Just about everybody will experience abdominal pain at one time or another. Most of the causes are not serious and can be readily diagnosed and treated. However, pain can also be a sign of a serious illness, especially if it's severe, persistent or accompanied with other symptoms.
If your abdominal pain is severe or if it is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as possible:
- Persistent vomiting
- Painful or unusually frequent urination
- Abdominal tenderness
Seek immediate medical care for abdominal pain if you:
- Vomit blood
- Have bloody stools
- Have difficulty breathing
Whether it's a mild stomach ache, sharp pain or stomach cramps, abdominal pain can have numerous causes. Some of the more common causes include:
- Indigestion (upset stomach)
- Crohn's disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Because there are so many potential causes of abdominal pain, your health care provider will perform a thorough physical exam, discuss the type of symptoms you are experiencing and ask several questions about the pain you are feeling. Your digestive health care provider may also order tests to help find the underlying cause of your pain.
Treating abdominal pain depends on its underlying cause.