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Understanding New and Severe Abdominal Pain

Due to your age, you are at risk for several serious medical problems that could explain widespread abdominal pain. You urgently need to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

The arteries that feed your bowel are susceptible to narrowing in any person who has atherosclerosis (cholesterol-associated artery damage). Sometimes, a blockage in an artery to the bowel will create diffuse abdominal pain. Impaired circulation to your intestine is called "intestinal angina" or "ischemic intestine."

Many adults form "diverticuli" as they age, which are hollow tubular bulges that branch from the colon lining like small pockets. These pockets can accumulate bacteria and can cause pain or brisk bleeding.

Your pain could also be explained by a more mundane medical problem. Common causes of diffuse abdominal pain that might explain your symptoms include a viral infection (gastroenteritis), gas, constipation, an irritable colon, or a metabolic abnormality such as high calcium.

Click here for more information on diverticulosis.

Click here for more information on irritable bowel syndrome.


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