Abdominal Pain: Emergency Room Tips
Abdominal pain is a common medical condition treated by doctors in the emergency department. Everyone gets abdominal pain from time to time; the pain can be caused by a wide variety of conditions.
Appropriate evaluation of abdominal pain in the emergency department requires an all-inclusive diagnosis, as it could be an indication of a more serious illness that could lead to serious complications, including death. To provide effective treatment, FrontLine ER investigates the causes and possible treatments for this condition.
Causes of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal conditions are typically categorized according to the part where the pain is being experienced in the abdomen. For instance:
- The upper abdomen could be an indication of gallstones, heartburn/indigestions stomach and duodenal ulcers, functional dyspepsia and pancreatitis.
- Mid abdomen may be an indication of kidney stones, kidney infection, Crohn’s disease, umbilical hernia, and early appendicitis.
- Pain originating from the lower abdomen may be caused by an inguinal hernia, bladder infection, constipation, prostatitis, and diverticulitis.
In women, an ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, fibroids, and miscarriages can cause abdominal pain. Cardiac disease and chest issues such as asthma or a pneumonia attack can cause abdominal pain. In the past, there have been cases of patients being taken to the operating room for an appendicitis related case, only to later discover that they had pneumonia.
When to See the Doctor
Mild abdominal pain may subside without treatment. However, in some cases, abdominal pain associated with trauma or pressure in your chest may warrant a trip to the emergency department. Seek immediate medical attention if the pain is severe or if you have any of the following symptoms;
- If you notice a burning sensation when you urinate, fresh bleeding from your back passage or if you notice that your poo has turned color to black.
- Pain in the chest, neck, or shoulder
- High fever and difficulty in breathing
- Severe lower abdominal cramps in women originating from the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries.
- Your abdomen is stiff, hard, or tender
- You are experiencing nausea, vomiting blood(hematemesis) or can’t move your bowels
- Sudden pain which may feel like a severe muscle spasm. The severe pain may be a symptom of more severe conditions, such as kidney stones or gallstones.
Visit your physician if you’re pregnant and start experiencing abdominal pain. These problems could be related to the early stages of pregnancy and may result in a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Diagnosis of Abdominal Pain at FrontLine ER
Analyzing the causes of abdominal is done through a comprehensive series of tests.
Before ordering tests, your ER physician at FrontLine ER will do a physical examination. The checkup includes gently pressing down on different areas of your abdomen to check for any swelling and tenderness. In some cases, your doctor may also proceed to ask questions about your emotional, family and sex life.
These findings, together with the severity of the pain, and its location within the abdomen, help the emergency doctor at FrontLine ER determine which tests to order.
Next, imaging tests are performed to get a detailed view of the organs, tissues, and other structures in the abdomen. Depending on the exact indicators and duration of the pain, some of the tests carried out will include:
- Vaginal swabs, cervical smears, or pelvic ultrasound examinations to check for gynecological causes
- CA-125, a specialized blood test for ovarian cancer
- Urine culture, CT (Computerized Tomography) scan, or ultrasound to check for urinary causes
- Internal endoscopic examination of the bowel (colon and intestines) through Colonoscopy to detect any abnormalities or inflammation in the esophagus and stomach.
- Upper GI, a distinctive X-ray test that uses contrast dye to check for the presence of tumors, ulcers, blockages, and inflammation in the stomach.
- Urine, blood, and stool samples can also be collected to check for evidence of viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections.
Emergency room physicians take into account all the available clinical, laboratory and radiologic outcomes before they can make a diagnosis.
Can Abdominal Pain Be Prevented
Not all types of abdominal pain are preventable. However, you can minimize the risk of developing abdominal pain by trying out the following home care steps to ease the mild abdominal pain.
- Sip water and other clear fluids in small amounts. People with diabetes must check their blood sugar regularly and take their medicines as recommended.
- If you have been vomiting, avoid dairy products and solid food for the first few hours. Later you can then eat small amounts of mild foods such as applesauce, rice, or crackers.
- If the pain originates from the upper abdomen and occurs after meals, it could be caused by a heartburn or indigestion. Take antacids to help ease the discomfort.
- Stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and eat foods that are high in fibers like fruits and vegetables. Avoid high-fat foods, citrus, caffeine, and alcohol.
It is always a good idea to make sure that you visit your physician immediately you start experiencing abdominal pain, as opposed to waiting, and praying that the pain will subside on its own. Visit FrontLine ER in Richmond or Texas to get help.