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Introduction to painful abdominal masses

When a person has an abdominal mass it means that they have noticed some type of swelling in one part of the abdominal region, which is the belly and stomach region, generally speaking.

These masses can usually be detected easily by a doctor during regular physical examinations, and most of the time they develop slowly over time, so it might be hard to detect them yourself, unless they become very painful.

The thing that helps the doctor give a proper diagnosis is when the patient tells them where exactly the pain is coming from. There are four general areas that make up the abdomen and there are specific organs and other body parts in each area. We divide the abdomen into the right-upper, left-upper, right-lower and left-lower quadrants.  

The center of the abdomen that is located right under the ribcage is referred to as the epigastric area and the periumbilical area is the part of the abdomen around the bellybutton.

A diagnosis is created when taking into consideration the location of the mass, its firmness, texture and other qualities that the doctor will be able to identify.

Causes

When a person has an abdominal aortic aneurysm they can feel a pulsating mass near the bellybutton and around that area.

Sometimes colon cancer will cause a mass to appear in the abdomen, but the location can depend from case to case.

Bowel obstruction, which is usually referred to as Crohn’s disease, can result in many tender and almost sausage-shaped masses in the abdomen.

Kidney, stomach and liver cancer can also be another cause of masses in the abdomen.

Hydronephrosis is a condition in which the kidney is filled with fluid. This can lead to smooth and spongy masses in the flank area, which is the side of the body towards the back.

When a person is experiencing liver enlargement they can have masses right under the ribcage on either the left or right side.

Women with ovarian cysts can notice smooth and rubbery masses right about the pelvis, which is the lower abdominal area.

Pancreatic problems can lead to abdominal masses as well. When a person has a pancreatic abscess, for instance, they will have masses in the upper abdomen, but when they are suffering from pancreatic pseudocysts, the masses will also be in the upper region of the abdomen, but they will be lumpier in texture.

A ureteropelvic junction obstruction can cause a mass in the lower abdomen.

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