an inflammation of the pancreas, usually due to alcohol use, infection, or drug use
injury or strain to the abdominal wall muscles
bleeding into the abdominal wall muscles
peritonitis, or an inflammation of the lining of the abdomen
What can be done to prevent the condition? Most of the time, this condition cannot be prevented. Some cases may be prevented by:
avoiding overuse of the abdominal muscles
not drinking alcohol or at least avoiding alcohol dependence, which often causes inflammation of the pancreas
How is the condition diagnosed? A doctor diagnoses this condition based upon:
a person's medical history
findings of a physical examination
Further tests may be done to determine the cause of the abdominal rigidity, including:
What are the long-term effects of the condition? Abdominal rigidity is often a very worrisome sign. It can indicate the presence of a life-threatening infection. If this is the case, death may occur if prompt treatment fails to work.
What are the risks to others? This condition is generally not contagious.
What are the treatments for the condition? Treatment depends on the underlying cause. If it is a muscle injury, rest and analgesias are used. Other causes require more extensive treatment, such as:
antibiotics and other drugs
What are the side effects of the treatments? All medications may cause side effects, including:
Other side effects vary depending on the medications used.
When surgery is done, there is a risk of:
What happens after treatment for the condition? Treatment usually stops when the person recovers and the rigidity goes away. The condition may be permanently cured, as it is when the appendix is removed with an appendicectomy.
With more serious cases, death may occur if treatment is unsuccessful.
How is the condition monitored? The need for monitoring depends on the underlying cause of the problem. Symptoms are followed and physical examinations may be done. Urine tests, blood tests, and X-ray tests may be needed to monitor the condition, as well.
Author: Adam Brochert, MD Reviewer: eknohow Medical Review Panel Editor: Dr John Hearne Last Updated: 12/06/2005 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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