What Are Abdominal Disorders?
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Different Types of Abdominal Disorders

Published on Dec 27, 2022 and last reviewed on Feb 08, 2023   -  9 min read


Abdominal disorders are diseases or malfunctioning of the organs in the abdominal region. Let us know more details about stomach disorders in this article.


The abdomen region is commonly referred to as the stomach or the belly region. It comprises important organs like the liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas, gallbladder, and kidneys. The dysfunction of any of these organs results in abdominal disorders. These dysfunctions can be found by a couple of blood tests, various imaging techniques, and biopsy. The treatments include administering medications, lifestyle modifications, and surgical interventions if needed.

What Are the Abdominal Organs?

  • Liver: The liver is the largest internal organ in the body that performs many vital functions like purifying blood, removing toxins from the body, forming blood clotting proteins, storing fats, sugar metabolization, and activating certain enzymes.

  • Stomach: The stomach is a muscular bag-like structure that temporarily stores food that travels down from the esophagus (food pipe) and digests the food with certain digestive enzymes and stomach acids.

  • Gallbladder: The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located below the liver. It stores a digestive fluid called bile, produced by the liver. It breaks down fats so that it is easy for the body to absorb.

  • Pancreas: Pancreas is a leaf-like organ located on the backside of the stomach. It maintains blood sugar levels and helps digestion by producing certain pancreatic enzymes.

  • Small Intestines: The small intestine is a tube-like structure attached to the stomach's lower end. It has three parts: the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The food from the stomach travels to the small intestine for further digestion. The nutrients like vitamins and minerals from the food are absorbed here.

  • Large Intestines: The large intestine is a tubular structure that continues the small intestine. It has three parts, the colon, rectum, and anus. The digested food waste from the small intestine reaches the large intestine and reabsorbs the water. The waste is transformed into a stool by the large intestine and is excreted from the body through the external opening anus.

  • Kidneys: Kidneys are paired organs with a left and a right kidney. The kidneys remove the body's excess water and toxic wastes through the urine.

What Are Abdominal Disorders?

Any disease or malfunctioning of any of these organs is an abdominal disorder. They cause a series of signs and symptoms.

What Are the Types of Abdominal Disorders?

Liver: Liver disorders can be due to various factors like unhealthy lifestyles, infections, genetically inherited conditions, and autoimmune disorders.

  1. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: It is the abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver due to obesity (overweight than the average weight) and diabetes (a metabolic disease with an elevated blood sugar level).

  2. Alcoholic-Fatty Liver Disease: It is the excess storage of fat in the liver due to too much alcohol consumption.

  3. Hepatitis: It is the inflammation of the liver due to a trauma or roadside accidents, infections, or due to long-term consumption of certain medications like acetaminophen or birth control pills.

  4. Viral Hepatitis: It is inflammation or swelling of the liver due to viral infections like hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D, and E.

  5. Cirrhosis: It is the scarring of the healthy liver tissues due to excess alcohol consumption.

  6. Autoimmune Liver Disease: Autoimmune disorders occur when the body's immune system attacks its healthy cells. It causes damage and inflammation to liver cells.

  7. Inherited Liver Disease: Genetically inherited diseases like hemochromatosis are passed on from the parents to the next generation. Hemochromatosis is the excess accumulation of iron in the liver.

  8. Liver Cancer: An abnormal cancerous tissue growth in the liver.



Liver Function Test: The liver function test is done to check the levels of certain enzymes like aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT). The bilirubin and prothrombin time are also reviewed to detect any liver dysfunction.


  1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition when the stomach contents like stomach acids, bile, or undigested food move up the esophagus.

  2. Peptic Ulcer: Sores in the tissues that line the stomach cause peptic ulcer.

  3. Gastritis: The swelling in the stomach lining causes gastritis.

  4. Hiatal Hernia: Hiatus is a space formed between the chest and the belly region. A hiatal hernia happens when the stomach is pushed into the stomach through this space.

  5. Gastroparesis: It is a condition in which the stomach takes a longer time than the average time to empty the bowel.

  6. Stomach Cancer: An abnormal tissue growth in the lining of the stomach.


  • Loss of appetite.

  • Indigestion.

  • Bloating.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Abdominal pain.

  • Blach stools.

  • Weight loss.

  • Heartburn.

  • Feeling weak or tired.

  • Chest pain.


Barium Swallow: A thick, chalk-like barium drink is advised to consume, and an X-ray or a series of X-ray images are taken to view any abnormalities in the stomach, esophagus, and small intestine.


  1. Acute Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas that happens suddenly or within a short time.

  2. Chronic Pancreatitis: Inflammation and damage to the pancreas that happens over time. It is common in men aged 30 to 40 years.

  3. Hereditary Pancreatitis: It is inherited from the parents and results in damage and swelling in the pancreas.

  4. Pancreatic Cancer: An abnormal tissue growth in the pancreas.


  • Severe abdominal pain that lasts for several days.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Fever.

  • Diarrhea.

  • Bloating.


  1. Gallstones: It is due to the deposition of calcified and hard substances from the bile, cholesterol, and calcium salts in the gallbladder.

  2. Cholestasis: It is the blockage in the gallbladder due to gallstones or an infection that causes narrowing of the bile duct, and the flow of the bile is disturbed.

  3. Cholecystitis: Inflammation or swelling of the gallbladder.

  4. Gallbladder cancer: A cancerous growth in the gallbladder.


  • Sudden, increasing pain in the abdomen’s upper right or central part.

  • Pain in the back region between the shoulder blades.

  • Right shoulder pain.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

Small Intestine:

  1. Crohn's Disease: It is long-term inflammation in the bowel lining.

  2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome: It is a severe inflammatory bowel disease that causes swelling in the tissues that line the intestinal tract.

  3. Celiac Disease: It is a disease of the small intestine that results due to an immune disorder. It is caused by consuming gluten-rich foods and causes digestive problems.

  4. Intestinal Cancer: An unusual tissue growth in the small intestine that can spread to other body parts.

Large Intestine:

  1. Ulcerative Colitis: It is a severe inflammatory bowel disease that causes swelling in the tissues that line the colon and the rectum.

  2. Diverticulitis: It is the inflammation or infections in the pouches present on the walls of the colon.

  3. Colon Polyps: A tiny tissue growth in the colon that can become cancerous if left untreated.

  4. Colorectal Cancer: A cancerous tissue growth in the colon and the rectum.


Colonoscopy: A thin tube-like substance with a camera on the head is inserted through the anus to view the internal parts of the rectum and the colon. Any abnormality in the colon or rectum can be viewed.

Symptoms Common for Large and Small Intestine Disorders:

  • Diarrhea.

  • Constipation.

  • Weight loss.

  • Abdominal pain.

  • Vomiting.

  • Nausea.

  • Blood in stool.

  • Vomiting blood.

  • Fever and chills.

  • Abdominal swelling.

  • Passing gas.


  1. Renal Calculi: Kidney stone is the hard, crystalline deposits that are formed from the minerals and salts found in the kidney.

  2. Acute Kidney Disorder: The failure of kidney functions happens in a short period.

  3. Chronic Kidney Disorder: The failure of kidney functions that occurs over time due to an underlying disease or condition.

  4. Renal Cancer: A cancerous growth in the kidney that tends to spread to other organs.


  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Swelling in the ankles and legs.

  • Dry and itchy skin.

  • Changes in the frequency of urinating.

  • Feeling weak and tired.

  • Reduced mental sharpness.

  • Issues in sleep pattern.

  • Muscle cramps.

  • Shortness of breath due to fluid accumulation in the lungs.

  • Chest pain due to excess fluid build-up in the lining surrounding the heart.

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure.


  • Serum Creatinine: A blood test is performed to review the values of serum creatinine, a waste product.

  • Blood Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR): This test is performed to check kidney function.

  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): This test measures the amount of urea nitrogen in the blood. Urea nitrogen is a waste product that results from protein breakdown.

  • Urine Test: A urine test is done to check if a protein is present in the urine. It denotes kidney damage if there are proteins in the urine sample.

Other Common Diagnostic Tests: These are a few common diagnostic tests for abdominal disorders.

  • Complete Blood Count: Complete blood count screens the blood parameters like the red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, eosinophils, basophils, platelets, etc. Any changes in the values of these parameters indicate an infection or a disease.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy: An endoscope is a thin, adjustable tube-like material with a camera and light at one end. It is inserted into the mouth, the stomach is accessed further downwards, and the internal part of the organ is viewed on a screen outside.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound: A flimsy, compressible tube with an ultrasound attachment is inserted into the mouth to access the stomach. The ultrasound attachment helps capture images of the targeted organs.
  • Ultrasound Abdomen: The ultrasound abdomen is an imaging technique where a sound wave is used to capture images of the internal organs to check for abnormalities.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan: Computed tomography scan is an imaging technique where an X-ray image is taken with the help of a computer at different angles. It gives a detailed view of the organs, their neighboring tissues, and bony structures.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan: Magnetic resonance imaging technique uses a high-frequency sound wave in addition to a magnetic field. It gives a detailed view of the targeted organ and its tissues.
  • Biopsy: A tiny portion of the tissues is removed from the organ or the lesion to view the pathological changes in a microscopic view.

How Are Abdominal Disorders Treated?

  1. Lifestyle Modifications: A few disorders like liver disease and gastrointestinal problems require lifestyle modifications like eating healthy food with fibers, minerals, vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates in equal proportions. Physical activities like exercising and aerobics will be recommended to maintain a normal weight. Salt restrictions will be advised for kidney disorders.

  2. Medications: Medications will be prescribed depending on the disease.

  3. Surgery: Surgical removal of the whole or a part of the diseased organ will be performed in some advanced cases like cancers of the liver or colon.

  4. Organ Transplantation: An organ transplant will be recommended when other treatment modalities are not beneficial.


Abdominal disorders include one or multiple organ disorders in the belly region. The disorders of organs like the liver, pancreas, stomach, gallbladder, intestines, and kidney cause signs and symptoms. They affect people of both genders. The symptoms are common for most abdominal organ disorders; hence, diagnostic procedures like blood tests and imaging studies help rule out the disease. Certain diseases like cirrhosis, kidney disorders, and polyps, if left untreated, may result in complications and even death of the patient. However, visiting the doctor when mild symptoms occur will help plan the treatment and improve the patient's lifespan.

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Last reviewed at:
08 Feb 2023  -  9 min read




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