Why do doctors press the stomach? Which disease does it detect?
Why do doctors press the stomach? Which disease does it detect?

When doctors press your stomach, it’s not just a routine. This examination technique, known as abdominal palpation, serves several crucial purposes in diagnosing various medical conditions.

Detecting Abnormalities through Palpation

Doctors use palpation to detect abnormalities such as tenderness, masses, or organ enlargement in the abdominal area.

Types of Palpation Techniques

Different types of palpation techniques include light palpation and deep palpation, each providing unique diagnostic insights.

Light Palpation

During light palpation, doctors gently press the abdomen to identify areas of tenderness, muscle guarding, or superficial masses.

Deep Palpation

Deep palpation involves applying more pressure to examine deeper structures like organs and to detect larger masses or abnormal growths.

Diagnostic Role of Abdominal Palpation

Identifying Organ Enlargement

Palpation helps in identifying enlarged organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys, which may indicate underlying diseases.

Checking for Tenderness

Tenderness detected during palpation can point to conditions like appendicitis, cholecystitis, or peritonitis.

Assessing Muscle Guarding

Muscle guarding, a reflexive contraction of abdominal muscles, can indicate peritoneal irritation due to inflammation or infection.

Diseases Detected by Abdominal Palpation


Tenderness in the lower right abdomen suggests inflammation of the appendix, requiring immediate medical attention.


Tenderness in the upper right abdomen may indicate inflammation of the gallbladder, often due to gallstones.

Kidney Stones

Flank tenderness can signal the presence of kidney stones, which can cause severe pain and urinary symptoms.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Palpation of a pulsatile mass in the abdomen could indicate an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a potentially life-threatening condition.


Severe tenderness throughout the abdomen may indicate peritonitis, inflammation of the abdominal lining often caused by infection.

The Importance of Patient History

Combining palpation findings with patient history and other diagnostic tests helps doctors accurately diagnose and treat abdominal conditions. Abdominal palpation is a vital tool in a doctor's diagnostic arsenal, helping to identify a wide range of abdominal conditions through careful examination and interpretation of physical signs.

Read the review of Mahindra Scorpio N Z8 Select Automatic, best deal at price!

See the first glimpse of Vinfast VF e34, know when will it hit the Indian market?

Renault's new Hot-Hatch electric car launched, will get a range of 380 km

Join NewsTrack Whatsapp group
Related News