An abdominal mass is swelling in one part of the belly area (abdomen).
Mass in the abdomen
An abdominal mass is usually found during a routine
physical examination. Most of the time the mass develops slowly. You may not be able to feel the mass.
Finding where the pain occurs helps the doctor make a diagnosis. For example, the abdomen is usually divided into four areas:
- Right-upper quadrant
- Left-upper quadrant
- Right-lower quadrant
- Left-lower quadrant
Other terms used to find the location of abdominal pain or masses include:
- Epigastric -- center of the abdomen just below the rib cage
- Periumbilical -- area around the bellybutton
The location of the mass and its firmness, texture, and other qualities can provide clues to its cause.
Abdominal aortic aneurysmcan cause a pulsating mass around the navel. Bladder distention(urinary bladder over-filled with fluid) can cause a firm mass in the center of the lower abdomen above the pelvic bones. In extreme cases it can reach as far up as the navel. Cholecystitiscan cause a very tender mass that is felt below the liver in the right-upper quadrant (occasionally). Colon cancercan cause a mass almost anywhere in the abdomen. Crohn's diseaseor bowel obstruction can cause many tender, sausage-shaped masses anywhere in the abdomen. Diverticulitiscan cause a mass that is usually located in the left-lower quadrant.
- Gallbladder tumor can cause a tender, irregularly shaped mass in the right-upper quadrant.
Hydronephrosis(fluid-filled kidney) can cause a smooth, spongy-feeling mass in one or both sides or toward the back (flank area). Kidney cancercan sometimes cause a mass in the abdomen. Liver cancercan cause a firm, lumpy mass in the right upper quadrant. Liver enlargement(hepatomegaly) can cause a firm, irregular mass below the right rib cage, or on the left side in the stomach area. Neuroblastoma, a cancerous tumor, often found in the lower abdomen, that mainly occurs in children and infants. Ovarian cystcan cause a smooth, rounded, rubbery mass above the pelvis in the lower abdomen. Pancreatic abscesscan cause a mass in the upper abdomen in the epigastric area. Pancreatic pseudocystcan cause a lumpy mass in the upper abdomen in the epigastric area. Renal cell carcinomacan cause a smooth, firm, but not tender mass near the kidney (usually only affects one kidney). Spleen enlargement(splenomegaly) can sometimes be felt in the left-upper quadrant. Stomach cancercan cause a mass in the left-upper abdomen in the stomach area (epigastric) if the canceris large.
leiomyoma(fibroids) can cause a round, lumpy mass above the pelvis in the lower abdomen (sometimes can be felt if the fibroids are large). Volvuluscan cause a mass anywhere in the abdomen. Ureteropelvic junction obstructioncan cause a mass in the lower abdomen.