Abdominal mass refers to swelling or collection of mass in abdomen area as the name suggests. The abdominal area or cavity is the internal section between chest and pelvis and is commonly referred to by a layman as the belly. These masses could be big or small, non-harmful or cancerous; treatable or untreatable. It rarely shows symptoms and is generally not felt until some examination is performed in the stomach. It has been observed to grow gradually. But on visiting a doctor it can be confirmed by performing a physical examination lead by a few other more advanced tests to know precise details. The condition can sometimes lead to a life threatening situation so immediate medical help should be taken. Since causes vary, so do complications, and treatment. It can result in complete, partial repair or permanent damage of an organ depending upon stage, condition, and treatment of disease. It can lead to complications from cancer or infection; to gastrointestinal perforation and sepsis; Incontinence; one’s ability to conceive; if reproductive organ has been caused a permanent damage; damaged kidney or liver, or pancreas; ruptured aortic aneurysm.
Abdomen is for medical convenience and convenience of diagnoses, divided into four parts. They are right-upper section; left-upper section; right-lower section; and left-lower section. When doctor examines the exact location of the mass; along with its firmness; texture; and other peculiar features attached to it, he is able to offer better diagnoses which point to facts and causes that may have lead to the development of such abdominal mass.
Location are also divided in two halves ; first being the Epigastric location, which is at the centre of abdomen beneath the ribcage; & second one is the Periumbilical, which is the area surrounding the navel.
When one suspects a lump or mass in the abdomen; and it gives pain while the patient is lying down or while it gets pressed, then doctor should be consulted immediately. One should also seek medical help without wasting time, if he is experiencing a pulsating lump in the abdomen with acute abdominal pain. Because this condition may lead to a possibility of aortic aneurysm that has burst, and if it holds to be true it may call for yet another emergency situation.
When one visits a doctor suspecting abdominal mass, s/he has to be ready to answer a few common questions to the doc with as much accuracy as he can. Questions like guiding the doctor to the exact location of the mass; the exact time when the patient noticed the mass; frequency and magnitude of pain; if the patient has noticed the mass to change size or position etc. If patient has any other symptom that s/he may have and shares with the doctor to get a better insight.
After a primary and basic physical examination, doctor may also recommend several other tests and examinations to confirm the final outcome. Like some cases may call for taking a pelvic or rectal examination. Other tests include angiogram, CT scan, EGD, abdominal ultrasound, barium enema. Colonoscopy, blood tests like CBM etc. Different tests and examinations are recommended for different conditions.
Sometiems even women who are pregnant develop and are diagnosed with this mass when they go for their routine check ups. Under such conditions, steps should be taken based on doctor’s advice.
Causes for abdominal mass could be several. Tumor, accumulation of fluid, obstruction in the bowel, bacterial or fungal, parasitic infection, abnormal development or growth of organ, or even entrapment of them can lead to development of abdominal masses. Crohn’s disease which does result in developing multiple small masses; Forpeople suffering from kidney cancer, there are possibilities of a mass developing in the abdomen. Then a condition called abdominal aortic aneurysm which is a mass that develops into a balloon from the largest blood vessel that carries blood to the abdominal area. Multiple masses in the abdomen also develop as a result of ovarian cysts. These are small or big r masses that have occurred on each ovary. Pancreatic abscesses occur from cysts in the infected pancreas. Doctors do recommend surgery to take out the dead tissue. All these causes have different symptoms and treatments also differ.
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