HealthONE - November 20, 2020

Abdominal or stomach pain is something almost everyone experiences from time to time. So when is your pain, or that of a loved one, severe enough to warrant a visit to a Denver emergency room (ER)?

Listen to your “gut”. If the pain is abnormally intense and feels as though you need help right away, see a doctor immediately. Below are some guidelines that will help you decide whether or not your stomach pain needs emergency care.

Emergency care may be necessary if you are experiencing the following symptoms

If the abdominal pain is severe and unrelenting, your stomach is tender to the touch, or if the pain extends to your back, you should immediately visit the closest emergency department. You should also seek emergency care if severe stomach pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • A feeling of lightheadedness or that you could faint
  • Dark or black stool
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Fever
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Unable to eat without vomiting
  • Vomiting blood

Abdominal pain and preexisting conditions

Stomach and abdominal pain may be an indication of a more serious issue for individuals with certain medical conditions. If you have any of these medical conditions in combination with severe abdominal pain, you should visit an emergency department immediately:

  • Individuals ages 45 years old or older experiencing upper abdominal pain or tightness in the chest (may indicate a heart attack)
  • Individuals who have undergone gastric bypass surgery
  • Individuals who recently had endoscopy or abdominal surgery
  • Women who are pregnant or who could be pregnant

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