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Diagnosing abdominal pain can sometimes be difficult. To diagnose abdominal pain more easily, the abdomen is divided into four quadrants: the left upper quadrant, right upper quadrant, left lower quadrant and right lower quadrant.

Abdominal pain can be deep or superficial, acute or chronic, persistent, intermittent or continuous. Abdominal pain is described as a stabbing, sharp or burning sensation.

Possible conditions that can cause abdominal pain in the right lower abdomen are:

  • Gallstones - stones created in the gallbladder. The pain is in a form of biliary colics. The pain is sharp and stabbing, mostly after a fatty meal. It may radiate to the upper right back or chest.

  • Appendicitis - inflammation of the appendix. The pain usually starts around the umbilicus, but over the time it gets worse and localizes in the right lower quadrant. You can also have nausea, vomiting and fever.

  • Inguinal hernia - the protrusion of abdominal organs through the inguinal canal. The usual organs affected are the small intestine, omentum and colon, but theoretically it can be any organ of the abdomen. The inguinal hernia can be direct or indirect depending on their relationship to the inferior epigastric vessels.

  • Urinary tract infections - the disease can affect the kidneys, the ureter, bladder or urethra. A UTI is is usually caused by bacteria which migrate from the urethra to the bladder. An infection in the upper part of the urinary tract usually started lower down, traveling upwards. Very bad abdominal pain usually occurs when the ureter and the kidney is affected.

  • Kidney stones - the pain is in the form of renal colic. A stone usually causes pain when moving from the kidneys to the bladder through the ureter.

  • Ectopic pregnancy - implantation of an egg outside of the uterus in the ovary, fallopian tube or anywhere in the abdomen.

  • Endometriosis - it is a disease characterized by growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus. The pain is related to the menstrual cycle and can usually be felt during menstruation.

  • Ovarian cysts - sacs filled with fluid that grows in the ovary and can cause abdominal pain and discomfort.

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease - an inflammation of the pelvis and the female reproductive organs, usually caused by an STD.

Other symptoms that you might feel are nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, tenderness, fever, and fullness.

First, your doctor will go over your medical history, what symptoms you have and when they started, where the pain is localized, how intense it is and whether it radiates. Your doctor will also ask what actions make the pain better or worse. Your doctor will probably do a bimanual examination of your abdomen, which will help to diagnose the cause.

Diagnosis of abdominal pain can be made with various tests like:

  • Blood test

  • Imaging test- MRI, Ultrasound and X-Rays

  • Colonoscopy

  • Endoscopy

The treatment of abdominal pain varies from medication for inflammatory diseases, antibiotics for infections, changes in the diet if the pain is caused by a certain food, to surgery in complex cases.

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