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What Is the Hypogastrium?

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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The hypogastrium is the section of the abdomen that is generally below the navel, or belly button. It normally comprises body parts between the navel and the pubic bone. Parts of the colon, the urinary tract, reproductive system, and several major blood vessels are typically located in the region as well. Lower sections of the spine are situated in the hypogastrium, while sometimes a kidney or the appendix, if it is in the pelvis, may be found there. Physicians often refer to the region when diagnosing diseases and conditions of associated organs.

Also referred to as the hypogastric region or the pubic region, the hypogastrium is often examined when there is swelling in the urinary bladder. Abnormalities felt in the uterus or the pelvis, especially if an abscess is suspected, are sometimes the focus. Symptoms of appendicitis generally warrant a physical examination of the suprapubic region, another name for the hypogastrium often used.

On a diagram of the body’s regions, the hypogastrium is typically bounded by lateral lines on each side. To either side are the iliac regions, while the umbilical area is directly above. In addition to lateral planes, there is a median plane that divides the hypogastric part of the abdomen in half. Anatomical diagrams often indicate the dividing lines for these areas in relation to surface features, while other images show where internal organs are located.

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Pain in the area is often addressed by doctors by looking for malformations such as hernias, cysts, or cellulitis. Inflammation or infections in the skin are typically looked for as well as other abnormalities within the abdominal wall. Damage to muscle tissue can be a result of trauma, while stab wounds typically include a specific set of injury patterns. For the urinary tract, problems such as bladder obstructions can be diagnosed by examining the hypogastrium, while uterine abnormalities can include endometritis or ectopic pregnancy.

Common ways for examining the hypogastric region are pelvic as well as rectal examinations. Urine samples are usually analyzed because pain in the region is often caused by urinary tract infections. Sonograms and pregnancy tests, in women, are often performed as well. If a problem with the bowel is evident, then doctors may suggest a colonoscopy or enema, while other common tests include stool samples and angiograms; in some cases, exploratory surgery may be required. Different conditions can create a range of similar symptoms in this part of the body, so thorough examination is generally necessary, especially if a serious ailment is suspected.

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