When Abdominal Pain Is and Is Not an Emergency

Abdominal or stomach pain can often be debilitating and most of the time requires a trip to the emergency room. Read below to see if your symptoms might suggest a problem that does require immediate medical attention.

Having abdominal pain can be intense, uncomfortable, as well as concerning, but it is not always considered an emergency. If you have cramps, bloating, constipation, or a stomach bug, it might pass with rest, some easy-to-digest foods, over-the-counter pain relievers, fluids, and a heating pad.

But there are some instances where stomach pain might indicate there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by a healthcare professional at Community First ER as soon as possible. The list below might help you decide if your stomach pain is or may not be an emergency.

You’re pregnant

In pregnant women, stomach pain can mean there is a severe complication. If the stomach pain you are having is down low or you are having vaginal bleeding with it, contact your OB/GYN at Community First ER.

You recently had an abdominal procedure

If you have had gastric bypass surgery or any abdominal surgery, if you have stomach pain it might mean you have a surgical complication or an infection.

If your operation was simple, even an upper endoscopy or a colonoscopy, it could be that a side effect has developed, like perforation or infection. Get emergency care as soon as you can.

You have a history of heart attack or heart disease

Stomach pain can even be a sign of a heart attack, so if you have had heart disease or are over the age of 45 and start having stomach pain, you need to be concerned. Stomach pain can be a dangerous signal of a heart attack if it shows up with upper body pain, chest tightness or pain, and shortness of breath.

There may be times a heart attack can reach your abdomen, and it feels like you are having heartburn.

Your pain is on the lower right side of your abdomen

You have debilitating pain, and it is extreme and occurs down in your lower right abdomen it could be the sign of appendicitis, and that does require immediate attention at a hospital. If you don’t know for sure where the pain is at, and it feels like it is moving around, but it is very intense and keeps you from being able to move or stand, call Community First ER to see what treatment you need.

There’s blood in your vomit or stool

If you start vomiting up blood and are experiencing some stomach pain, it is probably an emergent situation that needs emergent care. If the vomiting is persistent and just will not let up it is probably an emergency as well.

If you have bloody or dark, red,  black tarry stools, the same is true as well. Diarrhea accompanied by blood is a real concern, but diarrhea without any blood that keeps lasting for over five days might indicate another problem. Call Community First ER.

You have a very high fever

If that stomach pain comes with a high temperature, usually 100 degrees F or even higher, it might indicate that you have a severe infection. NOT good.

If the temperature is not super high but stays with you for several days in a row and so does the abdominal pain, it is one more reason to worry. Do not wait around but call Community First ER and come in for us to see what is going on in your belly.

Be less concerned

If your stomach pain is feeling moderate to mild discomfort, it will probably resolve on its own, and more so if it does not include any of the issues listed above. Always trust what your instincts tell you.

If you feel like something is not right and your stomach pain is not passing a bug or some trapped gas, call Community First ER for further recommendations as to what you should do at this point.

Community First ER is a 24-hour emergency room. We also offer diagnostic services and house an onsite pharmacy on our campus.

Have questions, feel free to give us a call at 281-343-3134.

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