Abdominal Pain

Abdominal Pain

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Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is one of the most frequent reasons why patients visit the emergency room. It can be mild or severe and possibly a symptom of something life-threatening. Find out what are the signs of alert that you should visit the ER.

woman with excruciating abdominal pain

When a gastroenterologist speaks of abdominal pain, they are referring to any discomfort in one or more organs located in the abdominal cavity such as:

  • Stomach
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen
  • Appendix
  • Small Intestine
  • Colon

What are the Causes of Abdominal Pain?

There are many factors that could result in abdominal pain, most pain is caused by:


When organs in the abdominal cavity become inflamed they can cause conditions such as:

  • Appendicitis
  • Colitis
  • Diverticulitis


Certain conditions can cause an organ to stretch causing severe pain like:

  • Swelling of the liver due to hepatitis
  • An obstruction in the intestines
  • Gallstones blocking a bile duct


Deficient blood flow to an organ caused by a blockage in an artery will result in ischemia, an example of this is:

  • Ischemic colitis

How Do Gastroenterologists Diagnose the Cause of Abdominal Pain?

When you first arrive at one of our emergency centers, our gastroenterologists will conduct a physical exam and ask a series of questions related to the location and type of pain you are experiencing.

In addition, doctors may request one or more of the following diagnostic tests be performed to find the real source of the pain, so they may begin treatment:

  • Laboratory Tests including liver enzymes, pancreatic enzymes, and complete blood count among others.
  • X-Rays
  • Ultrasound
  • CT Scan
  • Gastroscopy
  • Colonoscopy
The treatment for abdominal pain greatly depends on the cause of the pain. Treatments can include

How is Abdominal Pain Treated?

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Prescription medications to treat GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and ulcers
  • Antibiotics to treat infections
  • Changes in behaviors, which will include the elimination of certain foods or beverages from the patient’s diet
  • Surgery to remove blockages, restore adequate blood flow, or remove infected organs like the appendix or gallbladder
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When to Go to The Emergency Room

Patients who experience any of the following should seek immediate medical attention in one of our centers:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Moderate to severe pain lasting for days
  • Sudden stop of bowel movements
  • Abdominal, pelvic or flank tenderness when touched
  • Bloody or tar-like stools
  • Dehydration
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Abdomen is swollen
  • Skin and or eyes turn a yellowish color

If the chest pain is caused by other factors, our specialists could recommend any of the following:

  • Lung re-inflation in case of a collapsed lung.
  • Antacids and other heartburn medications.
  • Antianxiety medications if a panic attack is responsible for the chest pain.