What is abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain is pain that can occur anywhere from the ribs to the pelvis region. There are many underlying causes for this pain: infection, inflammation, blockage, or any other intestinal disorder.
Infections from other parts of the body can migrate to the digestive tract and cause abdominal pain.
It is not uncommon for abdominal pain to be accompanied by conditions such as nausea, vomiting, belching, or flatulence.
Depending on the cause, the pain may occur continuously or in spasms (intermittent, repeated contractions of varying length), with peaks of sharp pain alternating with pain-free phases.
Pain can arise from many causes like ulcers, perforations, internal bleeding, organ rupture, infections, or in case of blockage when the organs are not getting sufficient blood supply.
Some life-threatening disorders can also cause abdominal pain and are an indication of a major health disorder.
- Lack of blood flow to the abdomen
- Perforated intestine or stomach
- Ruptured ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside of the uterus)
Occasionally, disorders outside of the abdomen also can cause abdominal pain like decreased blood flow to the heart, pneumonia, and testicular torsion.
The information below can help people decide whether they need to follow up on symptoms of abdominal pain.
In people with minor abdominal pain, several symptoms and characteristics are cause for significant concern. They consist of
- Low blood pressure, sweating, and palpitations
- Abdominal swelling
- Hard, “board like” abdomen
- Other symptoms like fever and chills
Most of the time minor abdominal pain is viral and no lab tests are required. In instances where abdominal pain is severe or prolonged, a medical provider may perform lab tests. These could include a complete peripheral blood count, basic or complete metabolic panel, creatinine and more, depending on a patient’s history. With women, a pregnancy test should be done before administering any medicine and to rule out ectopic pregnancy.
Liver function tests (LFTs) may be performed in a patient who experiences abdominal pain in the upper right part of their abdomen. All these tests can help in determining the underlying cause of abdominal pain.
Treatment is focused on finding the underlying cause of the pain and addressing that issue. As there are many causes of abdominal pain, treatment can be as simple as over the counter antacids to more complex treatments like surgery.
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
If you have abdominal pain, that you think needs immediate medical assistance, it is best to consult with a medical professional.
Treatment for minor abdominal pain is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.