Our Senior Consultant Gastoenterologist at Nobel Gastroenterolgy Centre, Dr Eric Wee was invited by the staff of Supreme Court to give a talk on Abdominal Pain. Here are some highlights from his presentation:
There are many clues about the pain, which can point to its cause. Often, patients are cognizant of the location of the pain, but a good specialist will devote a considerable amount of time discovering the nature of the pain, which may be poking, burning, crampy or squeezing. Pain that lasts for a few seconds is different from one that lasts for minutes or hours.
Where the pain travels in the body, gives a clue as well. Pain in the upper part of the abdomen that goes to the left may be from the stomach or colon, pain from the upper part that goes to the right may also come from the gallbladder (e.g. gallstones). Pain in the lower abdomen of a female can be gynaecological in nature. Abdominal pain can be worse with meals, better with meals or independent of meals.
Once a Gastroenterologist has a clear understanding of the nature of the pain, he or she will propose a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis – cherry picking only what is required, rather than performing a battery of tests that is unnecessary. For individuals with abdominal pain, these may include a gastroscopy (to check the stomach), colonoscopy (to check the colon), ultrasound (to check the gallbladder, liver and kidneys) or a CT scan/MRI scan of the abdomen.