When Stomach Pain Is An Emergency
Stomach pain can be caused by a life-threatening condition, such as appendicitis, bowel obstruction , or a bowel perforation .
These emergencies usually cause very noticeable and often intolerable signs and symptoms. Your stomach pain is probably a sign of an urgent medical problem if:
- You are pregnant
- Your pain started within a week of having abdominal surgery or a gastrointestinal procedure
- You have ever had a gastric bypass, a colostomy, or a bowel resection
- Your pain started shortly after you experienced severe abdominal trauma
- Your abdomen appears bruised or is rapidly expanding in size
Your stomach pain may be mild in the beginning, and then you may develop associated symptoms after a few hours. You should get help immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms along with your stomach pain:
- Abdomen is extremely hard
- Inability to have a bowel movement accompanied by vomiting
- Pain in neck, shoulder or between shoulder blades
- Vision changes
Definitive Reasons You Should Go To The Er For Stomach Pain
Before we get into cases that require some interrogation of whether or not you should go to the ER, its important to cover those cases of stomach pain that, without question, require emergency medical assessment and treatment. If you meet any of the following conditions and youre experiencing severe stomach pain, seek medical attention immediately.;
When To Go To The Er For Stomach Pain
When youre really not feeling well, its natural to wonder when to go to the ER for stomach pain. Since stomach pain is so common, however, many people struggle to make this call.;
So, how do you know when stomach pain is serious enough for a trip to the ER?;
Complete Care to help answer this question. No more second-guessing when to go to the ER for stomach pain. Learn exactly which scenarios might necessitate a trip to the emergency room and which you can likely handle at home.;
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What Are The Potential Complications Of Abdominal Pain
Complications of abdominal pain depend on the underlying cause, but can range from missed school or work to malnutrition to life-threatening infections. Getting an accurate diagnosis and following your treatment plan will help you avoid complications. Over time, abdominal pain can lead to serious complications including:
- due to blood loss
- Dehydration due to loss of fluids
- Organ failure
What Kind Of Tests Should You Expect
;;In severe cases, the doctor will determine that you need to undergo a series of tests. ;Such tests include:-
- Rectal, penile, or scrotal checks
- Pregnancy test, ;;together with a check of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
- Blood ;and enzyme tests for any infections
- Urine tests
- X-rays, ;ultrasound, ;CT scans, and ECG to rule out heart attacks
- Endoscopy to check the internal organs without going through surgery.
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What To Expect After Having Stomach Pain
In most cases, stomach pain isnt serious and gets better within a few days. If you have a more serious cause of stomach pain, it may take longer for you to feel better and you may need treatment sometimes in hospital.
Because stomach ache can be caused by so many things, its important to avoid guessing the cause of your pain. If youre worried about the pain or not sure what’s causing it, speak to a doctor as soon as possible.
Why Does Belly Pain Happen
Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something’s going on. Belly pain alerts us to something that’s happening inside us that we might not know about otherwise.
Some reasons for belly pain are easy to spot, like when someone gets hit in the gut or eats spoiled macaroni salad. Oher times, it might be hard to figure out.
When you get a pain in your stomach, it might be an actual problem right in your stomach, but not necessarily. Your abdomen is more than your stomach. It’s more than your intestines. It’s the whole area between your chest and your pelvic bones. With so many organs in the abdomen, different problems can have similar symptoms.
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The Serious Stomach Pain Takeaway
All in all, stomach pain can be caused by any number of things. However, its important to know when there might be a more serious problem at hand.
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When To See A Doctor About Abdominal Pain
Go straight to your doctor or the emergency department of the nearest hospital if you have any of:
- severe pain
- pain lasting for several hours
- pain and/or vaginal bleeding if you are pregnant
- pain in your scrotum if you are a male
- pain and vomiting or shortness of breath
- pain and vomiting blood
- blood in your bowel motions or urine
- pain that spreads to your chest, neck or shoulder
- fever and sweats
- unable to move your bowels or pass gas
- any other concerns.
A Bladder Or Kidney Infection
Bladder infections can definitely cause abdominal pain, as well as painful and urgent urination, and/or blood in the urine. If its a kidney infection youre dealing with, you may also have a fever, chills, thigh pain, and joint tenderness.
How to treat it: Most cases can be treated with a course of oral antibiotics, though severe cases may require hospitalization and IV antibiotics. In rare cases, surgery may be required, says Dr. Dann.
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How To Know If Your Stomach Pain Is Serious
Stomach pain refers to an ache or cramps in the abdomen. In most cases, it does not last long and is therefore not serious. However, when the pain becomes severe, it could be a cause for concern. Take note of the pain and any accompanying symptoms. ;If the pain seems to worsen or not abate over time, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
It is important to know when to get medical attention to take care of any issues that would cause problems later on. We will delve into the issue a little more and give you tips on knowing if stomach pain is serious.
Types Of Abdominal Pain
There are several types of abdominal pain, which are based on how quickly your pain starts and how long it lasts:
- Acute pain starts over a few hours or days and may come with other symptoms.
- Chronic pain lasts longer — from weeks to months or more — and may come and go.
- Progressive pain gets worse over time and often comes with other symptoms.
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Abdominal Pain Treatment And Home Remedies
The treatment for abdominal pain depends on its cause, and may include:
- Medications to lower inflammation, prevent acid reflux, or treat ulcers or infection
- Surgery to treat a problem with an organ
Over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen can irritate your stomach and worsen your pain. Donât take them unless a doctor has diagnosed the cause of your belly pain and recommends their use.
Some diet and lifestyle changes may help belly pain caused by gas and indigestion. Here are some things you can try:
- Eat smaller portions at more frequent meals
- Eat slowly
When Should You See A Doctor For Abdominal Pain
You should see a doctor for abdominal pain if it is severe or for mild abdominal pain lasting more than a week . So-called red flag symptoms that may indicate a serious or life-threatening condition include:
- Abdomen is stiff or hard and tender when you or someone else touches it
- Do certain foods or activities seem to make it worse?
- Have you taken any over-the-counter medications for your pain? What is the effect?
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When It’s Not An Emergency
If your stomach pain is not severe, persistent, or associated with concerning symptoms like those already discussed, it is likely to resolve on its own. Abdominal pain is usually caused by minor problems such as constipation, trapped gas, or eating something that didn’t agree with you, like a high dairy meal or a spice that you aren’t used to.
Waiting a few hours, having a bowel movement, or passing gas usually helps. There are a few things you can do so that you can be more comfortable and to;help relieve your symptoms as your pain resolves:
- Limit yourself to clear liquids for a few hours.
- If you experience vomiting and/or diarrhea, stick with the BRAT diet and other mild foods until your symptoms start to subside.
- Avoid foods that are tough on the digestive system, such as food that is high in fat, fried foods, spicy foods, and drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
- Try an over-the-counter antacid or gas-relieving product.
- Try to have a bowel movement. Often, eating raw fruit, vegetables, beans, or high-fiber cereal can help.
- Use a hot water bottle or heating pad. This may help to soothe your pain. Place the pad on your abdomen for half-hour intervals and be sure to use a towel under the pad to protect your skin.
Your symptoms may completely improve within one to two days. If they do not, call your doctor’s office for advice.
Cramping Or Pain With Bloody Diarrhea
Possible explanation: ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease;
What is it: Ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease are both examples of inflammatory bowel disease that are differentiated by the part of the digestive tract that they affect. The cause of IBD is understood to be a complex interaction between genetic and lifestyle factors. Both diseases involve inflammation of respective parts of the digestive tract that cause numerous symptoms, including intestinal bleeding and associated abdominal pain.;
Treatment: As with IBS, there is currently no cure for either ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease, so treatment is focused on managing the symptoms and long term quality of life. Usually, medication is chosen to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms. In severe cases, surgery to remove part or all the colon may be necessary in order to bring relief.;
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When To Call The Doctor About Abdominal Pain
If your abdominal pain is serious, doesn’t go away, or keeps coming back, talk to your doctor. Call 911 right away if your belly hurts because you had a recent injury there or if you have any chest pain.
You should also contact your doctor as soon as you can if you have symptoms along with the pain, such as:
- Can’t keep food down for more than 2 days
- Signs you’re getting dehydrated, including not urinating frequently, dark-colored urine, and being very thirsty
- Can’t have a bowel movement, especially if you’re also vomiting
- Pain when you pee, or you need to urinate often
Also call your doctor if:
- Your belly is tender to the touch
- Pain lasts more than a few hours
You may have other symptoms that could be a sign of a problem inside your body that needs treatment as soon as possible. Get medical care right away if you have abdominal pain and you also:
- Have unexplained weight loss
When To Go To The Hospital With Stomach Pain
While the type of pain and its location can provide clues about how serious your stomach pain is, sometimes the biggest clue that you need immediate medical attention lies in the other symptoms you may have at the same time.
- you feel dizzy or like you might faint
- the pain started suddenly, feels really bad or suddenly becomes worse
- the pain is in a specific part of your stomach
- your stomach feels very hard and makes it hard for you to move
- you have chest pain and/or its hard to talk or catch your breath
- your skin or the whites of your eyes have turned yellow
- you cant pass wind or poo
- your poo looks very dark , has blood in it or has an unusual foul smell
- youre vomiting blood or something that looks like coffee grounds
- your stomach hurts a lot when you touch it
- you have a very high or low temperature, feel generally unwell or have other signs of
- youre pregnant or think you may be pregnant
But bear in mind that while these are the most common serious symptoms to look out for, they arent the only ones. If you have stomach pain that feels like an emergency, call an ambulance or go to the emergency department immediately.
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The Link Between Your Gut Microbiome And Your Health
In addition, many of the underlying conditions that cause abdominal pain can lead to serious complications, including the possibility of structural damage to the digestive system from infection, cancer and its treatments, and inflammatory bowel disease .
To reduce the risk of complications, its important to seek medical attention for your abdominal pain if its sudden and severe, or if it includes symptoms like fever, bloody stool, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, or visible swelling.
When Stomach Pain Is And Is Not An Emergency
Stomach pain can have a variety of causes, some of which you can address by resting, avoiding heavy and spicy foods, taking medication, or using a heating pad. Others, however, may require urgent medical care.
While it can be hard to determine this on your own, at least with total certainty, there are some guidelines you can use to figure out if you should head to the ER, your doctor’s office, or try some at-home solutions. Regardless of how your case matches up if you feel severe, out-of-the-norm pain that you think needs immediate attention, seek it.
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Abdominal Pain During Menstruation
Abdominal pain during menstruation is quite common. ;However, some conditions may require urgent medical attention, like fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, genital tuberculosis.
In some cases, PMS may require surgical intervention if the symptoms are very severe. ; The polycystic ovarian syndrome also presents with irregular, painful periods.
Persistent pain in your pelvic area could indicate that you have fibroids and will, therefore, require medications or surgery. ;The pelvic inflammatory disease will affect the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus.; If you do not seek medical attention, it may result in infertility and damaged kidneys.
When To Go To The Er For Stomach Pains
So how exactly do you know when to seek out medical attention for stomach pains? Well there are a few main symptoms you want to look out for. Make sure to seek medical attention if you experience stomach pain:
- And a;high fever
- Accompanied by repeated vomiting
- Accompanied by other serious or unusual symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, dizzyness, cold sweat,; or change in behavior
- Sudden and very severe ; or prolonged
- Repeated attacks of cramp-like pain
- Localized to one particular area
- Right lower quadrant could indicate appendicitis.
- Right upper quadrant could indicate cholecystitis ,;kidney infection or stones, gall stones or hepatitis
- Left lower quadrant could indicate diverticulitis or a colon infection.
- Left upper quadrant could indicate kidney infection or kidney stones as well as pancreatitis
- Middle: upper: GERD , heartburn, stomach ulcer, heart attack, aortic aneurysm. lower: bladder stones, bladder infection, endometriosis, ruptured ovarial cysts, bowel occlusion
- There are many more possible causes, but these are the most common ones.
Additionally, its important not to get dehydrated if you experience any of these symptoms.
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Pain Thats Not Going Away
Any chronic stomach discomfort that is, persistent or recurrent pain that lasts three months or longer warrants a visit to a doctor or nutritionist, said Liz McMahon, a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian. This sort of discomfort includes symptoms like ongoing diarrhea, constipation, pain after eating, feeling full after just a few bites of food, bloating and gas.
These conditions could be caused by anything from irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance to something more severe like gastroparesis, a condition where the stomach doesnt empty properly, she said.
Its important to see a GI doctor to rule out anything more serious like inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease, as well as just to get a proper diagnosis, McMahon said. Once we know what the issue is, then the registered dietitian can provide the right diet recommendations.