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Intestinal pain is a specific sensation of discomfort, distress, or agony in the abdominal region. It is generally associated with functional disorders, tissue injuries, or diseases. There are some rules about this pain that everyone should know.


It is better to refer to this as abdominal pain, because a person can rarely tell that the pain originates exactly from the intestines.

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Although the intestinal or abdominal pain can arise from the tissues of the abdominal wall that surrounds the abdominal cavity, the term abdominal pain is generally used to describe the pain originating from organs within the abdominal cavity.

These organs include:

  • Organs related to digestion - the stomach, the end of the esophagus, the small and large intestines, the liver, the gallbladder, and the pancreas.
  • The abdominal aorta - a large blood vessel that runs straight down from the thorax into the inside of the abdomen.
  • The appendix - an organ in the lower right abdomen that no longer serves much function.
  • The kidneys - two bean shaped organs that lie deep within the abdominal cavity.

However, the pain may originate from somewhere else like your chest or pelvic region. You may also have a generalized infection affecting many parts of your body, like the flu or strep throat. What are the borders of abdomen? Well, the abdomen is an anatomical area that is bounded by the lower margin of the ribs above, the pelvic bone below, and the flanks on each side.

“Referred” pain

In some rare cases, the pain felt in the abdomen isn’t related to any organ in the abdominal cavity. There is a theory that explains this: Abdominal pain has the unusual ability to travel along rhe deep nerve pathways and emerge at sites away from the source of the problem. For example, the lower lungs, the kidneys, and the uterus or ovaries can project pain into the abdomen. This type of pain is called "referred" pain because, although originating outside the abdomen, it is being referred to in the abdominal area.

Some of the referred pain examples are:

  • Right shoulder can project into diaphragm, gall bladder, liver capsule…
  • Left shoulder can project into diaphragm, spleen, tail of pancreas, stomach, splenic flexure, pneumoperitoneum…
  • Right scapula pain can project into gall bladder, biliary tree…
  • Left scapula projects into spleen, tail of pancreas

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