There are three layers to the abdomen, and they are known as the muscle, superficial fascia, and the skin. Within the abdomen itself, there are some organs that are considered to be major organs, and because of this, it needs to well protected and taken care of. When looking at the abdomen from the front of the body, it can be broken down into nine main regions, almost like a criss-cross board with lines running both horizontally and vertically.
When visiting a doctor, the medical professional will usually working within the 9 regions of the abdomen to work out what is causing your pain and discomfort or symptoms, and this will be systematic.
There are 9 regions of the abdomen …
If you were to divide the abdomen with three lines running both vertically and horizontally, you would have the following regions:
- Right hypochondriac region / hypochondrium (RHC)
- Epigastric region (also known as epigastrium)
- Left hypochondriac region / hypochondrium (LHC)
- Right lumbar region
- Umbilical region
- Left lumbar region
- Right iliac region / Right iliac fossa (RIF)
- Hypogastric region
- Left iliac region / Left iliac fossa (LIF)
Each of the regions hold their own important organs:
- Right hypcochondrium – Small intestine, right kidney, gallbladder, liver
- Left hypochondrium – Pancreas, left kidney, colon, spleen
- Epigastrium – Adrenal glands, spleen, pancreas, duodenum, liver, stomach
- Right lumbar region – Right colon, liver, gallbladder
- Left lumbar region – Left kidney, descending colon
- Umbilical region – Duodenum, ileum, jejunum, umbilicus
- Right iliac fossa – Cecum, appendix
- Left iliac fossa – Sigmoid colon, descending colon
- Hypogastrium – Female reproductive organs, sigmoid colon, urinary bladder
4 Quadrants of the Abdomen
If three lines were too many and you wanted to break things down into two lines – four boxes or quadrants, rather than nine, you can break them down into the following:
Right upper quadrant – This will be assessed by doctors for tenderness and also localised pain from organs such as the gall bladder, liver, colon (hepatic flexure), duodenum, and the upper part of the pancreas. Pain and tenderness in this area can be caused by conditions such as cholecystitis, hepatitis, and also the beginnings of a peptic ulcer.
Right lower quadrant – You will find the following organs here – female reproductive organs (right fallopian tube and ovary), right ureterpenus, colon (upper portion), and the appendix. If you were suffering with appendicitis, for example, the pain and tenderness would be localised to the right lower quadrant.
Left upper quadrant – Here you will find various parts of the colon – the bottom portion and splenic flexure, as well as the adrenal gland and also the kidney (left portion), and you will also find the spleen and stomach, pancreas, and also a part of the liver (left portion).
Left lower quadrant – Found beneath the umbilicus plane, you will find the left fallopian tube and ovary, and also the left uterine tube in women here. In both sexes you will find the sigmoid and bottom section of the colon. If you have abdominal pain, it is likely to come from the lower left quadrant, and it could be a sign of a number of conditions, including colitis, ureteral colic, or diverticulitis. Pelvic inflammation (such as is found with pelvic inflammatory disease) and ovarian cysts can also cause pain in this area, and even tumours associated with cancers, including colon and ovarian cancer.