Abdominal point tenderness is exaggerated pain that is felt by the patient when mild pressure is applied at certain specific area of abdomen. Broadly this medical sign is also defined as abdominal tenderness. This pin point tenderness in specific area should not be neglected as it can be a sign of some serious medical condition pertaining to an abdominal organ. In fact many of the causes are medical or surgical emergencies. Patient having tenderness in abdomen should immediately seek medical consultation to rule out major abdominal illnesses.
Abdomen is a large area and for the purpose of convenience medical science has divided it into four quadrants.They are right upper quadrant, left upper quadrant, right lower and left lower quadrant. Specific organs lie in this anatomical area of abdomen. For example the stomach and first part of small intestine lie in the left upper area of the abdomen. Similarly appendix and cecum, lie in the right lower quadrant. Liver, gallbladder and right kidney are situated in right upper quadrant.
Diseases affecting organs of pelvis can also produce pain the left and right lower area of abdomen. McBurney’s area is most common spot that doctors rely when they suspect appendicitis to be the cause of abdominal pain and tenderness.It is situated in the right lower quadrant, just in the middle of the imaginary line drawn between the umbilicus and crest of right pelvic bone.
Common Causes Of Abdominal Point Tenderness
Abdominal point tenderness is a sign indicating problems in the organs underlying the particular area of abdomen. It can be an inflammation, infection usually an acute condition, of the organ. During palpation, if the doctor feels tenderness in the right upper quadrant, than it may be related to liver, gallbladder, kidney etc that is present in that particular area. Here are some of the important causes of pin point tenderness in the abdominal area.
- Appendicitis: This condition develops when appendix is inflamed and infected. Patient experiences tenderness and pain in right lower quadrant of abdomen. When the condition worsens and irritates the peritoneum, it can cause rebound tenderness and guarding when the doctor palpates the abdomen. It means the abdomen becomes rigid and on touch or pressure.
- Liver abscess: Patient complains of pain in right upper quadrant of the abdomen. Together with pain, patient may also present with other symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, jaundice, etc.
- Hepatitis: Inflammation of liver due to viral infection can cause viral hepatitis. Patient complains of pain in right upper abdomen. On applying slight pressure, the pain may exaggerate.
- Twisted fallopian tube: Torsion of fallopian tube in females may be rare, but it causes severe pain and tenderness in the specific area of abdomen. If right fallopian tube is twisted, the woman will experience tenderness in right lower abdomen and pelvic area.
- Duodenal ulcer: Patient suffering from duodenal ulcer often experience pain the left upper quadrant of abdomen. Duodenum is the first part of small intestine. It is connected to the lower end of stomach.
- Gastritis: Inflammation in the inner lining of stomach causes pain and tenderness in the left quadrant of the abdomen.
- Pancreatitis: Inflammation of pancreas cause tenderness in the left side of abdomen.
Symptoms Of Abdominal Point Tenderness
The most common symptoms that accompany pain and tenderness in abdomen are as flows:
- Loss of appetite
- High fever
- Abdominal distension
- Missed menstrual period
Due to pain and tenderness, slightest movement is unbearable. Patient is unable to bend due to severe tenderness and pain. Patient often supports his stomach with his hands when walking in order to alleviate pain.
Diagnosis And Treatment For Abdominal Tenderness
When a patient has pain in abdomen, the doctor will take complete medical history, examine him and note down the symptoms. During examination, he may feel patient having tenderness at certain area of abdomen when he palpates the area. Some time there may be rebound tenderness or guarding if the condition is serious.
Further he may advice blood test and radiological test to diagnose the condition. Blood examinations, sonography of abdomen, CT scan of abdomen are important investigative procedures that help to diagnose abdominal ailment.
Abdominal point tenderness is a symptom of an underlying condition. The main aim of treatment is to diagnose the underlying cause and treat the condition. For example if tenderness and pain is a symptom of appendicitis, the doctor may treat it conservatively with antibiotics, intravenous fluids and other medications. In some cases surgical removal may be necessary.
Hepatitis infection can be treated with medicines while inflammation of gall bladder caused due to stone requires removal of gall bladder. Duodenal ulcers and gastritis are treated with medicines and dietary changes.