Stomach pain diagnosis is one of the most challenging tasks a doctor has to go through. The stomach, commonly called the abdomen has several interlinked compartments. For instance, the abdomen will entail the digestive tract, reproductive organs, and excretory system. It is thus hard to decipher what is the exact location and cause of the stomach pains. To help narrow done on your condition and the specific organs affected, the ER doctor will ask you some of the questions below.
- Where is the pain located?
Here, the doctor is trying to understand which part of the tummy has the excruciating pains. Once you place your hand on your stomach, they will quickly tell if it is in the upper or lower abdomen and right or left compartments.
- When did this pain start?
The answer here helps the doctor decide whether the pain is acute or chronic. If the pain started like a year ago, this is a clear indication of an underlying problem.
- How often does this pain occur?
The doctor is trying to comprehend some of the trigger symptoms for the pain. For instance, when a patient says that pain will occur after meals, this could mean it is due it’s a condition triggered by foods consumed.
- Please describe the pain
Some pains will be steady for some time while others will come like pulses and slowly go away (constant or colicky pains) also, the doctor will be curious to know if the pain usually spreads to other body parts
- What improves or alleviates the pain?
Some physical activities, positions, and foods will either increase or reduce the pain. Here the doctor wants to know how you have helped improve the pain before or what makes it worse.
- Your medical history
Whenever you have your medical history with you, give it to the doctor as it is critical in diagnosis. The doctor will see what you last suffered, the prescription and related with possible side effects.
- Have you been in surgery at any recent time?
Some surgical operations will take longer to heal and have severe implications. Sometimes, a patched up wound could open and cause unbearable stomach pains.
- Are you on any medications?
Some medications come with substantial side effects. Some will have mild headaches or dizziness while others will induce stomach pains, for instance, ibuprofen or NSAIDs on an ulcers patient. Also, if the doctor has already figured out your cause of stomach pains, he would like to know if the medications that he/she prescribes will react to your current medication.
- Have you been on any overseas travel recently?
Travelling has its own set of possible infections that you can suck up on the way. For instance, you could contact hepatitis or have traveled to a place making you prone to the giardia worms.
- How often do you take alcohol?
Pains in the upper abdomen sometimes point to a problem in the person’s liver and pancreas. A patient who is advents on alcohol indulgence will most likely get these pains. In some questionnaires, the doctor will also need to know if you frequently have coffee or tea to diagnose you correctly. The above drinks at times even interfere with medications, and the doctor might ask you to stay off them when he prescribes certain drugs.
- Any sexual history?
When the pains are in the lower abdomen, they could indicate exposure to a sexually transmitted condition.
- Do you have any stress at work or home?
Conditions such as ulcers get alleviated from stress in the patient’s life.
- Has anyone in your family ever had cancer?
- Have you had any intravenous drugs? Diseases such as hepatitis are spread via an intravenous transmission.
- Are you throwing up?
- Do you have any problems with your stool situation?
The doctor wants to know if you are constipated or diarrhea. How often is the stool passing? Also, they would like to know of any pains passing the stool and if there are blood stains? You should even tell the doctor about the case; you have pains passing stool.
- Please describe what you have been eating in the last 24 hours
- Do you have any allergies?
Some of the food you ate might have had traces of the factors you are allergic to. You could have also picked up the allergens in the places you have moved around in the last 24 hours. The doctor is trying to establish which of the consumed foods cause the kind of pain you are experiencing. If it is a child, the doctor will want to know if they have had any contact with pests recently. The doctor is trying to establish which of the consumed foods cause the kind of pain you are experiencing.
You might feel quite uncomfortable with the probing to get to the bottom of the problem. Some of the questions could seem unrelated to your current condition. Lying in such a questionnaire will lead to wrong prescription and examination tests. After the verbal diagnosis, the Emergency Room doctor then does a physical examination. Depending on the suspect condition, the doctor will now decide to give a diagnostic test or not.