Gut – I am sure we have all experienced some form of stomach pain at one time or another. Usually, stomach pains are harmless conditions caused by overeating, gas, or indigestion. However, sometimes these stomach pains are caused by something a bit more serious.
Stomach pains aren’t always a stomach problem. After all, your abdomen holds many other organs too, including your: intestines, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, spleen and appendix. So how exactly do you know when your stomach pain is serious?
1. Viral Infection or Gas
One of the most common signs that you have a viral infection and not a surgical emergency is diarrhea. Specifically, diarrhea and vomiting. Viral infections are more common, but you could have a bacterial infection, such as from food poisoning. You’ll know pretty quickly after eating contaminated food — within a half hour to an hour, sometimes a bit longer.
So if you are experiencing diarrhea with vomiting, it’s highly likely that you simply have a viral or bacterial infection.
Another common cause of stomach pain is gas. And yes, we all pass several pints of gas per day, whether we admit it or not. If gas bubbles get entrapped, it can cause cramps and bloating.
Here are some simple ways to tell if intestinal gas is behind your bloating and discomfort:
- You feel the urge to pass gas or to belch.
- You get relief from the bloating and pain when you pass gas.
- Your pain and bloating don’t persist or worsen.
- Excessive gas and bloating get better when you make certain changes to your diet, like eliminating dairy, cutting back on fiber, or limiting high-fat foods.
- Pain and bloating improve when you swallow less air, which is what happens when, for example, you chew gum or eat too quickly.
All of the above symptoms indicate that your pain is probably caused by gas, and not something serious.
2. When To Go To The ER For Stomach Pains
So how exactly do you know when to seek out medical attention for stomach pains? Well there are a few main symptoms you want to look out for. Make sure to seek medical attention if you experience stomach pain:
- And a high fever
- Accompanied by repeated vomiting
- Accompanied by other serious or unusual symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, dizzyness, cold sweat, or change in behavior
- Sudden and very severe – or prolonged (lasting 24 or more hours)
- Repeated attacks of cramp-like pain
- Localized to one particular area
- Right lower quadrant could indicate appendicitis.
- Right upper quadrant could indicate cholecystitis (gallbladder infection), kidney infection or stones, gall stones or hepatitis
- Left lower quadrant could indicate diverticulitis or a colon infection.
- Left upper quadrant could indicate kidney infection or kidney stones as well as pancreatitis
- Middle: upper: GERD (reflux), heartburn, stomach ulcer, heart attack, aortic aneurysm. lower: bladder stones, bladder infection, endometriosis, ruptured ovarial cysts, bowel occlusion…
- There are many more possible causes, but these are the most common ones.
Additionally, it’s important not to get dehydrated if you experience any of these symptoms.
The Serious Stomach Pain Takeaway
All in all, stomach pain can be caused by any number of things. However, it’s important to know when there might be a more serious problem at hand.