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When Should I See a Doctor for a Stomachache?

When Should I See a Doctor for a Stomachache?

Severe Abdominal Pains That Should Not Be Ignored

Stomachache is something we experience frequently. There are several reasons why our stomach hurts. Common causes include indigestion, constipation, a stomach virus, food allergies, gas, or for women, menstrual cramps. These stomachaches are usually tolerable and go away after a few minutes or hours. But if the pain persists for more than six hours, gets worse, or is accompanied by vomiting or high fever, it may be time to head to your doctor or emergency care.

Other symptoms that warrant a trip to the doctor:

  • Stomachache along with the inability to urinate, move bowels, or pass gas
  • Abdominal pain that awakens a person up at night
  • Abdominal pain that prevents a person to move or causes the person to pass out
  • Stomachache that settles in one area, especially in the right lower abdomen
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain when the person is pregnant

Research shows that many individuals choose to stay put and wait for their stomachache to pass for fear that the doctor may not take their pain seriously and ask them to go home. However, there are some stomachaches that should never be ignored. As long as you feel concerned or alarmed by your abdominal pain, it is still better to have a doctor take a look at it.

Seeking Urgent Care for Your Stomachache

Severe abdominal pains usually need urgent or emergency care, especially if the pain has been persistent for several hours already. In diagnosing your stomachache, the doctor may ask questions such as when the pain has started, where the exact pain is, and if there have been other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain with urination or blood in the urine or stool. The doctor would also perform a physical examination and may focus on certain areas of your stomach to find out what may be causing you pain.

Some common diagnosis of severe abdominal pains include:

  • Gallstones
  • Appendicitis
  • Kidney stones
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Hernia

The doctor may also request some chemical testing such as blood work and liver tests for a more thorough examination, especially if they suspect that one of your internal organs are the cause of your abdominal pain.

While stomachache may not be a cause for alarm for many individuals, it also pays to be cautious, especially if the pain is accompanied by other symptoms. Toughing it out won’t make your abdominal pain better, only a doctor could.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.