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When to See a Doctor About Abdominal Pain

It’s likely that you or a loved one will suffer abdominal pain at some point (or many points) during your life. Usually, you know what caused it. Maybe there’s a bug going around the office or you ate something that didn’t agree with you. In some cases, however, abdominal pain can signal a serious condition that requires medical intervention.

If you have any doubt about your abdominal pain, contact our office in Annapolis, Maryland. Our friendly staff at Digestive Disorders Associates can help schedule an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists if your symptoms suggest it’s the right step.

What symptoms should I be concerned about?

See one of our gastroenterologists if you have severe abdominal pain that comes on suddenly, worsens with time, or goes on for more than a day or two. 

Also call us for an appointment if you have any of the following:

These symptoms indicate internal infection, inflammation, or bleeding that needs care. Sometimes, these symptoms can indicate a serious disease. 

If you’ve had an injury to your abdominal region, medical care is also warranted.

What to expect at your doctor’s visit

Abdominal pain can have a wide variety of causes, so a thorough evaluation of your symptoms, health history, and risk factors is required. If you come in to Digestive Disorders Associates, the expert staff performs a comprehensive physical exam and asks questions to determine the type of pain you’re experiencing, the specific location, and frequency. You’ll be asked about alcohol consumption, supplements and medications you take, and your diet.

You may also undergo screening tests, such as X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, or endoscopy. Blood tests and urine tests may help with diagnosis, too.

How to handle abdominal pain until you see a doctor

If you have severe pain, uncontrolled vomiting or diarrhea, an abdominal wound, or other extremely urgent symptoms, contact the nearest urgent care clinic or emergency room. If you can tolerate your abdominal pain and wait a few hours or days until your appointment, manage your discomfort at home.

You may need to adjust your diet temporarily to include just small meals and bland foods, such as toast and bananas. Avoid taking over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, as they can worsen your abdominal pain. Warm compresses or a heating pad may help reduce the severity of your discomfort.

Conditions that cause abdominal pain

Simple indigestion, the stomach flu, lactose intolerance, constipation, or a woman’s menstrual cycle are possible causes of your pain and all are quite manageable.

But abdominal discomfort can also indicate more serious issues such as:

In rare cases, your abdominal pain may indicate cancer of the ovaries, colon, or stomach.

If your abdominal pain is concerning to you, don’t hesitate to call Digestive Disorders Associates to set up an evaluation. You can also use this website to request an appointment.

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