Virtually everyone has experienced a stomach ache at some point in their lives. There are many reasons why you may experience stomach pain or abdominal pain.
Some of the more common reasons include indigestion, a viral infection, constipation, or menstrual cramps. Believe it or not, stress can also cause stomach pain.
While most stomach pain is harmless, sometimes abdominal pain can indicate a more serious issue. Let’s discuss when a stomach ache is just a stomach ache – and when you actually need to see a doctor or seek immediate medical attention.
When Stomach Pain Is More than Just a Stomach Ache
It is very important to take stomach pain seriously and to keep an eye on your symptoms. This is because our abdomen includes vital organs such as the stomach, appendix, large intestine, kidneys, gallbladder, and liver.
Abdominal pain can be as simple as indigestion or as serious as a burst appendix. Don’t take any chances – if something feels not quite right, get it checked out.
As a general rule of thumb, if you experience any of the following abdominal symptoms, you should visit your gastroenterologist so you can be diagnosed and treated properly:
- Severe pain lasting more than 24 hours
- Dull pain lasting a week or longer
- Pain that becomes more frequent and more severe over time
- Bloody bowel movements
- Pain and bloating that lasts for more than two days
- Pain and unexpected weight loss
- Pain accompanied by diarrhea or vomiting
- Pain accompanied by a 102-degree (or higher) fever
- Pain and a burning or painful sensation when urinating
- Inability to eat or drink
- Loss of interest in food
When you visit your gastroenterologist to discuss your stomach pain, let them know where the pain is located, what kind of pain it is (dull or sharp), how long you’ve had it, and whether it’s continuous or intermittent.
You should also let them know about any other symptoms you are experiencing. Your doctor can then determine the possible causes of your pain and recommend the best possible treatment to make you feel better.
When to Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
There are certain symptoms that can indicate a very serious condition. If you have a history of heart problems, and you are experiencing abdominal pain – especially higher up in the stomach area – this may be a sign of a heart attack. Seek medical care right away.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, go to your nearest emergency room or call 911:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain that radiates to the back
- Acute pain that comes on suddenly and persists (especially on the right side)
- Vomiting or coughing up blood
- Dark red or black bloody stools
- High fever
- Continual or profuse bleeding of the bowels (including dark red or black stools)
- Extreme tenderness when touching your abdomen
- A swollen or hard abdomen
- Yellow skin
Gastroenterologists in Carlisle, PA
Don’t let stomach pain interfere with your life. At Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates, our board-certified and fellowship-trained gastroenterologists have advanced knowledge in preventing and treating a full spectrum of GI conditions.
We offer comprehensive services and the highest quality of care in South Central Pennsylvania. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (717) 245-2228 or use our secure online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you achieve health and wellness!