Abdominal Pain

This information is useful for children, adults, and older adults
Woman puts pressure on her stomach while wincing
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Yale Medicine emergency doctors treat every patient with attention and care to provide relief from the symptoms associated with abdominal pain.
  • Our doctors have the expertise and the advanced diagnostic tools to make sure that the root problem is diagnosed and addressed as quickly as possible.
  • Specialists from a wide range of disciplines are available to explore the cause of your abdominal pain from a variety of perspectives.

A stomachache, otherwise known as abdominal pain, could come from any of a number of causes. It can indicate conditions of varying severity, ranging from lactose intolerance to peptic ulcers to emergency appendicitis.

Emergency medicine doctors use diagnostic tools and physical exams to determine why a patient is experiencing discomfort, uncover the source of the pain, and rule out more serious conditions. While not all abdominal pain is cause for worry, Yale Medicine emergency department doctors treat every patient with care and attention to make sure that the root problem is addressed as quickly as possible.

The most common causes of abdominal pain are related to the gastrointestinal tract. These include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux , heartburn or acid stomach caused by the return of the stomach's contents back up into the esophagus
  • Peptic ulcer disease, which refers to sores in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum
  • Gastritis , inflammation of the lining of the stomach
  • Bowel obstruction , blockage of the small or large intestine

Abdominal pain can also be caused by inflammation in other parts of the body, including:

  • Pancreatitis , inflammation of the pancreas
  • Hepatitis , inflammation of the liver
  • Colitis , inflammation of the bowel
  • Perticulitis, inflammation of the perticulum

When a female patient comes into the emergency department with abdominal pain, doctors will almost always order a pregnancy test to rule out ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the fertilized egg implants in a place other than the uterus.

Pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis are other common causes of abdominal pain in women.