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Abdominal Pain

Everyone experiences abdominal pain from time to time: Eating a large meal, catching the stomach flu, or constipation can all cause generalized abdominal pain. However, abdominal pain isn’t always benign, which explains why it’s one of the most common reasons people visit the emergency room. The board-certified doctors at My Emergency Room 24/7 in San Marcos, Texas provides comprehensive care for patients with persistent or severe abdominal pain. If you’re worried about your abdominal pain, come to the office any time for prompt, no-wait care.

Abdominal Pain Q & A

How is abdominal pain characterized?

Abdominal pain, which is also commonly called a stomach ache, belly ache, gut ache, or even pelvic pain, can affect any area between your chest and your groin. Most of the time, abdominal pain resolves itself and isn’t symptomatic of a serious health problem.

Most types of abdominal pain can be categorized in one of four ways:

  • Generalized abdominal pain: This type of pain affects more than half of your belly. It’s most common with indigestion, intestinal gas, or a stomach virus.

  • Localized abdominal pain: When pain is localized in one spot of your belly, it’s more likely to be associated with a single organ like your gallbladder, stomach, or appendix.

  • Cramp-like abdominal pain: Cramp-like belly pain is common with gas or bloating and may be followed by diarrhea. This type of abdominal pain is also typical during a woman’s menstrual cycle.

  • Colicky abdominal pain: This type of pain usually comes on suddenly and ends abruptly, and then continues to come in waves. It’s generally associated with problems like kidney stones or gallstones.

What causes abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain can be short-lived or it can persist for weeks, months, or longer, and become chronic. Some of the most common causes of abdominal pain include:

  • Constipation and indigestion

  • Food poisoning and the stomach flu

  • Food allergies or intolerances

More serious causes of abdominal pain include:

  • Appendicitis and pancreatitis

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • Kidney stones and gallstones

  • Diverticulitis, or inflammation of the colon

  • Cancer of the stomach or colon

  • Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Women can also experience abdominal pain from severe menstrual cramps, urinary tract infections, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

When is abdominal pain an emergency?

Although the severity of your abdominal pain doesn’t always accurately reflect the seriousness of its underlying cause — gas pain can be very severe — it’s still important to know when abdominal pain requires prompt attention.

If your abdominal pain is so debilitating that you can’t sit comfortably or move without causing more pain, you should see the doctors at My Emergency Room 24/7 ASAP.

You should also seek immediate care if your abdominal pain is accompanied by any other type of discomfort, like chest, neck, or shoulder pain. Other serious co-symptoms to watch out for include:

  • High or persistent fever

  • Blood in your stool or vomit

  • Persistent nausea or vomiting

  • Abdominal swelling or tenderness

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Poor appetite or weight loss

If you have unexplained and worrisome abdominal pain, call My Emergency Room 24/7 or drop by for prompt, no-wait care any time.