Abdominal Pain - Male

Is this your symptom?

  • Pain or discomfort in the stomach or belly area. This is the area between the bottom of the rib cage and above the thighs.
  • Male

Causes of Acute Stomach Pain

  • Inflammation in the Stomach or Bowel Lining: gastritis, ulcers, colitis, disease.
  • Peritonitis (serious). Infection of the thin layer of tissue that covers the outside of the bowel and lining the belly. Needs urgent treatment.
  • GI Virus (such as Rotavirus). A GI virus can cause stomach cramps as well as vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • Food Poisoning. This causes sudden vomiting and/or diarrhea within hours after eating the bad food. It is caused by toxins from germs growing in foods left out too long. Most often, symptoms go away in less than 24 hours. It often can be treated at home.
  • Appendicitis (serious). Suspect appendicitis if pain is low on the right side and walks bent over. Another sign is the patient wanting to lie still.
  • Diverticulitis. Infection in small pouches which form on the side of the bowel. More common with older age.
  • Bladder Infections often present with painful urination, urgency and bad smelling urine. Sometimes the only symptom is pain in the lower abdomen.
  • Bladder Stones may feel like a bladder infection with painful urination and/or passing small stones in the urine. You may see blood in the urine.
  • Kidney Infection (serious). You may feel pain in the mid back and stomach going into the groin. There is often fever or chills.
  • Kidney Stones. You may feel severe pain going from the mid-back and the stomach to the groin. This occurs when stones pass from the kidney to the bladder down a narrow tube which normally just carries urine. People often say this is the worst pain ever.
  • Pancreatitis. Infection of the pancreas (an organ in the upper part of the bowel). It feels like pain in the upper part of the stomach going into the back. May also have severe vomiting. It often comes on quickly, but can be a pain which comes and goes.
  • Gall Bladder Stones or Infection. The gall bladder is a pouch which collects bile from the liver. It releases the bile into the bowel to help digest food. Stones can form in the gall bladder causing pain in the upper part of the stomach and between the shoulder blades. There may also be vomiting. A gall infection feels the same, but may also occur with fever.
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (serious. Call 911). This is swelling of the main blood vessel (aorta) which carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. In older people, the blood vessel can get stretched out and can leak or burst. A burst will cause sudden severe pain in the chest, stomach and back. The patient will collapse. A leaking aneurysm will cause pain and sometimes a tearing feeling. In both cases the blood flow to vital organs and the legs will be affected. Emergency treatment is needed.
  • Heart Attack (serious). A heart attack can feel like pain in the upper part of the stomach. The patient may be breathless or sweating. Pain may also be felt in the chest, neck or arm.
  • Decreased Blood Flow to the Bowel. This can happen if an aneurysm leaks or bursts or if the blood vessels that carry oxygen to the bowel are blocked. It can also happen if the bowel gets twisted and the blood flow is cut off.
  • Chest Infection (pneumonia) in the bottom part of the lungs may feel like pain in the upper part of the stomach.
  • Constipation. The need to pass a stool may cause cramps in the lower abdomen.
  • Bowel Blockage (serious). This is a blockage which prevents food, fluids and digestive juices from passing along the bowel. It can happen from infection in the bowel. The stomach area will be painful and swollen and the patient will vomit and will not be able to pass gas. The blocked part of the bowel can die if not treated right away.
  • Hernia. This can happen when part of the bowel comes through the abdominal wall. Often occurs in the groin or around the belly button. Looks like a soft lump or swelling which can be pushed back into place. May or may not cause pain. If the tissues get trapped and cannot be pushed back into place, the swelling may get painful. Surgery may be needed.
  • Indigestion. This can be recurring burning-like sharp pain in the upper part of the stomach along with nausea, belching and a feeling bloated.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Causes recurrent cramps, pain or a dull ache. Often with bloating, gas and constipation or diarrhea. Can often be managed with lifestyle and diet changes and stress management.

Additional Causes in Men

  • Testicular Torsion (serious). Occurs when the testicle twists in its sack and causes the blood flow to the testicle to be cut off. There is pain in the testicle and lower stomach area. The testicle gets swollen and tender. Surgery is needed right away to restore the blood flow and to save the testicle.
  • Prostatitis. The prostate is a small gland between the penis and bladder. The prostate can become infected or inflamed and cause pain in the genitals and lower part of the stomach. It can be hard to ejaculate or to pass urine. It may be painful to pass a stool. If the symptoms start quickly, you should seek care now. Symptoms can come and go for weeks or months.

Pain Scale

  • Mild: the pain does not keep you from any normal activities. Work, school, other activities and sleep are not changed.
  • Moderate: The pain keeps you from doing some normal activities. It may disturb sleep.
  • Severe: The pain is very bad. It keeps you from doing all normal activities. You may even find it difficult to move.

When to Call for Abdominal Pain - Male

Call 911 Now

  • Not moving or too weak to stand
  • Passed out (fainted) or feel dizzy (like you might pass out)
  • A tearing feeling in the stomach area, chest or back
  • Pain or a pressure feeling also in the chest
  • You think you have a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • A lump or swelling in the stomach area (or groin or belly button area) which hurts to touch
  • Pain or swelling in scrotum
  • Recent injury to the stomach
  • High-risk adult (such as diabetes, sickle cell disease, recent abdominal surgery)
  • Fever and you are greater than 60 years old
  • Pain is increasing
  • You feel weak or very sick
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Moderate pain that keeps from some normal activities
  • Mild pain that comes and goes (cramps), but lasts more than 24 hours
  • Fever is present
  • Pain with passing urine
  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Contact Doctor During Office Hours

  • Stomach pains happen often
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Mild stomach pain

Care Advice for Mild Abdominal Pain

  1. What You Should Know about Stomach Pain:
    • Mild stomach pain can be caused by something simple. It could be from gas pains or eating too much.
    • Sometimes, stomach pain is the first sign of an illness. This will lead to vomiting or loose stools.
    • Seeing how your symptoms change for 2 hours will tell you the cause.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Lie Down:
    • Lie down and rest until you feel better.
  3. Clear Fluids:
    • Drink clear fluids only, such as water, flat soft drinks or half-strength Gatorade.
    • For mild pain, you can keep eating a regular diet.
  4. Prepare for Vomiting:
    • Keep a vomiting pan or trash bin handy.
    • Nausea is the sick stomach feeling that comes before you throw up.
  5. Pass a Stool:
    • Try to pass a stool. Do not strain.
    • This may help if the pain is from constipation or diarrhea.
  6. Do Not Take Medicines:
    • Any drug (like ibuprofen) can upset the stomach and make the pain worse.
    • Do not take any pain medicines or laxatives for stomach cramps.
    • For fever higher than 102° F (39° C), acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can be given.
    • Follow the dosage advice on the package.
  7. What to Expect:
    • With harmless causes, the pain most often better or gone in 2 hours.
    • With stomach flu, belly cramps may happen before each bout of vomiting or diarrhea. These cramps may come and go for a few days.
    • With serious causes (such as appendicitis), the pain worsens and becomes constant. Other symptoms, like fever may develop.
  8. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Pain becomes severe
    • Constant pain lasts more than 2 hours
    • Mild pain that comes and goes lasts more than 24 hours
    • You think you need to be seen
    • Your symptoms get worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.


Last Reviewed: 10/11/2023 1:00:32 AM
Last Updated: 4/13/2023 1:00:34 AM

Copyright 2023 Schmitt Decision Logic LLC.

<strong>Anatomy - Gastrointestinal</strong>
Anatomy - Gastrointestinal

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