Abdominal pain is pain that you feel anywhere between your chest and groin. This is often referred to as the stomach region or belly. Almost everyone has pain in the abdomen at some point. Most of the time, it is not serious. How bad your pain is does not always reflect the seriousness of the condition causing the pain. For example, you might have very bad abdominal pain if you have gas or stomach cramps due to viral gastroenteritis.
However, fatal conditions, such as colon cancer or early appendicitis, may only cause mild pain or no pain. There are several ways to describe pain in your abdomen. The first is generalized pain. This means that you feel it in more than half of your belly. This type of pain is more typical for a stomach virus, indigestion, or gas. If the pain becomes more severe, it may be caused by a blockage of the intestines. The second is localized pain. This is pain found in only one area of your belly. It is more likely to be a sign of a problem in an organ, such as the appendix, gallbladder, or stomach. The third is cramp-like pain. This type of pain is not serious most of the time. It is likely to be due to gas and bloating and is often followed by diarrhea. More worrisome signs include pain that occurs more often, lasts more than 24 hours, or occurs with a fever. The fourth is colicky pain. This type of pain comes in waves. It very often starts and ends suddenly, and is often severe. Kidney stones and gallstones are common causes of this type of belly pain.
Many different conditions can cause abdominal pain. The key is to know when you need to get medical care right away. Sometimes, you may only need to call a healthcare provider if your symptoms continue. Less serious causes of abdominal pain include constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies or intolerance (such as lactose intolerance), food poisoning, and stomach flu. Other possible causes include appendicitis, abdominal aortic aneurysm (bulging and weakening of the major artery in the body), bowel blockage or obstruction, cancer of the stomach or colon, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) with or without gallstones, decreased blood supply to the intestines (ischemic bowel), diverticulitis (inflammation and infection of the colon), heartburn, indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis), kidney stones, pancreatitis (swelling or infection of the pancreas), and ulcers.
Common home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines include eat less food, take small amounts of baking soda, use lemon and/or lime juice, start a BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce, and toast) for a day or so for symptom relief, don’t smoke or drink alcohol. Some health care professionals recommend taking ginger, peppermint, licorice, chamomile tea, medications such as bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), loperamide (Imodium), ranitidine (Zantac) and other over-the-counter substances. Taking aspirin or NSAIDs should be avoided until the cause of the pain is diagnosed because the medications could make some causes worse (for example, peptic ulcers, intestinal bleeding).
Medications that are used for the treatment of underlying cause(s) of the pain are the medications of choice. For example, medications are not needed for the treatment of simple viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu or stomach bug), while surgery and/or chemotherapy may be the best approach to treat certain cancers in the abdomen. Other causes may require antispasmodics, antimicrobials, H2 blockers, or even nitrates or morphine. The diagnosed cause usually narrows the choice of medications. A few causes can only be treated by surgery (for example incarcerated hernia, abdominal adhesions from previous surgeries, and certain abdominal injuries), although some medications may be used (for example, morphine) while the person is waiting to have surgery.
The table below includes the most commonly used ICD-10 codes for abdominal pain:
|ICD-10 Chapter||Codes||Code Description|
|18||R10.10||Upper abdominal pain, unspecified|
|18||R10.11||Right upper quadrant pain|
|18||R10.12||Left upper quadrant pain|
|18||R10.2||Pelvic and perineal pain|
|18||R10.30||Lower abdominal pain, unspecified|
|18||R10.31||Right lower quadrant pain|
|18||R10.32||Left lower quadrant pain|
|18||R10.811||Right upper quadrant abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.812||Left upper quadrant abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.813||Right lower quadrant abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.814||Left lower quadrant abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.815||Periumbilic abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.816||Epigastric abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.817||Generalized abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.819||Abdominal tenderness unspecified site|
|18||R10.821||Right upper quadrant rebound abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.822||Left upper quadrant rebound abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.823||Right lower quadrant rebound abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.824||Left lower quadrant rebound abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.825||Periumbilic rebound abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.826||Epigastric rebound abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.827||Generalized rebound abdominal tenderness|
|18||R10.829||Rebound abdominal tenderness unspecified site|
|18||R10.84||Generalized abdominal pain|
|18||R10.9||Unspecified abdominal pain|
Author: Tonoya Ahmed