Abdominal pain, also known as a stomach ache, is a symptom associated with both non-serious and serious medical issues.
Common causes of pain in the abdomen include gastroenteritis and irritable bowel syndrome. About 15% of people have a more serious underlying condition such as appendicitis, leaking or ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, diverticulitis, or ectopic pregnancy. In a third of cases the exact cause is unclear.
Given that a variety of diseases can cause some form of abdominal pain, a systematic approach to the examination of a person and the formulation of a differential diagnosis remains important.
In Chinese medicine, abdominal pain around and below the navel indicates disharmonies of the intestines, bladder, uterus or kidney; abdominal pain above the navel indicates disharmony of the spleen and intestines; pain of the side of the abdomen indicates disharmony of the liver and gall bladder.