One of the most common reasons for doctor visits in the United States is a “tummy ache” or abdominal pain. Causes of abdominal pain can be as minor as gas and indigestion, and as serious as appendicitis or even a heart attack. Most cases, however are not serious at all, and can be treated and diagnosed easily.
Common Causes of Abdominal Pain Include:
- Stomach “flu”
- Menstrual cramps
- Food poisoning
- Food allergies
- Lactose intolerance
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Kidney stones
- Crohn’s disease
- Urinary tract infection
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
It is important to determine what symptoms of abdominal pain warrant a call or visit to the doctor.
If your pain is severe or if it is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:
- Inability to keep food down for several days
- Inability to pass stool, especially if you are also vomiting
- Vomiting blood
- Bloody stools
- Difficulty breathing
- Painful urination
- Extreme pain during pregnancy
- The abdomen is tender to the touch
- Pain as a result of an injury to the abdomen
- Pain lasting for several days
Abdominal pain can be an indication of a wide range of problems, therefore, your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam, discuss your symptoms, and ask you questions about your pain. These questions may include:
- What type of pain are you experiencing? Is it stabbing and severe? Or is it dull ache?
- Where is the pain located? Is the pain throughout your abdomen, or is it confined to one area?
- When does the pain occur? Always? Only at certain times of the day? If it comes and goes, how long does it last? Does it occur only after eating or drinking certain foods?
- How long have you had this pain?
- Does the pain radiate to any other parts of your body? Lower back, shoulder, groin, buttocks?
- Are you currently taking any medications or herbal supplements?
- Are you pregnant or is there any chance that you could be pregnant?
After the initial evaluation is completed, your doctor may order some tests to help determine the cause of your pain. These tests may include urine or stool tests, blood tests, barium swallows, enemas, an endoscopy, x-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan.
Treating Abdominal Pain
Treatment of abdominal pain depends on the cause. In most cases, simple changes such as rest and changes in diet are enough, but in some cases, such as appendicitis, surgery is necessary.
Urgent Care When You Need It:
- Walk-in friendly
- Open 7-days a week 8am-8pm
- In-network for most Arizona insurers
- Open extended hours
- Has X-Ray and Lab onsite
- Staffed by Doctors, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners.