Abdominal distress is any pain or discomfort in the abdomen. The abdominal area is the area between your chest and groin, often referred to as the stomach region or belly. See abdominal pain , abdominal bloating , and excessive gas .
Diseases or problems with any of the organs inside the abdominal cavity can lead to pain as well as other symptoms likea change in bowel habits, nausea, or vomiting. The pain may be chronic (ongoing) or acute (sudden), crampy or sharp, and associated with abdominal rigidity (board-like stiffness). Rigidity suggests peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum, the thin membrane that lines the abdominal cavity) and may represent a ruptured organ (such as the appendix).
Pain in the abdomen may also originate from somewhere else -- like your chest, pelvic region (the area just below the abdomen that houses the reproductive organs), or a generalized infection affecting many parts of your body (like the flu or strep throa...
Rigidity of the abdomen
Involuntary abdominal rigidity should always be evaluated by your health care provider.
Call your health care provider if
All forms of involuntary rigidity and rebound tenderness (pain when the abdomen is gently pressed and then the pressure is released) need immediate medical attention, preferably in an emergency room. You may need surgery.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
You will probably be seen in an emergency room instead of at your doctor's office.
The health care providerwill perform a physical examination. The physical examination may include a pelvic (and possibly a rectal) examination.
The health care provider will ask questions about your symptoms, such as:
When did they first start?
What other symptoms do you have at the same time? For example, do you have abdominal pain ?
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
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