Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Questions about Pain in the Abdomen

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HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 21: Pain in the Lower Abdomen > Questions about Pain in the Abdomen


If your pain does not fit one of the kinds described on the previous pages, these questions may help to learn more about it.

What is the pain like? Is it sharp and severe—or dull, achy, and not so bad? Does it come and go, or is it constant?

  • Terrible pain that comes and goes could be from a kidney stone. Severe grabbing, clenching, or cramping pain could be from an intestinal problem.
a woman holding her abdomen in pain while another woman speaks to her
Yuni, go to the clinic today to see about this pain you are having. It will only get worse.
A woman who walks with pain today could die from it tomorrow. Get help early if you are not sure.
  • Sharp, severe pain, especially just in one place, could be appendicitis or a pregnancy outside the womb in the tube.


How long has the pain lasted?

  • Sudden, severe pain that does not get better is probably serious. It could be from a pregnancy in the tube, appendicitis or other gut problems, something wrong with the ovary, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • Pain that lasts for many days or weeks, especially if it is not severe, may be caused by scars from an old infection, indigestion, or nerves. It may be possible to treat this at home.


Does the pain affect your hunger?

  • If you have pain in the abdomen and you DO NOT want to eat anything, you may have a serious infection in your intestines, or appendicitis.
  • If you have pain and you DO feel like eating, you probably do not have one of these problems.

For more information on pain in the lower abdomen, see Where There Is No Doctor or another general medical book.


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