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Abdominal Pain in Adults (cont.)

When Should an Adult Seek Medical Care for Abdominal Pain?

Call or see a doctor if the affected person has any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain that lasts more than six hours or continues to worsen
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain after eating
  • Pain that stops a person from eating
  • Pain accompanied by vomiting more than three or four times
  • Abdominal pain during pregnancy
  • Pain that worsens when a person tries to move around
  • Pain that starts all over, but settles into one area, especially the right lower abdomen
  • Pain that awakens a person up at night
  • Pain with vaginal bleeding or pregnancy, even if a female only thinks she might be pregnant
  • Pain accompanied by fever over 101 F (33.3 C)
  • Pain along with inability to urinate, move the bowels, or pass gas
  • Any other pain that feels different from a simple stomach ache
  • Any other pain that alarms a person, or concerns them in any way

If the person has any of the following, or cannot reach their doctor, go to a hospital emergency department:

  • Very severe pain
  • Pain so bad the affected person passes out or almost passes out
  • Pain so bad the affected person cannot move
  • Pain and vomiting blood, or any vomiting that lasts more than six hours
  • Pain and no bowel movement for more than three days
  • Pain the person thinks might be in their chest, but they aren't sure
  • Pain that seems to come from the person's testicles

What Kind of Doctor Treats Abdominal Pain in Adults?

Abdominal pain can be treated by a variety of doctors depending on the cause of the pain. It is usually best to start off with a primary care physician who can start the process of diagnosing the origin of the pain. Depending on the final diagnosis you will be treated by a primary care doctor (i.e. ulcers, infection) or referred to a surgeon (appendicitis, ovarian torsion), gastroenterologist, or gynecologist. If the pain is severe you might end up in the emergency department where an emergency medicine physician will be the first one to take care of you.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2015
Medical Editor:

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Abdominal Angina »

Although Schnitzler first described the clinical picture of postprandial clinical pain in 1901, the syndrome of postprandial abdominal angina generally is attributed to Baccelli or Goodman (1918).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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