Unknown Causes of Abdominal Pain (Male)

Based on your visit today, the exact cause of your abdominal pain is not clear. Your exam and tests don't suggest a dangerous cause at this time. However, the signs of a serious problem may take more time to appear. Although your evaluation was reassuring today, sometimes early in the course of many conditions, exam and lab tests can appear normal. Therefore, it is important for you to watch for any new symptoms or worsening of your condition.

It may not be obvious what caused your symptoms. Pay attention to things that do seem to make your symptoms worse or better and discuss this with your doctor when you follow up.

The evaluation of abdominal pain in the emergency department may only require an exam by the doctor or it may include blood, urine or imaging studies, depending on many factors. Sometimes exams and tests can identify a cause but in many cases, a clear cause is not found. Further testing at follow up visits may help to suggest a clear diagnosis.

Home care

  • Rest as much as you can until your next exam.

  • Try to avoid any medicines (unless otherwise directed by your doctor), foods, activities, or other factors that may have contributed to your symptoms.

  • Try to eat foods that you know that you have tolerated well in the past. Certain diets may be recommended for some conditions that cause abdominal pain. However, since the cause of your symptoms may not be clear, discuss your diet more with your healthcare provider or specialist for further recommendations. 

  • If you have diarrhea, it may help to avoid dairy (lactose) for the time being. A low fat, low fiber diet can also help.

  • Eating several small meals per day as opposed to 2 or 3 larger meals may help.

  • Avoid dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water. Other options include broth, soup, gelatin, sports drinks, or other clear liquids.

  • Watch closely for anything that may make your symptoms worse or better. Pay close attention to symptoms below that may mean your condition is getting worse.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider if your symptoms are not improving, or as advised. In some cases, you may need more testing.


When to seek medical advice

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

  • Pain is becoming worse

  • You are unable to take your medicines or can't keep water down due to excessive vomiting

  • Swelling of the abdomen

  • 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)

  • Jaundice (yellow color of eyes and skin)

  • New onset of weakness, dizziness or fainting

  • New onset of chest, arm, back, neck or jaw pain

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