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When should I seek treatment for stomach pain?

There are many causes for stomach pain. If you are wondering if you need medical care for abdominal pain, you probably should seek care. An emergency room (ER) has the ability to perform in-depth tests, such as a CT Scan or MRI, which aids in discovering the cause of your abdominal pain. These pieces of equipment are typically located only in a hospital.

Any severe abdominal pain should be checked out by a doctor. Some of the common causes of abdominal pain are constipation, stomach virus, gallbladder inflammation, appendicitis, urinary tract infection (UTI) and stomach ulcer. There are some worrisome symptoms that may accompany abdominal pain: non-improving diarrhea; bloody stool; pain associated right after eating or pain an hour or so after eating; fever; bloody vomit; upper or lower right-sided pain along with nausea, vomiting and fever; and weight loss. Abdominal pain in childbearing-age women may be due to menses, ovarian cyst and pregnancy.

Most people do not need to seek treatment for stomach pain. However, you should see your doctor if you:

  • have bowel movements that are bloody
  • experience diarrhea or vomiting
  • have pain that is severe and lasts more than an hour
  • have severe pain that comes and goes for greater than 24 hours
  • are unable to eat or drink for hours
  • have a fever greater than 102°F
  • lose a significant amount of weight unintentionally
  • lose interest in food

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.