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Patient Education

Abdominal Pain

What is abdominal pain or stomach pain?

Abdominal pain is common and it ranges from mild to severe. Some people may call it stomach pain, stomachache, tummy ache, bellyache, etc. Acute abdominal pain is short-term, lasting hours or days. If it lasts for weeks, months, or years, it’s called chronic abdominal pain.

If abdominal or stomach pain is impacting your life, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today.

Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio - Abdominal Pain

What causes abdominal pain?

Most of the time, abdominal pain isn’t serious.  It’s normally caused by indigestion, gas pains, or a muscle strain.  However, abdominal pain can also indicate a serious illness.

You should seek immediate care if you have abdominal pain that is accompanied by:

  • Severe Pain
  • Fever
  • Blood in your stool
  • Persistent Vomiting / Nausea
  • Vomiting Blood
  • Yellowish skin (jaundice)
  • Severe tenderness to touch
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Pain that lasts for several days

Common Causes of Abdominal Pain:

  • Indigestion
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Stomach flu
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Food poisoning
  • Food allergies
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Ulcers
  • Hernia
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Kidney Stones
  • Gallstones
  • Endometriosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

Diagnosing Abdominal & Stomach Pain

Figuring out what is causing abdominal or stomach pain is a multifaceted approach.

First, the doctor will review the patient’s history and symptoms.  The duration of the pain is an important clue for diagnosis.

Next, the type of pain will be assessed – it may be sharp, dull, burning, twisting, cramping, etc.   The doctor will then perform a physical evaluation to determine the location of the pain, check for tender areas, and assess any abnormalities felt in the abdomen.  This could include looking for masses or enlarged organs.

Sometimes the patient’s history and physical exam will be enough for a preliminary diagnosis and treatment can start.  In other cases, more tests are needed to confirm or exclude a diagnosis. The most common tests include analysis of blood, urine, and stool samples.  Doctors may also recommend x-rays or an endoscopy.

Abdominal & Stomach Pain Treatment

Treatment for abdominal pain will depend on the cause. Treatments include:

  • Medications to reduce inflammation
  • Medications to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD / Acid Reflux), or ulcers
  • Antibiotics for infections
  • Behavior or lifestyle adjustments for stomach pain caused by certain foods or drinks
  • In severe cases like a hernia or appendicitis, surgery is necessary.

If abdominal or stomach pain is impacting your life, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today.


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