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When to Visit the ER for Abdominal Pain

"Should I Go to the ER for Abdominal Pain?"

Everyone experiences abdominal pain at one time or another. But how do you know if your pain, or that of a loved one, is severe enough that it requires an emergency department visit?

The short answer is, if your “gut” tells you that you need help right away, you should visit the emergency department. If you’re not sure whether emergency care is necessary, consider these guidelines.

Visit the nearest ER if:

  • The pain is severe and unrelenting
  • Your abdomen is tender to the touch
  • The pain radiates to your back
  • The pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
    • Fever
    • Vomiting blood
    • Dark, black stool
    • Unable to keep food down
    • Difficulty breathing or experiencing chest pain
    • Irregular heartbeat
    • A feeling of lightheadedness or that you might pass out
  • You have another medical condition:
    • Those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery
    • Those who have had a recent endoscopy or abdominal surgery
    • Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant
    • Those over 45 experiencing upper abdominal pain (may indicate a heart attack)

Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center can address your abdominal pain concerns. We strive to beat the national average wait time, so you can get quick access to high-quality emergency medical care. Learn more about our ER>>