Abdominal pain is more common than you may think. Flu season may give you an upset stomach, especially if you did not get your flu shot. Contaminated or spoiled food can cause abdominal problems. Many women experience lower abdominal pain as part of their menstrual cycles. Most pain will resolve on its own; however, certain abdominal pains should not be ignored.
Localized Abdominal Pain
Localized pain is that which you can point to specifically. The pain may radiate out from a particular area, but the strongest pain is focused in one spot. The most common reason for localized abdominal pain is acid reflux. This heartburn is usually located at the base of the esophagus where it meets the stomach. Usually soothed with milk or acid reducers, it can easily be treated.
Localized pain in other areas of the abdomen is not as common. If symptoms persist despite OTC pain meds or worsen quickly, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. If that is not an option, you may want to go to an urgent care center or ER facility.
Cramps are most often associated with women’s menstrual cycles as well as with constipation or diarrhea. If you can explain the reason for your discomfort and bowel disruptions, it is usually safe to take OTC medications like Pepto-Bismol® or Imodium® to help relieve symptoms. If symptoms worsen, your pain intensifies or does not go away, make an appointment with your primary care doctor as soon as possible. It may be necessary for you be examined at a local emergency room.
Colicky, Sudden Abdominal Pains
Sharp pains that come on suddenly are the most concerning. If the pain does not subside quickly or seems to increase, you should go to an emergency room for treatment. These types of sudden pains are referred to as “colicky” and can be a sign of a larger problem, such as kidney stones or an infection. In women, it may be a sign of tubal or ectopic pregnancy.
No matter what kind of abdominal pain you are experiencing, Dr. Brent Michael is happy to follow up with you. If you sought treatment at an urgent or emergency care center, Dr. Michael can continue any treatment plans that began with that visit, ensuring your continued health.