Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)

abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is pain felt anywhere from below your ribs to your pelvis. It is also known as tummy pain or stomach pain. is very common in both children and adults and there are many different causes.

Serious causes of abdominal pain include appendicitis and pregnancy problems. However, most of it is not due to a serious illness, and individuals usually get better on their own.

Most people only need relief from their symptoms. Sometimes, it can stop and the cause will never be known, or it may be that the cause becomes more obvious with time.


The abdomen houses many organs, including your stomach, liver, pancreas, small and large bowel, and reproductive organs. There are also major blood vessels in the abdomen. With so many organs and structures in the abdomen, it can be hard to be absolutely sure about the cause of your problem.

Severe pain can be associated with mild illnesses such as wind pain from drinking or eating too much or cramping from constipation or a viral infection. Some people experience abdominal pain as a result of stress.

Even if the exact cause of pain is often not known, it will often get better by itself with simple pain relief and time. There are, however, some serious illnesses that can start with mild abdominal pain, For this reason all abdominal pain should be monitored.


It can happen suddenly or develop slowly. During periods of abdominal pain both adults and children may cry and pull their knees up towards their chest. 

It is important to watch for other symptoms that are associated with the cause of the pain, such as vomiting, diarrhoea and/or fever.

Most abdominal pain goes away without special treatment. Be guided by your doctor, but there are some things you can do to help ease the pain, including:

  • Place a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag on your abdomen.
  • Soak in a warm bath.
  • Drink plenty of clear fluids such as water.
  • Reduce your intake of coffee, tea and alcohol as these can make the pain worse.
  • Get plenty of rest.

If you are concerned about your abdominal paid or want to investigate this further then it is strongly recommended that you seek medical treatment.

  • In an emergency, always call triple zero (000)
  • Your GP
  • NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 60 60 24 – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
  • The emergency department of your nearest hospital

For more detailed information on abdominal pain be sure to check out our sources:


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