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.
When To Make An Appointment To See Your Doctor
Schedule an appointment to see your doctor if:
- Your stomach pain doesnt go away within a couple of days.
- The pain comes back after going away.
- Symptoms like diarrhea dont go away within a couple of days.
- Youre urinating more or less often, and/or its painful.
- You have unintended weight loss.
Know your body, Dr. Kingsley says. If you start having pain that you have not had before and does not go away, you should contact your doctor to be evaluated further.
Bottom line: Trust your gut! Contact your doctor if youre concerned about lingering or unusual stomach pain.
National Health Service, Stomach Ache
National Health Service Inform, Stomach Ache and Abdominal Pain
U.S. National Library of Medicine, Abdominal Pain
Should I Worry About Having Gi Symptoms With Covid
Some studies show that patients who experience GI symptoms are more likely to develop serious complications from COVID-19, including acute respiratory distress, heart or kidney damage, and can even be associated with death.
It also appears that people with preexisting GI conditions before getting COVID-19 are more likely to experience serious complications from the disease.
With or without GI symptoms, seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following severe COVID-19 associated symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds
- Difficulty and/or inability to stay awake
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Avoiding Smoking And Drinking Alcohol
Smoking can irritate the throat, increasing the likelihood of an upset stomach. If the person has vomited, smoking can further irritate the tender tissue already sore from stomach acids.
As a toxin, alcohol is difficult to digest and can cause damage to the liver and stomach lining.
People with an upset stomach should avoid smoking and drinking alcohol until they are feeling better.
When To Call Your Doctor
There’s a bit of a gray area in terms of which stomach pain cases need immediate attention and which would warrant a call or visit to your doctor instead, as there can be symptom overlap. Again, listen to your body and your instincts if you’re not sure.
If you don’t have any of the symptoms listed above and instead have any of the following features of your abdominal pain, it is important that you contact your doctor within a day or two:
- Excessive vaginal bleeding or blood clots
- Vaginal bleeding that lasts for longer than usual
You should also call your doctor if you experience stomach pain while you are being treated for cancer.
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When To Contact A Clinician
Persistent or severe abdominal pain, especially if unrelieved by vomiting or passing a bowel movement
Fever greater than 101 degrees F, not relieved by acetaminophen, or any fever that lasts more than three days
Vomiting or diarrhea without any improvement for more 24 hours
Blood in vomit or stools
No urination for more than 8 hours, or painful urination
Settle Your Stomach With Baking Soda
No need to pop an antacid when you feel some heartburn coming on.
Baking soda is the active ingredient in most commercial antacids, so if youve got a box on hand, you can settle your stomach in seconds.
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda into some warm water and drink it. You can do this several times a day if your stomach pain comes back.
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Treatment For Stomach Pain
To help your child feel more comfortable, you can give paracetamol in the recommended dose and frequency. If your child has more than the recommended dose, it can cause liver damage.
Its also important to make sure that your child gets enough fluids and plenty of rest. Distracting your child from the pain and using relaxation strategies can help too.
Do not give your child aspirin for any reason. Aspirin can make your child susceptible to Reyes syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal illness. It can also cause serious illness or even death in children with chickenpox or flu symptoms.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar As A Stomachache Cure
Another paradoxical-sounding remedy is using acidic drinks to relieve pain from gastric reflux. Since gastric reflux can result in stomach acid leaking out into places its not wanted, your stomachs acidity can end up lower than is optimal for digesting food.
Drinking apple cider vinegar can help improve the levels and ease an upset stomach. This assumes that youre able to, well, stomach the drink in the first place. While apple cider vinegar does its work best if taken raw, you may find mixing it with water, a teaspoon of honey, and sipping slowly to be the more tolerable option.
- Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one cup of warm water.
- Mix in one tablespoon of honey.
- Drink this remedy every three hours until pain is gone.
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Wheres Your Abdominal Bloating And Pain
Pain in different areas of the abdomen can mean different things.
Abdominal pain can be anywhere between the chest and the pelvis. People often call it a stomachache. The pain can also be:
Causes of abdominal bloating and pain can vary from mild to severe. Most of the time, abdominal bloating and pain occur due to:
This kind of bloating or pain is usually normal and will go away within two hours.
In cases of the stomach flu, you may feel intense pain or bloating that comes and goes before each episode of vomiting or diarrhea. Stomach viruses usually go away with rest and home care.
This guide lists the organs associated with different locations of abdominal bloating or pain:
Wide Range Of Symptoms
One of the more surprising issues with some types of anxiety disorder is the way that they change sensations in our body. For example, for many, feeling full is a nice feeling. However, it can lead to a variety of natural body sensations, including:
- Feeling lightheaded
- Slight stomach discomfort
In those without anxiety, these are natural. In people suffering from some degree of anxiety, those sensations feel much more pronounced and can trigger a full-blown panic attack.
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What Questions Will The Doctor Ask About My Abdominal Pain
Diagnosing the cause of abdominal pain is one of the hardest tasks for a doctor. Sometimes all that the professional can do is be sure that the pain does not require surgery or admission to the hospital.
The healthcare professional may ask these or similar questions to try to determine what is causing the patient’s pain. Some may seem unrelated to the patient’s current condition, but it is important to try to answer them as completely as possible. The answers to these questions can help the healthcare professional find the cause of the patient’s pain more quickly and easily.
- How long have you had the pain?
- What were you doing when it started?
- How did you feel before the pain started?
- Have you felt OK over the last few days?
- What have you tried to make the pain better? Did it work?
- What makes the pain worse?
- Where is the pain located?
- Right side?
Symptoms Of Abdominal Pain In Adults
The type of pain can vary greatly. When abdominal pain occurs, it can:
- be sharp, dull, stabbing, cramp-like, twisting or fit many other descriptions
- be brief, come and go in waves, or it can be constant
- make you throw up
- make you want to stay still or make you so restless that you pace around trying to find just the right position
- vary from a minor problem to one needing urgent surgery.
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Right Side Of The Abdomen
The upper right side of your abdomen contains the gallbladder, liver, and first part of the small intestine.
The gallbladder is a small sac that stores bile made by the liver. The duodenum, known as the first portion of the small intestine, is where food empties from the stomach into the small intestine.
The center right side of the abdomen contains the ascending colon and the transverse colon. Food then passes from the ascending colon to the transverse colon.
The cecum of the large intestine with the appendix and the small intestine are in the lower right side of the abdomen. The cecum is the first part of the large intestine that the end of the small intestine connects to.
Some experts believe the appendix plays a role in the immune system. Others think it has no purpose.
If your doctor performs a physical exam and then suspects a medical condition is causing your abdominal bloating or pain, theyll run various medical tests.
The types of tests they order will depend on your medical history and physical exam results.
Some common tests for abdominal problems include the following:
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What Home Remedies Soothe Abdominal Pain In Adults
Abdominal pain without fever, vomiting, vaginal bleeding, passing out, chest pain, or other serious symptoms often get better without special treatment.
- If the pain persists or if a person believes the pain may represent a serious problem, they should see a doctor.
- A heating pad or soaking in a tub of warm water may ease the pain.
- Over-the-counter antacids, such as Tums, Maalox, or Pepto-Bismol, also can reduce some types of abdominal pain. Activated charcoal capsules also may help.
- Acetaminophen may help. This product should be avoided if liver disease is suspected. Patients should try to avoid aspirin or ibuprofen stomach or intestinal ulcer disease is suspected these drugs can make the pain worse.
Soothe Your Stomach With Fennel
Fennel stimulates digestion, reduces gas and bloating, and soothes stomach pain.
Its a common ingredient in many commercial teas that relieve stomach problems. If you like the flavor of licorice, youll probably like how fennel tastes, too.
If you can find raw fennel bulbs at a health food store near you, treat your stomach pain by slicing off a piece and chewing on it.
If you cant find raw fennel, the seeds also work well for treating indigestion and bloating.
Chew on half a teaspoon of them, or steep them in hot water to make fennel tea.
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Abdominal Bloating And Pain Treatments
Treatments for abdominal bloating and pain will address the underlying condition.
Examples may include antibiotics for infections. If an intestinal obstruction is the cause, your doctor may encourage bowel rest by decreasing oral intake.
If theres a deficiency moving contents within the GI tract, your doctor may prescribe medications to encourage intestinal movement. Surgery may be necessary in severe instances.
What Are The Characteristics Of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain may include any of the following, or a combination of these characteristics:
- bowel obstruction
- causes of heart pain
If you are experiencing abdominal pain, the exact location of the pain and any other symptoms you might have may suggest the cause.
If you feel pain right across your stomach area or low down, its probably coming from your bowel. You may also have bloating and wind. If your stomach cramps have started recently and you also have diarrhoea, the cause is probably gastroenteritis. If you are very ill for example, with chills or a fever you may have a more serious infection such as food poisoning.
If the pain is coming from higher up in your stomach, it could be caused by acid reflux or an ulcer. You might also have heartburn and belching, and the pain might be made worse, or relieved, by food.
If the pain is in the middle of your stomach and extends to your back, it could be a sign of gallstones. Pain in the lower right part of the stomach, along with fever, nausea and vomiting, could be appendicitis.
If the pain is made worse by exercise it could be heart pain. Read more in the chest pain section. If you are experiencing this type of pain, call triple and ask for an ambulance.
Some medicines, such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory and anti-dementia drugs, can cause stomach pain as a side effect.
You can find more information about the underlying causes of abdominal pain here.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Abdominal Pain
While we dont usually feel the inner workings of our abdomen, pain can occur when there is a disruption of the normal functioning of an organ or area of tissue inside.
Abdominal pain can be caused by inflammation , organ distention or stretching , or loss of blood supply .
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as dietary supplements, can cause stomach pain. Medications can do this by irritating the stomach, leading to nausea, pain, and diarrhea, or by slowing digestion, leading to constipation. Be sure to check the label of any drug you take to see if abdominal pain is listed as a possible side effect.
- Lead poisoning, often from eating paint chips
- Emotional upset
Symptoms Related To Stomach Pain
The symptoms that come with stomach pain vary depending on whats causing the stomach pain.
Cramps and general pain might be associated with excess wind and bloating.
Tummy pain that doesnt go away could be constipation or a urinary tract infection. Children with a urinary tract infection, might also have pain when doing a wee, be doing more wees than normal, and might have a fever, be vomiting and feel irritable.
A sore tummy is more likely to be a sign of something serious if it wakes your child up, or if the pain is in a specific area of the abdomen, away from your childs belly button. For example, in appendicitis, the pain is usually sharp, and the pain often starts in the middle then moves to the lower right section of the abdomen. Your child might also have fever, loss of appetite and vomiting.
With all types of stomach pain, theres a risk that your child will become dehydrated. You should watch for signs of dehydration, including sunken eyes, less wee than usual, lethargy and weight loss. If your child shows these signs, make sure they’re drinking enough fluids.
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Causes Of Abdominal Pain In Adults
There are many reasons why you may have pain in your abdomen. People often worry about appendicitis, gallstones, ulcers, infections and pregnancy problems. Doctors also worry about these, as well as many other conditions. Abdominal pain may not come from the abdomen. Some surprising causes include heart attacks and pneumonias, conditions in the pelvis or groin, some skin rashes like shingles, and problems with stomach muscles like a strain. The pain may occur along with problems in passing urine or with bowel motions, or period problems.With so many organs and structures in the abdomen, it can be hard for a doctor to be absolutely sure about the cause of your problem. The doctor will ask you several questions and then examine you carefully. The doctor may perform no further tests. The cause of your pain may be quite clearly not serious. Another scenario may be that the doctor is unable to find a cause, but the pain gets better within hours or days. All the doctor can do is to be sure that the pain does not require surgery or admission to hospital.
When To See A Doctor
An upset stomach and indigestion should not usually cause concern. For most people, symptoms should go away within a few hours. As older adults and children can become dehydrated much more quickly, they should seek medical attention for vomiting and diarrhea that lasts for more than a day.
People with severe, frequent, or persistent stomach problems should talk to a doctor. It is also best to seek medical attention if the following symptoms are present:
- continual or uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
- chronic constipation
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