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Last Updated: Jun 05, 2023

Abdominal Pain & When To Consult A Doctor

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Dr. Chetan B. MahajanGastroenterologist • 28 Years Exp.MBBS, MS - General Surgery , DNB (General Surgery), MNAMS (Membership of the National Academy), Fellow HPB Surgery & Liver Transplant (Singapore) , FICS - RPSLH - RPSLH
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Abdominal pain can be triggered by a number of factors. Sometimes, it's mild enough to be overlooked while at others, the pain can be debilitating. Most abdominal problems start with the same symptoms and hence the cause of this pain can be a little difficult to pin point. In many cases, the location of the pain can help understand the factors that are triggering it.

  • Generalized pain can be simply be triggered by indigestion. On the other hand, it could also be a symptom of a number of illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, appendicitis, viral gastroenteritis and intestinal obstructions etc. However, the former are more common. This type of pain resolves itself without medical intervention.
  • In other cases, abdominal pain can be localized to the upper or lower abdomen on the right or left side or in the centre of the abdomen. This sort of pain is usually sporadic and comes and goes with great intensity. In most cases, this sort of pain is a symptom of a serious problem and should not be ignored. One of the most common examples of localized abdominal pain is the pain caused by appendicitis in its later stages. Severe pain that is located just above the centre of the belly button could be a sign of pancreatitis. A burning sensation and severe cramps in the center of the stomach could point towards stomach ulcers that could cause perforations if left untreated. Other causes for this type of pain include endometriosis, ovarian cysts, angina, kidney infections and a spleen infection.
  • Mild stomach pain whether localized or general can be relieved using home remedies and does not often require medication. However, if the pain is severe or if it comes on suddenly, you must immediately consult a doctor. Another reason to consult a doctor is if the pain persists for more than 24 hours. If the pain is accompanied by black or bloody stools or vomiting and nausea, do not ignore it. Black stools are often an indicator of the presence of blood in the digestive tract. Abdominal pain that worsens with movement or is tender to touch is also something that should be shown to a doctor. Other reasons to consult a doctor are abdominal pain with persistent vomiting following meals and unexplained weight loss and a loss of appetite.

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