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Abdominal Pain: When to Visit a Physician

When school starts, students, parents and teachers all go through a variety of stress and emotions, which can manifest into actual physical pain.

Centra Care physicians have documented an increase of over 60 percent in patients complaining of abdominal pain.

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When you see a doctor due to pain in the abdominal area, detailed information will be collected in order to rule out a serious problem like appendicitis. Questions regarding the location of the pain, frequency and duration will be asked, as well as identifying any red flags like sudden weight loss or blood in vomit or stool. A physical examination will also be conducted and blood and/or stool tests may be administered.

If there is no physical reason found for your bellyache, the pains may be anxiety or stress-related. Sometimes just talking to someone you trust about what’s going on in your life can ease the symptoms. Exercise is also a great stress reliever for both kids and adults.

Here are some other tips that may be helpful with abdominal pain:

  • Sip water or other clear fluids.
  • Avoid solid food for the first few hours.
  • If you have been vomiting, wait 6 hours, and then eat small amounts of mild foods such as rice, applesauce, or crackers. Avoid dairy products.
  • If the pain is high up in your abdomen and occurs after meals, antacids may help, especially if you feel heartburn or indigestion. Avoid citrus, high-fat foods, fried or greasy foods, tomato products, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
  • Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications, and narcotic pain medications unless your health care provider prescribes them. If you know that your pain is not related to your liver, you can try acetaminophen.

Any time abdominal pain is accompanied by fever, blood in vomit or stool, OR if you experience severe pain that lasts more than an hour, see a doctor right away.