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Abdominal pain (or stomach ache) is a common symptom associated with transient disorders or serious disease. Diagnosing the cause of abdominal pain can be difficult, because many diseases can cause this symptom. Most frequently the cause is benign and/or self-limiting, but more serious causes may require urgent intervention.
Rates of ED visits in the United States for abdominal pain increased 18% from 2006 through 2011. This was the largest increase out of 20 common conditions seen in the ED. The rate of ED use for nausea and vomiting also increased 18%.
^==Diagnostic approach==When a physician assesses a patient to determine the etiology and subsequent treatment for abdominal pain the patient's history of the presenting complaint and physical examination should derive a diagnosis in over 90% of cases.It is important also for a physician to remember that abdominal pain can be caused by problems outside the abdomen, especially heart attacks and pneumonias which can occasionally present as abdominal pain.Investigations that would aid diagnosis include*Blood tests including full blood count, electrolytes, urea, creatinine, liver function tests, pregnancy test, amylase and lipase.*Urinalysis*Imaging including erect chest X-ray and plain films of the abdomen*An electrocardiograph to rule out a heart attack which can occasionally present as abdominal painIf diagnosis remains unclear after history, examination and basic investigations as above then more advanced investigations may reveal a diagnosis. These as such would include*Computed Tomography of the abdomen/pelvis*Abdominal or pelvic ultrasound*Endoscopy and colonoscopy (not used for diagnosing acute pain)