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Abdominal Pain:

When You Should Go To The Emergency Room

Things we do regularly such as eating, carrying things, or working out can sometimes cause pain that we may think is “regular” and therefore, we make the assumption that nothing serious can be wrong.  “I get this pain in my gut every time I eat a big meal,” we say, followed by “I need to stop eating so much.”  However, pain is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong.  And when something is really wrong, our body has other tricks to get us to stop and listen.

There are a few key conditions that indicate a trip to the emergency room is in order:

* Multiple attacks of pain

* Severe pain with no relief after taking over-the-counter medication

* Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea or other digestive issues

* Fever that will not come down with usual methods

* Unusual lumps or bloating

* Medical history indicating problems

* Recent surgery or procedure

Signs that you do not need to go to the emergency room, but should schedule a visit with your primary care physician:

* Symptoms are reoccurring; however they feel the same and do not worsen each time.

* Symptoms improve with the use of over-the-counter medicine and other methods or relief (within 24-48 hours).

Remember, just because symptoms lessen or go away, doesn’t mean you should ignore what is happening. Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor, and make sure there isn’t something more serious going on. Sometimes symptoms lessen and then come back quickly, and you could need emergency surgery.


  • Inguinal hernia is the most common. This occurs when part of your bowel squeezes through your lower abdomen into the groin.
  • Femoral hernia happens when fatty tissue or a part of the bowel pushes through into the groin at the top of the inner thigh.
  • Incisional hernia is when tissue pushes through a surgical wound in the abdomen that has not completely healed.
  • Umbilical hernia is when fatty tissue or a part of the bowel pushes through the abdomen close to your belly button (navel).
  • Epigastric hernia is when fatty tissue pushes through your abdomen, between the belly button and breastbone (sternum).
  • Spigelian hernia is when part of your bowel pushes through your abdomen by the stomach muscle below the belly button.
  • Muscle hernia is when part of your muscle pushes through the abdomen sometimes after a sports injury.
  • Hiatus hernia is when part of your stomach pushes up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm.


    1. Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a pouch-shaped organ connected to the large intestine. If you don’t get treatment for it, the appendix can rupture, which is a life-threatening situation. Always seek immediate medical attention if you think you have appendicitis.
    2. Your appendix is on the lower right-hand side of your abdomen, but pain from appendicitis may start in the middle of your abdomen.
    3. Treatment for appendicitis involves surgery to remove the appendix. After surgery, most people recover quickly and without complications.

Appendicitis causes a variety of symptoms, including:

  • abdominal pain
  • low fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty passing gas


    A cholecystectomy may be done if your gallbladder:

    Has lumps of solid material( gallstones )

    Is red or swollen (inflamed), or infected ( cholecystitis )

    Is cancerous

    Gallbladder problems may cause pain which:

    Is usually on the right side or middle of your upper belly

    May be constant or may get worse after a heavy meal

    May sometimes feel more like fullness than pain

    May be felt in your back and in the tip of your right shoulder blade

    Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills.

    The symptoms of gallbladder problems may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.

    Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend a cholecystectomy.


  1. Diverticulitis occurs when the bulging sacs that appear in the lining of your large intestine, or colon, get acutely infected or inflamed.
  2. The most common and severe symptom is sudden pain on the lower left side of the abdomen.
  3. Drinking plenty of water and eating fiber-rich foods can help you avoid diverticulitis.
  4. Sudden pain on the lower left side of the abdomen is the most common and most severe sign of diverticulitis. This pain can get worse over a few days.

    Other signs of diverticulitis are: abdominal pain and tenderness, usually on the lower left side,nausea,vomiting,constipation,fever,gas or bloating,diarrhea,loss of appetite,rectal bleeding that’s usually bright red

  5. Treatment at home can include:bed rest, which can vary from a few days to a week or more a liquid diet to allow your bowels to rest and your diverticula to heal prescription antibiotics
  6. If you’ve developed any complications, your doctor may think it’s best for you to receive hospital treatment. Complications can include a blockage in the bowels or an abscess (a sac filled with pus). While in the hospital, you’ll receive intravenous (IV) antibiotics. If you have an abscess, your doctor will drain it using a needle.Hospital treatments usually take one to two days. In rare cases, you may need to stay longer so that your doctor can monitor your treatment. Full recovery from a hospital stay usually takes a few weeks. Or it may take a few months based on your diet and lifestyle after the treatment.
  7. Sometimes, diverticulitis recurs often or your infections won’t respond to antibiotics. Your doctor might suggest surgery to remove the part of your intestine that contains the infected diverticula. After surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital for several days, a week, or more. Full recovery may take several months. This is based on your treatment plan and lifestyle changes to help prevent your diverticulitis from returning.

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