder muscle is damaged
  • Colon polyps and cancer, in which the colon lining cells grow out of control
  • Crohn’s disease, in which the immune system attacks the gut lining

The type of treatment your doctor recommends will depend on your symptoms and medical history. They may also recommend other tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan.

Some people may need to have surgery to remove their gallbladder or pancreas. They may also need surgery to repair a hernia or other abdominal problem.

If your doctor recommends surgery, they will give you detailed instructions about what to expect during the procedure. They may also use sedatives or other medications to help you relax.

After surgery, you may have some pain or discomfort. Your doctor will probably want you to take pain medication to help you manage your symptoms.

You may start to have bowel movements again in a few days. The amount of time will depend on your medical history, current condition, and the type of surgery you have.

You may also be given a liquid diet for some time after surgery. This may help you pass gas without having a bowel motion.

For a long time after surgery, you will need to take pain medication and follow a liquid diet.

You may have some swelling in the upper abdomen, but the pain and swelling should go away within a week or two.

If you have severe pain, you may need to have surgery.

What is the treatment for upper abdominal pain in adults in children?

Most of the time, upper abdominal pain in children is a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.

If your child has an upper abdominal pain that is caused by a more serious underlying condition, you should pay attention to when it happens.

If your child has a bowel obstruction, you should call 911 right away.

For many other conditions, including heart conditions, gallbladder problems, and colorectal cancer, the underlying cause is likely to be a serious condition.

If your child has an upper abdominal pain that is caused by a more serious underlying condition, you should call 911 rightaway.

How do I care for my child after an upper abdominal pain in adults?

In most cases, the underlying cause of the pain in adults is something that can be treated.

For example, if your child’s pain is caused by a heart condition, they will need to see a cardiologist or heart specialist for treatment.

If your child’s pain is caused by a gallbladder problem, they will have to have surgery.

If your child’s pain is caused by a colon-related cancer, they will need to see a colorectal specialist.

If your child’s pain is caused by some type of intestinal blockage, surgery to remove the blockage may help.

You may also need to see a gastroenterologist or GI doctor.

Some conditions, such as appendicitis, can be life-threatening.

If your doctor has ruled out other conditions or your child’s pain is severe, you may need to have surgery.

For some children, other treatment may be needed.

For example, if your doctor has ruled out other conditions or your child’s pain is severe, they may want you to try taking acetaminophen to help manage their pain.

How can I prevent upper abdominal pain in adults?

In most cases, the pain from an upper abdominal condition is caused by a more serious underlying cause.

The best way to prevent upper abdominal pain in adults is to make sure your child gets regular checkups with their doctor.

The sooner a serious underlying condition is treated, the better.

If your children are experiencing pain, you should make sure you take it seriously.

For example, if your children’s pain is caused by an intestinal obstruction, they should be seen right away.

If your children are experiencing abdominal pain caused by gallbladder problems or colorectal cancer, they should be seen by a gastroenterologist or GI doctor.

You should also make sure you keep a close eye on your child’s bowel movements to make sure they’re passing the right amount of gas.

If your children start having bowel movements after age 1, they should see a gastroenterologist or GI doctor to make sure they’re not passing gas with no gas.

When should I call my child’s doctor?

If your children have upper abdominal pain that is caused by a more serious underlying cause, they should be seen by a doctor right away.

Key takeaway

Upper abdominal pain in adults can be a symptom of a serious underlying condition.

If your kids have pain, it’s important to keep a close eye on it.

If you think your child may have a serious underlying condition, get them seen right away.

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