At one time or another, all of us have experienced abdominal pain. It is one of the most common complaints seen in emergency rooms.
Most of the time, it is not caused by a serious medical problem, but when it is serious it can be life-threatening. In this article, I’d like to differentiate between mild pain symptoms and more serious symptoms that would cause you to seek urgent medical care.
There are an abundant number of causes of abdominal pain too numerous to mention in this article, but there are many signs and symptoms of abdominal pain of which you should be aware.
What are the most common causes of abdominal pain?
- Indigestion, constipation, ulcers, and gas.
- Stomach flu and food poisoning.
- Food allergies and lactose intolerance.
- Gallstones and kidney stones.
- Urinary tract infections, pelvic infections, ovarian disease, endometriosis, and menstrual cramps.
More serious causes include:
- Aneurysm (swelling with possible rupture) of the aorta.
- Decreased blood supply to the intestines (ischemic bowel).
- Appendicitis, diverticulitis, and cholecystitis (infections of the appendix, the colon, and the gallbladder respectively).
- Bowel blockage (obstruction).
- Cancer of any of the intra abdominal organs especially of stomach, colon, or liver.
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
- Heart attack.
Seek immediate medical help or call 911 for abdominal pain that involves:
- Severe sudden abdominal pain.
- Vomiting blood, having blood in your stool, or if your stool appears tar colored.
- Tenderness over your abdomen, or if it feels rigid when you touch it.
- Pregnancy either confirmed or suspected.
- A recent injury to your abdomen.
- Pain and difficulty breathing.
- Mild abdominal pain that does not improve within 24-48 hours, or becomes more severe or frequent, especially if occurring with vomiting.
- Diarrhea for more than several days, especially with fever or blood.
- Fever over 100 degrees with your pain.
I have tried to simplify the complex subject of abdominal pain. Obviously, this is not all-inclusive, but my goal has been to have you understand those symptoms that should prompt immediate medical attention. This information is from my personal experience to serve as a guideline in dealing with abdominal pain.
As I always say, in spite of anything you may have read or heard about, if you have any symptoms that concern you, or just doesn’t seem right, seek medical care.
Of course, as with most problems with your health, it’s much better to deal with them sooner rather than later.