Abdominal pain, which some people call stomach pain or belly pain, is pain that you feel below your chest and above your groin.
It is a symptom and not a condition.
Usually, abdominal pain is not serious and does not require medical attention. But if your pain persists or accompanies other symptoms, you should see a doctor.
Abdominal pain: what you should know
These are some of the many possible causes of abdominal pain:
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Indigestion or gas
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Kidney stones
- Stomach virus
Certain types of pain are more likely to signal certain types of problems:
- Pain that seems to reside in a specific area might mean that you have a condition affecting a single organ, such as your gallbladder or your stomach.
- Pain that feels more generalized might signal gas or indigestion.
- Pain that comes in waves is a common symptom of gallstones or kidney stones.
The severity of abdominal pain does not always correspond with the severity of the problem causing it. Some serious problems may cause only mild pain. Some passing problems, such as gas, may cause severe pain.
How can I get help for abdominal pain?
Usually, abdominal pain is not serious and does not require medical attention. But you should call your primary care doctor if you pain lasts more than a day or two or if it is accompanied by the following:
- High fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for adults or 100.4 or higher for children)
- Unexplained weight or a poor appetite
- Bloody vomit or blood in your stool
If you have the following, seek immediate medical attention or call 911:
- Sharp pain that comes on suddenly and does not go away
- Pain accompanied by difficulty breathing
Care for abdominal pain at Rush
If your primary care doctor recommends further evaluation and testing, Rush has many specialists who can help find the cause of your distress.
Why choose Rush for abdominal pain care
- Rush has a program for abdominal and pelvic health issues that can address the full spectrum of issues that could be causing it. The program has a coordinator who can help you navigate the multiple specialists you might need to see to find relief.
- At Rush, your children can see pediatric gastroenterologists and other clinicians who specialize in treating children with gastrointestinal conditions.