What is abdominal pain?
The abdominal artery is part of the aorta, the largest artery in the human body, which distributes oxygen-rich blood from the heart throughout the body. It normally reaches a diameter of two centimetres at most. Pain in the region of the abdominal aorta can have various causes. From harmless illnesses that have nothing to do with the abdominal aorta itself to an acute rupture of the vein, which is an absolute emergency, a great deal is conceivable. The pain therefore varies from rather mild, occasional pain to the strongest imaginable pain, which can be accompanied by unconsciousness.
Causes of pain in the area of the abdominal artery
- Ruptured abdominal artery aneurysm;
- Very large aneurysm of the abdominal artery without rupture;
- Constriction up to partial occlusion of the vessel due to calcification of the inner walls;
- Inflammation of the pancreas;
- Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract;
- Inflammation in the area of the inner female genitals (e.g. inflammation of the ovaries). An aneurysm is a bulging of blood vessel walls, which is accompanied by an increased risk of tearing.
An aneurysm can be particularly dangerous in the area of the abdominal artery, as a tear leads to a large loss of blood. Already from a vessel diameter of three centimetres or more one speaks in this context of an aneurysm. Very large aortic aneurysms can cause pain in the abdomen or back, but in most cases they too remain asymptomatic.
However, the tearing of an aneurysm is accompanied by severe pain. Affected patients report sudden stabbing pain in the back that spreads along the flanks. Often patients do not survive such an event because of the enormous loss of blood.
Calcification of the abdominal artery can also cause pain. However, these do not usually occur suddenly, but show a gradual onset. Depending on where the calcification is located, different areas of the body can be affected.
However, smaller blood vessels that supply the liver, spleen and other abdominal organs also leave the aorta. Calcifications can either constrict these vascular outlets or even close them suddenly when parts of the calcification come loose. These sudden closures can lead to severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and in extreme cases can even be fatal.
In addition to the actual diseases of the abdominal artery, there are a whole range of other diseases that can also lead to symptoms in the area of the abdominal artery. These include inflammation of the pancreas. It is usually accompanied by severe pain in the upper abdomen, which spreads like a belt to the back.
The disease can also be dangerous and must always be treated by a doctor. Many diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are accompanied by pain in the area of the abdominal artery. Besides harmless viral infections accompanied by vomiting and diarrhoea, chronic diseases can also be the cause.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are among the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. They are also associated with severe abdominal pain and cramps. In addition, there is diarrhoea, sometimes with blood admixture and symptoms outside the gastrointestinal tract.
An intolerance, for example to lactose, can also lead to severe cramping pain. This is usually followed by diarrhoea. If there is severe pain in the abdomen with no known cause, a doctor should also be consulted to rule out potentially dangerous diseases.