While abdominal pain has many causes, Mayo Clinic states that pain located in the center of the abdomen is often caused by appendicitis, intestinal obstruction, pancreatitis, mesenteric thrombosis and thoracic aortic aneurysm. High levels of ketones or waste products in the blood can also cause pain above the navel.
Localized pain starts suddenly in a specific area of the abdomen, gets worse quickly and is often symptomatic of a serious illness or organ inflammation. Gallbladder disease, peptic ulcers and appendicitis are examples of localized pain, explains WebMD. Pain near the navel is the first symptom in half of appendicitis cases. If nausea or vomiting and fever present soon after abdominal pain begins, individuals should seek medical attention immediately. Acute appendicitis can be fatal without surgical intervention.
Other examples of localized pain focused in the upper abdominal area include hepatitis, inflammation of the liver; cholangitis, bile duct inflammation; duodenitis, which is inflammation of the top part of the small intestine; and pericarditis, which is inflammation of the tissue around the heart, according to Mayo Clinic.
Pain that occurs in at least half of the abdominal area is called generalized pain, states WebMD. Indigestion and upset stomach are examples of this type of pain, which usually goes away without medical intervention.