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Chronic abdominal pain is pain that is present for more than three months. It may be present all the time, or it may come and go (referred to as “recurrent pain”). Causes include:
Functional chronic abdominal pain is real pain that exists for more than six months and occurs with no evidence of a specific physical disorder. It is also not related to body functions (such as menstrual periods, bowel movements, or eating), a drug, or a toxin. Functional pain can be severe and typically interferes with a person’s life.
Exactly what causes the pain is unknown. But the nerves of the digestive tract may become oversensitive to sensations.
Symptoms of chronic abdominal pain vary from patient to patient, and they may change with each episode. The most common symptoms include:
Symptoms that require a doctor’s immediate attention include a high fever, loss of appetite or weight, pain that awakens the person, blood in stool or urine, jaundice, severe nausea and vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and swelling of the legs or abdomen.
Treatment depends on the cause. If a physical cause is known, treating the cause is the first step.
When a physical cause is not found, treatment focuses on helping people return to normal daily activities and minimizing discomfort. These measures include:
Our physicians at the Weill Cornell Medicine Division of Pain Management use the latest research, the most advanced equipment, and innovative therapies to diagnose pain and develop customized pain management plans for each patient.
We are experts in diagnosing and treating chronic abdominal pain and its many causes.
Weill Cornell Medicine also offers clinical trials, giving patients access to treatments that may not be available elsewhere. Learn more about Pain Management's current clinical trials.
Learn more about the conditions we treat and the services we offer and contact us today to schedule a consultation.