Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is the second most common form of persistent pain in young people.


Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP): RAP is a primary pain disorder, usually defined as at least three episodes of abdominal pain, severe enough to limit a person’s functioning, over at least three months.

Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's/ulcerative colitis): IBD causes irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood in the bowel movements and weight loss. The exact cause of IBD is not known, but it may be related to dysfunction of the immune system. Even when IBD is in remission (goes away), pain can continue and become chronic.

Irritable bowel syndrome: IBS involves abdominal pain and bloating. Some people get constipated with IBS, others get diarrhea and others have both at different times. Symptoms often come and go over time. No one knows exactly what causes IBS, but it seems to involve the nervous system in the colon becoming extremely sensitive to certain foods or stresses.

Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS): IC/PBS involves pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen, as well as urinary symptoms, including frequency and urgency of urination. The cause of the condition is not well understood. Often those with the condition will experience periods where they have few symptoms.

Abdominal cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome (ACNES): ACNES causes chronic pain in the wall of the abdomen. It happens when the ends of certain nerves become trapped in the abdominal muscles, causing severe pain and tenderness in the area.

See your healthcare provider if you develop new symptoms such as:

  • increased diarrhea or constipation

  • blood in the bowel movement

  • weight loss

  • night sweats or fever.

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