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When any patient presents with abdominal pain, collecting history relating to the complaint must include when the pain started, where it is located, description of the pain, does the pain radiate, when was the patients last bowel movement, history of nausea or vomiting (2021)? The examination must include looking, listening, and finally palpating (2021). Having the patient lay down on their back allows the examiner full view of the abdomen. Discoloration to the skin, lumps or bumps, and distention are all able to be identified with abdominal visualization. Utilizing the stethoscope to listen for bowel sounds in all four quadrants provides information relating to hypoactive or even absent bowel sounds. Palpation in all quadrants will provide information relating to if the abdomen is soft/rigid, tender, and rebound pain. Palpation will also allow the examiner to determine the need for further diagnostic imaging. Generalized pain is commonly associated with pain felt over half of the abdomen and is typical in stomach viruses, indigestion, and gas (2021). More severe generalized pain may indicate a blockage within the intestines. Localized pain is a pain that is only found in one area of the abdomen which could indicate concerns involving the appendix, gallbladder, or stomach (2021). Cramping pain is often not serious and is often due to gas, bloating, or diarrhea (2021). Colicky pain is a pain that will come in waves that starts suddenly and severe. Colicky pain is commonly caused by kidney and gallstones (2021).
The questions asked during a physical examination will inform the medical examination and the overall diagnosis of a patients case. When a patient comes to the hospital, they have signs and symptoms that a nurse or healthcare provider can use to arrive at an informed health decision. In this patients case, abdominal discomfort is the only vivid condition that a nurse can use to develop other examination questions. For instance, the common questions that a physician can ask this patient include details about the start and duration of the abdominal discomfort, the exact location of the pain and whether it radiates from one point, details on the color of the stool or urine, and details about other symptoms, if any (Mrouf et al., 2017). The questions are important for this patients case because they allow the doctor to gather more information that leads to determining a possible cause of the discomfort.
After the questions, a nurse may perform different examinations; however, the examinations at this stage will be more specific because the questions shall have ruled out some of the possible causes of the discomfort (Tsai, 2019). The best examination techniques for this patients case include inspection, auscultation, percussion, and palpation. The inspection process allows the nurses to examine the contour abdomen and muscle tone or distension signs. Moreover, the auscultations on all the quadrants of the abdomen can give information regarding peritonitis, cirrhosis, or abdominal aortic aneurysm. All the examinations, especially the auscultations and palpations, are the best for diagnosing abdomen problems.