Abdominal guarding is a term used in medicine to describe the tensing of the abdominal muscles in response to pain or discomfort in the abdomen. This reflex action is the body’s way of protecting the internal organs from further injury or damage.
Abdominal guarding is often seen in cases of acute abdominal pain, such as in cases of appendicitis, pancreatitis, or bowel obstruction. It can also be present in other conditions such as peritonitis, where the lining of the abdominal cavity becomes inflamed.
Doctors will typically look for the presence of abdominal guarding during a physical examination of the abdomen. They will ask the patient to relax their abdominal muscles and then press gently on various areas of the abdomen to check for tenderness and to observe any involuntary guarding or tensing of the muscles.
The presence of abdominal guarding can be a useful diagnostic tool for doctors in identifying the underlying cause of abdominal pain. Depending on the cause, treatment options may include medication, lifestyle changes, or surgery.
In summary, abdominal guarding is a reflex action of the body’s abdominal muscles in response to pain or discomfort in the abdomen. It is often seen in cases of acute abdominal pain and can help doctors to diagnose the underlying cause of the pain.