Unknown Causes of Abdominal Pain (Adult)

The exact cause of your belly (abdominal) pain is not clear. Your exam and tests don't suggest a dangerous cause at this time. This does not mean that this is something to worry about. Everyone likes to know the exact cause of the problem. But sometimes with belly pain, there is no clear-cut cause, and this could be a good thing. Your symptoms can be treated, and you should feel better. 

Your condition does not seem serious now. But sometimes the signs of a serious problem may take more time to appear. For this reason, it's important for you to watch for any new symptoms, problems, or worsening of your condition.

Over the next few days, the abdominal pain may come and go. Or it may be constant. Other common symptoms can include nausea and vomiting. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you feel nauseous. You may just feel bad and not connect that feeling to nausea. Constipation, diarrhea, and a fever may go along with the pain.

The pain may continue even if treated correctly over the following days. Depending on how things go, sometimes the cause can become clear and you may need more or different treatment. You may also need other evaluations, medicines, or tests.

Home care

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine for pain, symptoms, or an infection.  Follow the healthcare provider's instructions for taking these medicines.

General care

  • Rest as much as you can until your next exam. No strenuous activities.

  • Try to not do anything that may have caused your symptoms. This might be not taking any medicines unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider. It might be not eating certain foods or doing certain activities.

  • Find positions that ease discomfort. A small pillow placed on your belly may help relieve pain.

  • Something warm on your belly such as a heating pad may help, but be careful not to burn yourself.


  • Don’t force yourself to eat, especially if having cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea.

  • Water is important so you don't get dehydrated. Soup may also be good. Sports drinks may also help, especially if they are not too acidic. Don't drink sugary drinks as this can make things worse. Take liquids in small amounts. Don’t guzzle them.

  • Caffeine sometimes makes the pain and cramping worse.

  • Don’t take dairy products if you have vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Don't eat large amounts at a time. Eat several small meals during the day instead of 2 or 3 larger meals. Wait a few minutes between bites.

  • Eat a diet low in fiber (called a low-residue diet). Foods allowed include refined breads, white rice, fruit and vegetable juices without pulp, tender meats. These foods will pass more easily through the intestine.

  • Don’t have whole-grain foods, whole fruits and vegetables, meats, seeds and nuts, fried or fatty foods, dairy, alcohol and spicy foods until your symptoms go away.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised, if your pain does not begin to improve in the next 24 hours.

Call 911

Call  911 if any of these occur:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Confusion

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Seizure

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Pain gets worse or moves to the right lower abdomen

  • New or worsening vomiting or diarrhea

  • Swelling of the abdomen

  • Unable to pass stool for more than 3 days

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Blood in vomit or bowel movements (dark red or black color)

  • Yellow color of eyes and skin (jaundice)

  • Weakness, dizziness

  • Chest, arm, back, neck, or jaw pain

  • Can't keep down medicines, liquids, or water because of too much vomiting

  • If you have a vagina: unexpected vaginal bleeding or missed period

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