Understanding the different types of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can occur anywhere between the chest and the lower abdomen and can range from a dull ache to severe pain. Abdominal pain is one of the common reasons people visit emergency care centers and emergency rooms.
The doctors and the medical professionals at ER of Texas, a 24-hour emergency care center located near you in Dallas, Texas, want to educate the public on the symptoms of abdominal pain and the relevant treatment.
There are four types of abdominal pain: upper, lower, right-sided and left-sided. Each type has specific symptoms and causes, and all are briefly discussed below.
Common Causes of Upper Abdominal Pain
The common causes of upper abdominal pain are typically the byproducts of the digestive process. The pains are usually felt in the upper area of the abdomen, as well as in the chest, neck or shoulders.
The common symptoms are:
- bloating and gas
- acid reflux
- loss of appetite
The management of the pains and symptoms can usually be accomplished by changes to the diet, eating habits and lifestyle. The avoidance of caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol will reduce the symptoms.
There are cases where people have described the warning signs of a heart attack as upper abdominal pain or heartburn. The pain can feel like a burning in the chest, or the chest being pressed by something heavy. This type of pain may also be felt in the jaw, the neck or the arms.
Heart attack victims may also experience breathlessness, sweating and nausea along with burning or chest pain. A person experiencing these symptoms, together with a family history of heart conditions, should seek immediate medical attention in an emergency room in Dallas, Texas.
Common Causes of Lower Abdominal Pain
The common causes of lower abdominal pain are the menstrual cycle, urinary tract infection (UTI) and constipation.
The common symptoms include:
The management of the associated pains with the above symptoms can typically be accomplished with over-the-counter pain relievers or antacids. A person should seek medical attention at an emergency care center in Dallas, Texas if any symptom does not improve within three days, or at the first indication of a painful urination.
Common Causes of Right-Sided Abdominal Pain
The common causes for pains on the right side of the abdominal area are gallstones and appendicitis. The pain associated with gallstones originates in the upper right of the abdomen area and can spread to the right shoulder blade.
The pain associated with appendicitis begins at the lower right side and is not constant. As the pain moves lower, it becomes constant and severe.
The symptoms of both conditions are:
- feeling sick
- loss of appetite
- shivers and sweats
If any of these symptoms and pains are experienced, medical attention at an emergency room in Dallas, Texas, should be sought immediately.
Common Causes of Left-Sided Abdominal Pain
The common causes for pains on the left side of the abdominal area are kidney stones, a kidney infection and diverticulitis.
The common symptoms for kidney stones and an infection are:
- pain in the left and/or right abdomen area, the back or the genitals
- fever, shivers and chills
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick
If a kidney stone is too large to pass on its own, then a hospital admission becomes necessary. The avoidance of kidney stones should be discussed with a doctor.
Diverticulitis is an infection that can occur following diverticular disease that affects the large intestine. People with this disease rarely have symptoms until an infection is present.
The symptoms caused by the infection are:
- constant, severe abdominal pain
- blood in the stool
- blood when defecating
When to Visit Emergency Room for Abdominal Pain
Not all stomachache or abdominal pains need medical intervention or a visit to the nearby emergency room. Most abdominal pains will clear up without medical treatment.
Usually, these symptoms can be treated by changes in diet and lifestyle. Antibiotics will be prescribed for the infection and an over-the-counter laxative will be recommended for ease. In acute cases, treatment in the emergency room may include an IV for hydration and possibly surgery.
Below are some symptoms of abdominal pain to look out for. Having any of these symptoms could be an indication that it it time to visit an emergency room.
- Severe pain that prevents you sitting comfortably
- High fever
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Trouble breathing
- Yellow eyes or skin
- Vomiting blood or bloody stools
There are other situations where the medical condition may not be an immediate emergency but which mean you should see a doctor as soon as possible, and these include:
- Any prolonged abdominal pain that you can’t explain
- Burning when urinating
- Unexplained weight loss
- No appetite
- Can’t keep food down
- Long periods of constipation
How to Prevent Abdominal Pain
- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle – Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help prevent many types of pain, although not all depending on the cause.
- Eat Healthy – Eating healthy food, avoiding too much fat or sugar and drinking plenty of water are both steps in the right direction.
- Get Regular Exercise – Getting regular exercise and not overeating are further precautions. For those with diagnosed conditions such as GERD or Crohn’s disease, following the doctor’s advice will help minimize any discomfort.
- Be Vigilant – Pregnant women and young children need extra vigilance, but anyone who is worried by abdominal pain should see their doctor.
It may be something that’s easily resolved, but if the pain persists it could indicate a more serious condition. It’s best to err on the safe side and have a false alarm than to risk further damage.
If any of these symptoms and pains are experienced, medical attention at an emergency room should be sought immediately.
The medical professionals at ER of Texas, Our 24-hour emergency care centers are located throughout Dallas, Texas, are board-certified and trained in emergency medicine. The professionals at ER of Texas know that, by educating the public on the symptoms and the proper treatment of abdominal pain, appropriate medical decisions will be made.