What Causes Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain is caused by inflammation (for example, appendicitis, diverticulitis, colitis), by stretching or distention of an organ (for example, obstruction of the intestine, blockage of a bile duct by gallstones, swelling of the liver with hepatitis), or by loss of the supply of blood to an organ (for example, ischemic colitis). To complicate matters, however, abdominal pain also can occur for unclear reasons without inflammation, distention, or loss of blood supply. An important example of this latter type of pain is the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These latter types of pain are often referred to as functional pain because no recognizable (visible) causes for the pain have been found.