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abdominal pain

When You Should Go to the ER for Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain can happen for a wide range of reasons, and it can be mild, moderate, or severe. It may slowly worsen or start intensely and suddenly. It can be difficult to determine on your own how dangerous yours is or why it is happening. Excessive, unexplained, or persistent abdominal pain can be a sign of a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Going to the ER for a professional assessment can make a significant difference in your recovery. Whether you need prescription medication or emergency surgery, an ER provider can help you.

You Are Pregnant

If you are or could be pregnant and experience acute abdominal pain and excessive vaginal bleeding, this may be an ectopic pregnancy, which requires emergency care. An ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg has implanted outside of the uterus, often in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies generally lead to complications after the sixth week.

Preeclampsia can happen after your 20th week of pregnancy and involves abdominal pain, rapid weight gain, severe swelling, and headaches. This condition causes high blood pressure and high protein levels in your urine.

If you are pregnant, severe abdominal pain can also mean an early separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. Other common symptoms include severe back pain, vaginal bleeding, and contractions. It usually happens during the third trimester.

You may also be experiencing preterm labor if you are before your 37th week of pregnancy but are having both regular contractions and abdominal pain.

You Have Preexisting Conditions

Besides pregnancy, other preexisting conditions can make you more susceptible to medical emergencies when experiencing severe abdominal pain.

If you are over 45 years old, upper abdominal pain can be a sign of a heart attack.

If you have had any of the following surgeries, your pain could be a sign of complications:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Gastrointestinal procedures
  • Gastric bypass
  • Colostomy
  • Bowel resection

If you have recently had an endoscopy and are suffering from moderate to severe abdominal pain, you should also go to the ER.

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, they may need emergency care:

  • Severe, radiating, or persistent pain
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Distended abdomen

You Are Experiencing Specific Symptoms

If your abdominal pain is unexplained, severe, and lasts for more than 30 minutes, you should seek emergency medical care.

These additional symptoms also require a trip to the ER:

  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Swelling or bloating
  • Radiating pain in your back, neck, or shoulders
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • Dark stools
  • Fever above 100 degrees
  • Nausea
  • Inability to keep food down
  • Chest pain or labored breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 5 days
  • Severe vaginal bleeding

You May Have Appendicitis

Appendicitis happens when there is a blockage in your appendix. It requires emergency surgery to avoid complications. If you don’t get your appendix removed, it can lead to a life-threatening infection as your appendix can rupture.

The most common symptoms of appendicitis are significant pain in the lower right abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or fever.

How Do We Treat Abdominal Pain at the ER?

Our doctor reviews your health history and gives you pain relief medication. We conduct several tests to establish an accurate diagnosis of your condition. For severe abdominal pain, our staff members generally perform a physical examination, blood tests, and CT scans or an ultrasound.

Our ER team can diagnose issues like:

  • Appendicitis
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney stones
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Pancreatitis
  • Ectopic pregnancy (ruptured)
  • Perforated bowel or stomach

Depending on your condition, we can prescribe medications to alleviate your symptoms, administer a specific treatment at our clinic, or recommend emergency surgery. No matter your situation, we have the equipment to determine what is causing your abdominal pain. We always advise that someone else drives you to our facilities and back home.

Contact Advance ER at (214) 494-8222 or visit us if you are experiencing severe or persistent abdominal pain in Dallas.