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Abdominal Pain in Adults (cont.)

Is Surgery Necessary for Some Causes of Abdominal Pain in Adults?

Some types of abdominal pain require surgical treatment.

  • If the patient's pain comes from an infected internal organ, such as the appendix or gallbladder, they will be admitted to a hospital and will require hospitalization, observation, and finally surgery.
  • Bowel obstruction sometimes requires surgery, depending on what is causing the obstruction, how much bowel is obstructed, and whether or not the obstruction is temporary.
  • If the patient's pain comes from a ruptured or perforated organ, such as the bowel or stomach, they will need immediate surgery and will be taken directly to an operating room.

Do I Need to Follow-up with My Doctor After Having Abdominal Pain?

If the person is allowed to go home after their evaluation, they may be given instructions about what they can and cannot eat and drink and which medications they may take. The person may be told to return to the emergency department if certain conditions develop.

If the person is given no specific instructions they should follow these recommendations:

  • As soon as you feel like eating, start with clear liquids.
  • If clear liquids cause no further pain or vomiting, progress to "bland" foods such as crackers, rice, bananas, applesauce, or toast.
  • If your symptoms don't return in a few days return to your normal diet.

Patients should return to the emergency department or doctor in the following situations.

  • The pain worsens or if the patient starts vomiting, has a high fever, or cannot urinate or move their bowels
  • Any symptom that worsens or is alarming
  • Abdominal symptoms are not better in 24 hours
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2015
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