Uncomfortable abdominal pain can strike at any time, so how do you know when to seek treatment for it? To ensure you see a trained gastroenterologist when necessary, here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind. They could help you avoid serious illness.
What Are The Causes of Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain, from the area of the stomach (upper abdomen) and small and large intestines (lower abdomen), can have many causes, ranging from benign (excessive gas) to serious (colorectal cancer or Crohn’s disease). Typically, abdominal discomfort resolves relatively quickly and without professional intervention of any kind.
For instance, after a heavy, greasy meal, you may suffer fairly intense abdominal discomfort due to ordinary indigestion. The pain will go away quickly (within hours) and needs no more than over-the-counter remedies, such as antacids.
However, there are other causes of abdominal pain that are more serious and indicate either an acute health condition, such as appendicitis, or chronic medical problem, such as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. When you and/or your primary care physician suspect you have a serious GI problem, you should see a board-certified gastroenterologist for an in-office examination, lab work, and imaging assessments, as needed.
Signs That Indicate You Need Abdominal Pain Treatment
You should see a GI specialist for abdominal pain when the discomfort is:
- Persistent (lasting more than 24 to 48 hours)
- Stabbing, aching, and/or localized (in the lower left abdomen, for example)
- Accompanied by bloating, nausea, or vomiting
- Accompanied by bloody stools or rectal bleeding
- Accompanied by greenish, yellow skin (jaundice)
Additionally, fever, unexplained weight loss, persistent fatigue, and generalized malaise should prompt your PCP to refer you to a GI specialist.
When Do Symptoms Warrant a Trip to The ER For Treatment?
Any abdominal pain that is severe and comes on suddenly is a medical emergency. It could indicate an abdominal aneurysm involving the aorta, a ruptured appendix, or another serious medical condition.
Extreme abdominal swelling and tenderness are dangerous symptoms, as well as the inability to have a bowel movement or stomach discomfort along with shortness of breath. Pain that occurs during coughing, sneezing, lifting, or bending could mean you have a hernia, in which a portion of the intestine protrudes through the abdominal muscles, creating a bump or bulge.
The Finest Gastroenterology Care in Sarasota And Bradenton, FL
At Intercoastal Medical Group in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL, our specialty care physicians include four board-certified experts in gastroenterology. These physicians see and treat patients at our Cattleridge Medical Building and Lakewood Ranch II location. We have state-of-the-art laboratory services and the latest in imaging technologies on premises for your convenience.