We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is Abdominal Angina?

Tricia Christensen
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Abdominal angina sounds very similar to the condition angina pectoris, which affects the heart, causing great pain when blood vessels don’t supply enough blood to the heart. The conditions are not the same, though in both cases pain tends to be caused by inadequate blood supply. With abdominal angina, pain occurs in the abdomen and results from insufficient blood supply to its parts.

This tends to be a relatively rare condition and statistics are lacking on its percentage of occurrence in the general population. Like angina pectoris, abdominal angina is often caused when people have atherosclerosis, or narrowed blood vessels due to plaque buildup. The narrowing is most evident in those blood vessels supplying the abdomen, and thus symptoms of the condition occur there. The disease is known to have highest incidence among people who are cigarette smokers, suggesting those who smoke have the greatest risk factor for developing this condition.

The symptoms of abdominal angina tend to be very obvious. Pain episodes usually occur within an hour after people have eaten, often within 10-20 minutes of consuming a meal. People will then feel uncomfortable cramping in the abdomen, usually in the middle region or above. This pain can take many hours to resolve as the digestive system strains to digest food with reduced blood capacity.

What occurs as a result of this symptom is that people start eating less, because the pain associated with eating negatively reinforces it. Those people with abdominal angina who have not seen a doctor to get a diagnosis for some time often have lost quite a bit of weight because they keep eating less in hopes of avoiding the pain. In any case, the abdomen will still strain in the absence of proper blood supply.

Diagnosis of abdominal angina takes place when a person presents with these symptoms. Doctors will look for narrowed blood vessels or blood vessel occlusions that are creating the problem, and often opt to perform catheterization/angioplasty to open the closed or closing vessels. Sometimes open surgeries are required instead, but this is less common.

Initial treatment to address faulty blood vessels might only be the beginning. Making certain a person has healthy eating patterns thereafter, especially to regain weight, is important. These patterns must be healthy because presence of atherosclerosis suggests high cholesterol levels and cholesterol build-up in the past. In fact, people with abdominal angina are usually thoroughly examined for the presence of cardiac disease elsewhere, and some may need careful following by a cardiologist. Medications could be required to sustain blood vessel and heart health, and smoking cessation would be highly encouraged.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon181620 — On May 30, 2011

Just for the record, the statement "people start eating less, because the pain associated with eating negatively reinforces it" is incorrect. Pain "punishes," it is not a negative reinforcer. Eating is a negative reinforcer for hunger. That is, eating reduces hunger, so it increases the future likelihood of eating when hunger is present.

When taking something away increases the frequency of a behavior in the future, it is called a "negative reinforcer." When it reduces the frequency of a behavior, it is called a "punisher."

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.