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Recurring Abdominal Pain

If your pain is provoked by abrupt pressure in your abdominal cavity (as is caused by a cough or sneeze), it is possible that you have a hernia. A hernia is an area of bowel that can become pinched as it pushes through an accidental opening in the abdomen, such as a tear in your muscular abdominal wall.

Some hernias create a bulge in the naval area, the middle of the abdomen, or on one side of the groin, but hernias can also occur without a visible bulge.

Hernias can be difficult to diagnose, since the bowel usually appears normal on tests that are done between attacks. If a hernia is considered likely, your doctor might choose to begin your evaluation with a series of x-rays taken after you swallow a liquid named barium ("upper GI series") or with a computed tomography scan (CT scan).

Some problems in the back can cause pain in the abdomen. If you have back pain with your abdominal pain, a back problem should be considered.

Common problems that can be sensitive to cough, sneezing or straining in the abdomen and can result in abdominal pain include

  • abdominal (ventral) hernia or umbilical hernia (including abdominal hernia, umbilical hernia, or inguinal (groin) hernia)

  • inguinal hernia (hernia in the groin)

  • muscle strain

  • vertebral disk disease (bulging or ruptured disk)

  • vertebral fracture.


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