What is guarding on abdominal exam?

What does abdominal guarding indicate?

Abdominal guarding is detected when the abdomen is pressed and is an indication that inflammation of the inner abdominal (peritoneal) surface may be present due, for example, to appendicitis or diverticulitis.

How do you test for abdominal guarding?

Look for signs of localised guarding (the reflex tensing of the abdominal muscles over the painful area which represents peritonism) and rebound tenderness (initial pressure does not cause pain but when the examining hand is released, pain is felt). Rebound tenderness suggests peritoneal irritation.

What is guarding on exam?

Guarding is a characteristic finding in the physical examination for an abruptly painful abdomen (an acute abdomen) with inflammation of the inner abdominal (peritoneal) surface due, for example, to appendicitis or diverticulitis.

What does rebound and guarding mean?

If a doctor finds that you do have rebound tenderness, they’ll likely follow up with a few other tests to narrow down a diagnosis. These tests include: Guarding vs. rigidity test. Guarding involves voluntarily flexing your abdominal muscles, making your abdomen feel firm to the tough.

What is the medical definition of guarding?

Medical Definition of guarding

: involuntary reaction to protect an area of pain (as by spasm of muscle on palpation of the abdomen over a painful lesion)

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What is patient guarding?

Guarding, in contrast, is a voluntary contraction of the abdominal wall musculature to avoid pain. Thus, guarding tends to be generalized over the entire abdomen, whereas rigidity involves only the inflamed area. Guarding can often be overcome by having the patient purposely relax the muscles; rigidity cannot be.

What are the peritoneal signs?


  • Abdominal pain or tenderness.
  • Bloating or a feeling of fullness in your abdomen.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Low urine output.
  • Thirst.

What are doctors looking for when they push on your stomach?

I was wondering, why do doctors push on your stomach during a checkup or if you complain of abdominal pain? Pressing on your stomach is a way to find out if the size of your internal organs is normal, to check if anything hurts, and to feel if anything unusual is going on.

Is abdominal guarding normal?

Guarding is an involuntary response of the muscles. Guarding is a sign that your body is trying to protect itself from pain. It can be a symptom of a very serious and even life-threatening medical condition. If you have abdominal rigidity, you should see your doctor right away.

What can cause guarding?

Causes of Abdominal guarding in Alphabetical Order

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  • Abdominal migraine.
  • Abdominal wall strain/injury.
  • Abscess (e.g. iliopsoas)
  • Aneurysm.
  • Anxiety.
  • Appendicitis.
  • Bowel obstruction.

How is acute abdomen diagnosed?

On physical exam, bowel sounds will be absent. Laboratory tests reveal a neutrophilic leukocytosis, sometimes with a left shift, and increased serum amylase. Abdominal radiography will show many air-fluid levels, as well as widespread edema. Acute ischemic abdomen is a surgical emergency.

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