The Real Reason Doctors Push On Your Stomach

Anyone who's ticklish or highly concerned about personal space will agree that having their bellies pressed during health exams is an uncomfortable experience. But as uncomfortable as the process is, it really is done for a good purpose, and it aids in the diagnosis of many diseases. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, a doctor who presses on a patient's stomach is looking for signs of potential health problems.

This simple procedure gives information on many different organs including the stomach, bladder, gallbladder, appendix, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, liver, spleen, uterus, and ovaries. It can also provide information on the abdominal aorta, the primary blood vessel between the heart and the legs. According to MedlinePlus, doctors press on your belly to check the size, texture, tenderness, consistency, and location of these organs. If certain body parts feel abnormal, or hurt when pressed, that could be a sign of a health problem.

Here are some conditions that may be discovered when your doctor presses on your stomach

The size of certain organs and arteries can signify potential health problems. For example, if the abdominal aorta is more than an inch wide, that could be a sign of an aneurysm. Other organs that may be enlarged due to disease include the uterus, spleen, or liver. An enlarged uterus may be harmless, or it may be a symptom of a serious health problem such as uterine cancer (per Verywell Health). Meanwhile, an enlarged spleen could signify a variety of infections and metabolic disorders, according to Mayo Clinic.

Pain is another symptom that doctors look out for. If it is painful just to have your belly lightly pressed by your doctor, that may signify inflammation of the membrane lining the cavity of the belly. This often happens when a person has a hole in their bowel or has a diseased appendix, according to University of Rochester Medical Center.

That being said, you can rest assured that while it may be uncomfortable to have your belly pressed by your doctor, it is only done with your best interests in mind.