The abdomen

The abdomen

The abdomen forms the front section of the upper body between the chest and pelvis. The abdominal area is further divided into the upper abdomen (above the navel, between the costal arches to the lower tip of the sternum), middle abdomen (bone-free area around the navel) and the lower abdomen (below the navel, between the pelvic bones). The abdomen is characterized in the middle area by a relatively pronounced musculature, which is covered by more or less thick fat pads. The inner cavity of the abdomen is called the abdominal cavity. This contains numerous organs such as the stomach, the liver, the gallbladder, the small intestine, the large intestine or the pancreas. The diaphragm separates the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity. The lower limit is formed by the pelvic floor and the hip bone.

A number of symptoms can appear in the abdominal area, ranging from more external diseases such as an umbilical hernia or inguinal hernia, infectious diseases of the digestive tract, to serious diseases of the internal organs (e.g. liver cirrhosis, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, etc.). Symptoms in the digestive tract are often the first sign of diseases in the abdominal area. Gastric pressures, abdominal pain, flatulence, nausea and vomiting are typical symptoms here, although the spectrum of their possible causes is extremely broad. For example, the symptoms may be caused by a rather harmless gastrointestinal infection, but the symptoms can sometimes also be attributed to cancer of the stomach or duodenum. A bloated stomach can be observed in connection with food intolerance, but can also be due to serious liver diseases. All in all, the diagnosis of diseases in the abdominal area is therefore often rather difficult and, especially in the case of long-term complaints, extensive examinations are required to determine the cause of the symptoms.

In addition, complaints in the abdominal area can also be attributed to diseases of the heart or the internal genital organs, which further complicates the diagnosis. For example, in addition to chest pain, pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting can sometimes be observed in a heart attack. Lower abdominal pain may be associated with epididymitis or testicular torsion, and inflammation of the fallopian tube or ovaries is often associated with lower abdominal pain. It is not uncommon for women to suffer from abdominal pain in the abdomen that radiates during menstruation.

There is also a connection between psychological stress and diseases in the abdominal area. Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease are largely considered to be psychosomatic. Psychological stress also often plays a role in the development of stomach ulcers. Stress is generally assessed as a risk factor for a wide variety of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes this is also reflected in unusual eating habits, which can result in overweight and obesity (obesity). A lack of exercise and a diet that is too high in fat and calories are also possible causes of obesity, with the increased formation of abdominal fat being particularly critical from a health point of view. Because excessive belly fat is itself a risk factor for various other diseases, such as diabetes or coronary artery disease. (fp)

Belly

Author and source information



Video: Surface anatomy of the abdomen