This is extremely common and may not have a serious cause. However, persistent or severe abdominal pain requires expert assessment by a gastrointestinal surgeon.
A detailed history and examination may then lead on to specific blood tests, scans (Ultrasound, CT or MRI) and possibly endoscopy (gastroscopy or colonoscopy).
The scope of treatment depends on the outcome of the diagnostic procedures but surgery is often required. Abdominal surgery may involve extended stays in hospital depending on the severity of the case or the nature of the procedure performed.