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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 45-50

Acute abdominal pain in women of child-bearing age remains a diagnostic dilemma

Department of Surgery, King Fahd Hospital of the University, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Maha S.A. Abdelhadi
Assistant Professor and Consultant, Department of Surgery, King Fahd Hospital of the University, P.O. Box 2208, Al-Khobar 31952
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 23008643

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Abdominal pain is perhaps the most challenging of all the presenting complaints in the emergency department. It is estimated that it accounts for 5%-10% of all visits. Causes of abdominal pain range from the inconsequential to the life threatening. In addition, it nearly always poses a greater degree of diagnostic uncertainty in women of child-bearing age as compared to males. Such difficulties become more pronounced in pregnant women where the unwritten policy seems to be: If she is pregnant blame the pregnancy. This policy is justified by the favorable clinical outcomes. However, in a small but significant number of patients, this policy has the potential of creating delays and increasing the risk of unwarranted complications. Delays in management may lead to emotional trauma, loss to the society, and the potential for serious liability. This review was undertaken at King Fahd hospital of the University, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, with a literature search covering a period of over twenty years. It mainly highlights the diagnostic difficulties in young women presenting with acute onset abdominal pain, and possible solutions. It also suggests a policy which includes a careful clinical approach with liberal consults between the surgeon and the gynecologist reinforced by a judicious use of the available diagnostic aids leading to potentially favorable outcomes.

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Journal of Family and Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 05th September, 2010