When to Seek Medical Care for Your Stomach Aches and Pains

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Stomach pains are common and often don’t require treatment or medical intervention. Over the counter medications, rest, and avoiding foods that could upset your stomach may provide relief. However, stomachaches can also be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, and one that could even threaten your life.

Let’s take a look at stomach pains, and when you should seek medical treatment.

The Digestive Tract is Immensely Complex

We talk about “stomach” aches quite frequently, but the digestive tract includes numerous other organs, including your large and small intestines, appendix, liver, kidneys, and gallbladder. An infection or other problem in any of these organs could result in abdominal pain.

A woman holding her tummy tightly

Indigestion is normal and occurs when you have problems digesting your food. Perhaps your stomach didn’t empty properly, a condition referred to as “Gastroparesis”. Or maybe gases have built up, or you’re suffering from a minor infection.

So how do you differentiate between indigestion and a potentially more serious problem?

Signs of a More Serious Stomach Issue That May Require Medical Treatment

If you’re suffering from indigestion, the pain will often be exhibited across the abdomen. If you feel a sharp pain in a particular region, you need to monitor the pain more closely.

Time is the best factor for indicating whether or not your issue is severe. Cases such as indigestion usually clear up in a few hours, and even more persistent cases of indigestion rarely lasts more than 24 hours. If the pain persists past 48 hours, you should consult a gastroenterologist. Likewise, if you’re suffering stomach issues and a fever- you should speak with a doctor.

When to Seek Medical Treatment Immediately

Many stomach issues are accompanied by pain, but the pain is rarely debilitating. If you’re suffering from appendicitis or another severe condition, even standing could prove all but impossible. If that’s the case, seek medical treatment immediately.

If you’re suffering from any of the below, you should also seek treatment:

  • Nausea and vomiting that lasts more than a few days
  • Frequent vomiting and nausea
  • Shortness of breath (accompanied by gastric pain)
  • Severe tenderness or sharp pain when you touch your abdomen
  • Yellow tinged skin
  • Severe swelling
  • Profuse bleeding from the bowels
  • Pain, constipation, and vomiting at the same time
  • Any stomach pain while pregnant

When it comes to your health, it’s best to exercise caution. If something feels wrong or your stomach pain feels especially severe, consult a medical professional.

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