Probability diagnosis

The most common causes of acute abdomen are acute appendicitis, acute gastroenteritis, an irritable bowel syndrome, the various 'colics' and ovulation pain (mittelschmerz). Mesenteric adenitis is common in children. The various causes of chronic or recurrent abdominal pain are presented in Table 30.3 . A study on chronic abdominal pain 4 showed that the commonest reasons (approximate percentages) were: no discoverable causes (50%), minor causes including muscle strains (16%), irritable bowel syndrome (12%), gynaecological causes (8%), peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia (8%).

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