The level of medical care depends on the stomach pain cause and the pain suffered by the patient. We often experience pretty bad stomach pain that may make you feel like it is the end of the world as you know it.
Even normal, everyday stomach aches feel awful and make you want to stay home in bed. And that is just for pains that will usually go away on their own or with simple rest. Pain caused by indigestion, occasional bowel conditions, gas, mild ulcers will usually go away with OTC treatments.
And then, there is the horrible, unfair stomach pain that sends you to the hospital in desperate need of medical care. Sometimes the pain results from infections that need antibiotics to clear it up and sometimes the treatment includes surgery to repair the damage causing the pain such as hernias or appendicitis.
When to see the Doc about your pain
Your pain is yours, only you know how bad it is, so it is hard to figure out when you should take care of it yourself and when you should see a doctor. A few guidelines would be helpful, wouldn’t it? If any of these issues accompany your pain, you should see a doctor right away. Don’t waste time with an appointment go in immediately if you suffer from any of the following:
- Pain lasts longer than 6 hours
- Complete loss of appetite
- Vomiting more than 3 or 4 times along with severe pain
- Pain is worse with any type of movement
- General pain that eventually settles in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen
- The pain actually awakens you from sound sleep.
- Bleeding vaginally or during pregnancy
- Fever that is higher than 101 degrees
- Inability to pass gas, pass a bowel movement or urinate.
If you notice any of these additional symptoms along with your pain, you should inform the doctor about them. These may indicate a particular issue that may help with gaining a faster diagnosis:
- Cannot keep food down at all for several days
- Vomiting blood
- Bloody stools
- Hard time breathing.
- Frequent and painful urination
- Abdomen is tender to the touch
- Previous abdominal injury
How will the doctor diagnose your pain?
When your doctor finally is able to see you, she will ask you about your general health and then ask some more focused questions about your recent or current pain. Then she will perform a physical examination that will include a stomach palpitations and pressure on the stomach. Some of the focused questions will include questions like these:
- Is the pain sharp and sudden or constant?
- Where is the pain located and does it radiate to other parts of the torso?
- Are you taking any medications or recently started or stopped taking them?
- Are you taking dietary supplements? Which ones?
- What have you tried that seems to help reduce or stop the pain even for short periods of time?
- Have you recently suffered an injury?
Most abdominal pain affects both men and women, but some effect women more:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Pain with frequent diarrhea/constipation or both. Abdominal distention along with bloating and gas.
- Gallstones: Women over the age of 40 years old or Native American women. Pain occurs in the right side of the belly to mid-abdomen and tends to radiate to the back. Tends to occur after eating.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Women usually develop this condition as a result of contracting STDs. They may suffer from pain during sex, vaginal discharge, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.